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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.
A goal for an HIV-1 vaccine is to overcome virus variability by inducing broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs). One key target of bnAbs is the glycan-polypeptide at the base of the envelope (Env) third variable loop (V3). We have designed and synthesized a homogeneous minimal immunogen with high-mannose glycans reflective of a native Env V3-glycan bnAb epitope (Man-V3). V3-glycan bnAbs bound to Man-V3 glycopeptide and native-like gp140 trimers with similar affinities. Fluorophore-labeled Man-V3 glycopeptides bound to bnAb memory B cells and were able to be used to isolate a V3-glycan bnAb from an HIV-1-infected individual. In rhesus macaques, immunization with Man-V3 induced V3-glycan-targeted antibodies. Thus, the Man-V3 glycopeptide closely mimics an HIV-1 V3-glycan bnAb epitope and can be used to isolate V3-glycan bnAbs.
Copyright © 2017, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Artificial transcription factors (ATFs) are precision-tailored molecules designed to bind DNA and regulate transcription in a preprogrammed manner. Libraries of ATFs enable the high-throughput screening of gene networks that trigger cell fate decisions or phenotypic changes. We developed a genome-scale library of ATFs that display an engineered interaction domain (ID) to enable cooperative assembly and synergistic gene expression at targeted sites. We used this ATF library to screen for key regulators of the pluripotency network and discovered three combinations of ATFs capable of inducing pluripotency without exogenous expression of Oct4 (POU domain, class 5, TF 1). Cognate site identification, global transcriptional profiling, and identification of ATF binding sites reveal that the ATFs do not directly target Oct4; instead, they target distinct nodes that converge to stimulate the endogenous pluripotency network. This forward genetic approach enables cell type conversions without a priori knowledge of potential key regulators and reveals unanticipated gene network dynamics that drive cell fate choices.
The plasticity of gastric chief cells is exemplified by their ability to transdifferentiate into spasmolytic polypeptide-expressing metaplasia (SPEM) after parietal cell loss. We sought to determine if chief cell maturity is a limiting factor in the capacity to transdifferentiate. Mist1 mice, previously shown to form only immature chief cells, were treated with DMP-777 or L635 to study the capability of these immature chief cells to transdifferentiate into a proliferative metaplastic lineage after acute parietal cell loss. Mist1 mice treated with DMP-777 showed fewer chief cell to SPEM transitions. Mist1 mice treated with L635 demonstrated significantly fewer proliferative SPEM cells compared with control mice. Thus immature chief cells were unable to transdifferentiate efficiently into SPEM after acute parietal cell loss. To determine whether chief cell age affects transdifferentiation into SPEM, we used tamoxifen to induce YFP expression in chief cells of Mist1;Rosa mice and subsequently treated the cells with L635 to induce SPEM at 1 to 3.5 mo after tamoxifen treatment. After L635 treatment to induce acute parietal cell loss, 43% of all YFP-positive cells at 1 mo posttamoxifen were SPEM cells, of which 44% of these YFP-positive SPEM cells were proliferative. By 2 mo after tamoxifen induction, only 24% of marked SPEM cells were proliferating. However, by 3.5 mo after tamoxifen induction, only 12% of marked chief cells transdifferentiated into SPEM and none were proliferative. Thus, as chief cells age, they lose their ability to transdifferentiate into SPEM and proliferate. Therefore, both functional maturation and age limit chief cell plasticity.
NEW & NOTEWORTHY - Previous investigations have indicated that spasmolytic polypeptide-expressing metaplasia (SPEM) in the stomach arises from transdifferentiation of chief cells. Nevertheless, the intrinsic properties of chief cells that influence transdifferentiation have been largely unknown. We now report that the ability to transdifferentiate into SPEM is impaired in chief cells that lack full functional maturation, and as chief cells age, they lose their ability to transdifferentiate. Thus chief cell plasticity is dependent on both cell age and maturation.
