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In the developing pancreas, transient Neurog3-expressing progenitors give rise to four major islet cell types: α, β, δ, and γ; when and how the Neurog3 cells choose cell fate is unknown. Using single-cell RNA-seq, trajectory analysis, and combinatorial lineage tracing, we showed here that the Neurog3 cells co-expressing Myt1 (i.e., Myt1Neurog3) were biased toward β cell fate, while those not simultaneously expressing Myt1 (Myt1Neurog3) favored α fate. Myt1 manipulation only marginally affected α versus β cell specification, suggesting Myt1 as a marker but not determinant for islet-cell-type specification. The Myt1Neurog3 cells displayed higher Dnmt1 expression and enhancer methylation at Arx, an α-fate-promoting gene. Inhibiting Dnmts in pancreatic progenitors promoted α cell specification, while Dnmt1 overexpression or Arx enhancer hypermethylation favored β cell production. Moreover, the pancreatic progenitors contained distinct Arx enhancer methylation states without transcriptionally definable sub-populations, a phenotype independent of Neurog3 activity. These data suggest that Neurog3-independent methylation on fate-determining gene enhancers specifies distinct endocrine-cell programs.
Published by Elsevier Inc.
During mouse pancreas organogenesis, endocrine cells are born from progenitors residing in an epithelial plexus niche. After a period in a lineage-primed state, progenitors become endocrine committed via upregulation of We find that the to transition is associated with distinct stages of an epithelial egression process: narrowing the apical surface of the cell, basalward cell movement and eventual cell-rear detachment from the apical lumen surface to allow clustering as nascent islets under the basement membrane. Apical narrowing, basalward movement and transcriptional upregulation still occur without Neurog3 protein, suggesting that morphogenetic cues deployed within the plexus initiate endocrine commitment upstream or independently of Neurog3. Neurog3 is required for cell-rear detachment and complete endocrine-cell birth. The ROCK-nmMyoII pathway coordinates epithelial-cell morphogenesis and the progression through -expressing states. NmMyoII is necessary for apical narrowing, basalward cell displacement and upregulation, but all three are limited by ROCK activity. We propose that ROCK-nmMyoII activity, gene-dose and Notch signaling integrate endocrine fate allocation with epithelial plexus growth and morphogenesis, representing a feedback control circuit that coordinates morphogenesis with lineage diversification in the endocrine-birth niche.
© 2018. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
The evolutionary origins of the hypoxia-sensitive cells that trigger amniote respiratory reflexes - carotid body glomus cells, and 'pulmonary neuroendocrine cells' (PNECs) - are obscure. Homology has been proposed between glomus cells, which are neural crest-derived, and the hypoxia-sensitive 'neuroepithelial cells' (NECs) of fish gills, whose embryonic origin is unknown. NECs have also been likened to PNECs, which differentiate in situ within lung airway epithelia. Using genetic lineage-tracing and neural crest-deficient mutants in zebrafish, and physical fate-mapping in frog and lamprey, we find that NECs are not neural crest-derived, but endoderm-derived, like PNECs, whose endodermal origin we confirm. We discover neural crest-derived catecholaminergic cells associated with zebrafish pharyngeal arch blood vessels, and propose a new model for amniote hypoxia-sensitive cell evolution: endoderm-derived NECs were retained as PNECs, while the carotid body evolved via the aggregation of neural crest-derived catecholaminergic (chromaffin) cells already associated with blood vessels in anamniote pharyngeal arches.
The current model for endocrine cell specification in the pancreas invokes high-level production of the transcription factor Neurogenin 3 (Neurog3) in Sox9(+) bipotent epithelial cells as the trigger for endocrine commitment, cell cycle exit, and rapid delamination toward proto-islet clusters. This model posits a transient Neurog3 expression state and short epithelial residence period. We show, however, that a Neurog3(TA.LO) cell population, defined as Neurog3 transcriptionally active and Sox9(+) and often containing nonimmunodetectable Neurog3 protein, has a relatively high mitotic index and prolonged epithelial residency. We propose that this endocrine-biased mitotic progenitor state is functionally separated from a pro-ductal pool and endows them with long-term capacity to make endocrine fate-directed progeny. A novel BAC transgenic Neurog3 reporter detected two types of mitotic behavior in Sox9(+) Neurog3(TA.LO) progenitors, associated with progenitor pool maintenance or derivation of endocrine-committed Neurog3(HI) cells, respectively. Moreover, limiting Neurog3 expression dramatically increased the proportional representation of Sox9(+) Neurog3(TA.LO) progenitors, with a doubling of its mitotic index relative to normal Neurog3 expression, suggesting that low Neurog3 expression is a defining feature of this cycling endocrine-biased state. We propose that Sox9(+) Neurog3(TA.LO) endocrine-biased progenitors feed production of Neurog3(HI) endocrine-committed cells during pancreas organogenesis.
© 2016 Bechard et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
During pregnancy, maternal β-cells undergo compensatory changes, including increased β-cell mass and enhanced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. Failure of these adaptations to occur results in gestational diabetes mellitus. The secreted protein connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) is critical for normal β-cell development and promotes regeneration after partial β-cell ablation. During embryogenesis, CTGF is expressed in pancreatic ducts, vasculature, and β-cells. In adult pancreas, CTGF is expressed only in the vasculature. Here we show that pregnant mice with global Ctgf haploinsufficiency (Ctgf(LacZ/+)) have an impairment in maternal β-cell proliferation; no difference was observed in virgin Ctgf(LacZ/+) females. Using a conditional CTGF allele, we found that mice with a specific inactivation of CTGF in endocrine cells (Ctgf(ΔEndo)) develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, but this is due to a reduction in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion rather than impaired maternal β-cell proliferation. Moreover, virgin Ctgf(ΔEndo) females also display impaired GSIS with glucose intolerance, indicating that underlying β-cell dysfunction precedes the development of gestational diabetes in this animal model. This is the first time a role for CTGF in β-cell function has been reported.
Intestinal stem cells (ISCs) drive small intestinal epithelial homeostasis and regeneration. Mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) regulates stem and progenitor cell metabolism and is frequently dysregulated in human disease, but its physiologic functions in the mammalian small intestinal epithelium remain poorly defined. We disrupted the genes mTOR, Rptor, Rictor, or both Rptor and Rictor in mouse ISCs, progenitors, and differentiated intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) using Villin-Cre. Mutant tissues and wild-type or heterozygous littermate controls were analyzed by histologic immunostaining, immunoblots, and proliferation assays. A total of 10 Gy irradiation was used to injure the intestinal epithelium and induce subsequent crypt regeneration. We report that mTOR supports absorptive enterocytes and secretory Paneth and goblet cell function while negatively regulating chromogranin A-positive enteroendocrine cell number. Through additional Rptor, Rictor, and Rptor/Rictor mutant mouse models, we identify mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 as the major IEC regulatory pathway, but mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 2 also contributes to ileal villus maintenance and goblet cell size. Homeostatic adult small intestinal crypt cell proliferation, survival, and canonical wingless-int (WNT) activity are not mTOR dependent, but Olfm4(+) ISC/progenitor population maintenance and crypt regeneration postinjury require mTOR. Overall, we conclude that mTOR regulates multiple IEC lineages and promotes stem and progenitor cell activity during intestinal epithelium repair postinjury.