The zebrafish pineal complex consists of four cell types (rod and cone photoreceptors, projection neurons and parapineal neurons) that are derived from a single pineal complex anlage. After specification, parapineal neurons migrate unilaterally away from the rest of the pineal complex whereas rods, cones and projection neurons are non-migratory. The transcription factor Tbx2b is important for both the correct number and migration of parapineal neurons. We find that two additional transcription factors, Flh and Nr2e3, negatively regulate parapineal formation. Flh induces non-migratory neuron fates and limits the extent of parapineal specification, in part by activation of Nr2e3 expression. Tbx2b is positively regulated by Flh, but opposes Flh action during specification of parapineal neurons. Loss of parapineal neuron specification in Tbx2b-deficient embryos can be partially rescued by loss of Nr2e3 or Flh function; however, parapineal migration absolutely requires Tbx2b activity. We conclude that cell specification and migration in the pineal complex are regulated by a network of at least three transcription factors.
© 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
In the past decade, high-throughput DNA sequencing (HTS) methods and improved approaches for isolating antigen-specific B cells and their antibody genes have been applied in many areas of human immunology. This work has greatly increased our understanding of human antibody repertoires and the specific clones responsible for protective immunity or immune-mediated pathogenesis. Although the principles underlying selection of individual B cell clones in the intact immune system are still under investigation, the combination of more powerful genetic tracking of antibody lineage development and functional testing of the encoded proteins promises to transform therapeutic antibody discovery and optimization. Here, we highlight recent advances in this fast-moving field.
Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
A widely accepted paradigm in the field of cancer biology is that solid tumors are uni-ancestral being derived from a single founder and its descendants. However, data have been steadily accruing that indicate early tumors in mice and humans can have a multi-ancestral origin in which an initiated primogenitor facilitates the transformation of neighboring co-genitors. We developed a new mouse model that permits the determination of clonal architecture of intestinal tumors in vivo and ex vivo, have validated this model, and then used it to assess the clonal architecture of adenomas, intramucosal carcinomas, and invasive adenocarcinomas of the intestine. The percentage of multi-ancestral tumors did not significantly change as tumors progressed from adenomas with low-grade dysplasia [40/65 (62%)], to adenomas with high-grade dysplasia [21/37 (57%)], to intramucosal carcinomas [10/23 (43%]), to invasive adenocarcinomas [13/19 (68%)], indicating that the clone arising from the primogenitor continues to coexist with clones arising from co-genitors. Moreover, neoplastic cells from distinct clones within a multi-ancestral adenocarcinoma have even been observed to simultaneously invade into the underlying musculature [2/15 (13%)]. Thus, intratumoral heterogeneity arising early in tumor formation persists throughout tumorigenesis.
BACKGROUND & AIMS - Gastric cancer develops in the context of parietal cell loss, spasmolytic polypeptide-expressing metaplasia (SPEM), and intestinal metaplasia (IM). We investigated whether expression of the activated form of Ras in gastric chief cells of mice leads to the development of SPEM, as well as progression of metaplasia.
METHODS - We studied Mist1-CreERT2Tg/+;LSL-K-Ras(G12D)Tg/+ (Mist1-Kras) mice, which express the active form of Kras in chief cells on tamoxifen exposure. We studied Mist1-CreERT2Tg/+;LSL-KRas (G12D)Tg/+;R26RmTmG/+ (Mist1-Kras-mTmG) mice to examine whether chief cells that express active Kras give rise to SPEM and IM. Some mice received intraperitoneal injections of the Mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) inhibitor, selumetinib, for 14 consecutive days. Gastric tissues were collected and analyzed by immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, and quantitative polymerase chain reaction.
RESULTS - Mist1-Kras mice developed metaplastic glands, which completely replaced normal fundic lineages and progressed to IM within 3-4 months after tamoxifen injection. The metaplastic glands expressed markers of SPEM and IM, and were infiltrated by macrophages. Lineage tracing studies confirmed that the metaplasia developed directly from Kras (G12D)-induced chief cells. Selumetinib induced persistent regression of SPEM and IM, and re-established normal mucosal cells, which were derived from normal gastric progenitor cells.
CONCLUSIONS - Expression of activated Ras in chief cells of Mist1-Kras mice led to the full range of metaplastic lineage transitions, including SPEM and IM. Inhibition of Ras signaling by inhibition of MEK might reverse preneoplastic metaplasia in the stomach.
Copyright © 2016 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.