In the mammalian pancreas, endocrine cells undergo lineage allocation upon emergence from a bipotent duct/endocrine progenitor pool, which resides in the "trunk epithelium." Major questions remain regarding how niche environments are organized within this epithelium to coordinate endocrine differentiation with programs of epithelial growth, maturation, and morphogenesis. We used EdU pulse-chase and tissue-reconstruction approaches to analyze how endocrine progenitors and their differentiating progeny are assembled within the trunk as it undergoes remodeling from an irregular plexus of tubules to form the eventual mature, branched ductal arbor. The bulk of endocrine progenitors is maintained in an epithelial "plexus state," which is a transient intermediate during epithelial maturation within which endocrine cell differentiation is continually robust and surprisingly long-lived. Within the plexus, local feedback effects derived from the differentiating and delaminating endocrine cells nonautonomously regulate the flux of endocrine cell birth as well as proliferative growth of the bipotent cell population using Notch-dependent and Notch-independent influences, respectively. These feedback effects in turn maintain the plexus state to ensure prolonged allocation of endocrine cells late into gestation. These findings begin to define a niche-like environment guiding the genesis of the endocrine pancreas and advance current models for how differentiation is coordinated with the growth and morphogenesis of the developing pancreatic epithelium.
© 2015 Bankaitis et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
There are two major stem cell populations in the intestinal crypt region that express either Bmi1 or Lgr5; however, it has been shown that other populations in the crypt can regain stemness. In this study, we demonstrate that the transcription factor NK2 homeobox 2 (Nkx2.2) is expressed in enteroendocrine cells located in the villus and crypt of the intestinal epithelium and is coexpressed with the stem cell markers Bmi1 and Lgr5 in a subset of crypt cells. To determine whether Nkx2.2-expressing enteroendocrine cells display cellular plasticity and stem cell potential, we performed genetic lineage tracing of the Nkx2.2-expressing population using Nkx2.2(Cre/+);R26RTomato mice. These studies demonstrated that Nkx2.2+ cells are able to give rise to all intestinal epithelial cell types in basal conditions. The proliferative capacity of Nkx2.2-expressing cells was also demonstrated in vitro using crypt organoid cultures. Injuring the intestine with irradiation, systemic inflammation, and colitis did not enhance the lineage potential of Nkx2.2-expressing cells. These findings demonstrate that a rare mature enteroendocrine cell subpopulation that is demarcated by Nkx2.2 expression display stem cell properties during normal intestinal epithelial homeostasis, but is not easily activated upon injury.
Copyright © 2015 the American Physiological Society.
Epithelial progenitor cells of the lung generate all cell types of the mature airway epithelium, among them the neuroendocrine cells. The balance between formation of pulmonary neuroendocrine and non-neuroendocrine cells is controlled by Notch signaling. The Notch target gene Hes1 is expressed by non-neuroendocrine and absent in neuroendocrine cells. The transcription factor Ascl1 is expressed in a complementary pattern and provides key regulatory information that specifies the neuroendocrine cell fate. The molecular events that occur after the induction of the neuroendocrine differentiation program have received little attention. Here we show that Insm1 is expressed in pulmonary neuroendocrine cells, and that Insm1 expression is not initiated in the lung of Ascl1 mutant mice. We use mouse genetics to show that pulmonary neuroendocrine cells depend on Insm1 for their differentiation. Mutation of Insm1 blocks terminal differentiation, upregulates Hes1 protein in neuroendocrine cells and interferes with maintenance of Ascl1 expression. We show that Insm1 binds to the Hes1 promoter and represses Hes1, and we propose that the Insm1-dependent Hes1 repression is required for neuroendocrine development. Our work demonstrates that Insm1 is a key factor regulating differentiation of pulmonary neuroendocrine cells.
Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) is expressed in the brainstem and vagal afferent nerves and regulates a number of aspects of gastrointestinal function. Here we show that the receptor is also diffusely expressed in cells of the gastrointestinal system, from stomach to descending colon. Furthermore, MC4R is the second most highly enriched GPCR in peptide YY (PYY) and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) expressing enteroendocrine L cells. When vectorial ion transport is measured across mouse or human intestinal mucosa, administration of α-MSH induces a MC4R-specific PYY-dependent antisecretory response consistent with a role for the MC4R in paracrine inhibition of electrolyte secretion. Finally, MC4R-dependent acute PYY and GLP-1 release from L cells can be stimulated in vivo by intraperitoneal (i.p.) administration of melanocortin peptides to mice. This suggests physiological significance for MC4R in L cells and indicates a previously unrecognized peripheral role for the MC4R, complementing vagal and central receptor functions.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.