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Johansson E.,Gothenburg University | Andersson L.,Gothenburg University | Ornros J.,Gothenburg University | Carlsson T.,Gothenburg University | And 12 more authors.
Development (Cambridge) | Year: 2015

Current understanding infers a neural crest origin of thyroid C cells, the major source of calcitonin in mammals and ancestors to neuroendocrine thyroid tumors. The concept is primarily based on investigations in quail–chick chimeras involving fate mapping of neural crest cells to the ultimobranchial glands that regulate Ca2+ homeostasis in birds, reptiles, amphibians and fishes, but whether mammalian C cell development involves a homologous ontogenetic trajectory has not been experimentally verified. With lineage tracing, we now provide direct evidence that Sox17+ anterior endoderm is the only source of differentiated C cells and their progenitors in mice. Like many gut endoderm derivatives, embryonic C cells were found to coexpress pioneer factors forkhead box (Fox) a1 and Foxa2 before neuroendocrine differentiation takes place. In the ultimobranchial body epithelium emerging from pharyngeal pouch endoderm in early organogenesis, differential Foxa1/Foxa2 expression distinguished two spatially separated pools of C cell precursors with different growth properties. A similar expression pattern was recapitulated in medullary thyroid carcinoma cells in vivo, consistent with a growth-promoting role of Foxa1. In contrast to embryonic precursor cells, C cell-derived tumor cells invading the stromal compartment downregulated Foxa2, foregoing epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition designated by loss of E-cadherin;bothFoxa2 andE-cadherinwere re-expressed atmetastatic sites. These findings revise mammalian C cell ontogeny, expand the neuroendocrine repertoire of endoderm and redefine the boundaries of neural crest diversification.The data further underpin distinct functions of Foxa1 and Foxa2 in both embryonic and tumor development. © 2015, Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

De Felice E.,Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn | De Felice E.,Messina University | Porreca I.,IRGS | Alleva E.,Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Anatomy | Year: 2014

The brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene is expressed in differentiating and post-mitotic neurons of the zebrafish embryo, where it has been implicated in Huntington's disease. Little is known, however, about the full complement of neuronal cell types that express BDNF in this important vertebrate model. Here, we further explored the transcriptional profiles during the first week of development using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and whole-mount in situ hybridization (WISH). RT-qPCR results revealed a high level of maternal contribution followed by a steady increase of zygotic transcription, consistent with the notion of a prominent role of BDNF in neuronal maturation and maintenance. Based on WISH, we demonstrate for the first time that BDNF expression in the developing brain of zebrafish is structure specific. Anatomical criteria and co-staining with genetic markers (shh, pax2a, emx1, krox20, lhx2b and lhx9) visualized major topological domains of BDNF-positive cells in the pallium, hypothalamus, posterior tuberculum and optic tectum. Moreover, the relative timing of BDNF transcription in the eye and tectum may illustrate a mechanism for coordinated development of the retinotectal system. Taken together, our results are compatible with a local delivery and early role of BDNF in the developing brain of zebrafish, adding basic knowledge to the study of neurotrophin functions in neural development and disease. © 2014 Anatomical Society.

Fagman H.,IRGS | Fagman H.,Institute of Biomedicine | Amendola E.,IRGS | Amendola E.,Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn | And 13 more authors.
Developmental Biology | Year: 2011

The thyroid and lungs originate as neighboring bud shaped outgrowths from the midline of the embryonic foregut. When and how organ specific programs regulate development into structures of distinct shapes, positions and functions is incompletely understood. To characterize, at least in part, the genetic basis of these events, we have employed laser capture microdissection and microarray analysis to define gene expression in the mouse thyroid and lung primordia at E10.5. By comparing the transcriptome of each bud to that of the whole embryo as well as to each other, we broadly describe the genes that are preferentially expressed in each developing organ as well as those with an enriched expression common to both. The results thus obtained provide a valuable resource for further analysis of genes previously unrecognized to participate in thyroid and lung morphogenesis and to discover organ specific as well as common developmental mechanisms. As an initial step in this direction we describe a regulatory pathway involving the anti-apoptotic gene Bcl2 that controls cell survival in early thyroid development. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

Carchia E.,IRGS | Porreca I.,IRGS | Almeida P.J.,STAB VIDA Investigacao e Servicos em Ciencias Biologicas | D'Angelo F.,IRGS | And 8 more authors.
Cell Death and Disease | Year: 2015

Epidemiologic and experimental studies have associated changes of blood glucose homeostasis to Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure. We took a toxicogenomic approach to investigate the mechanisms of low-dose (1 ? 10-9 M) BPA toxicity in ex vivo cultures of primary murine pancreatic islets and hepatocytes. Twenty-nine inhibited genes were identified in islets and none in exposed hepatocytes. Although their expression was slightly altered, their impaired cellular level, as a whole, resulted in specific phenotypic changes. Damage of mitochondrial function and metabolism, as predicted by bioinformatics analyses, was observed: BPA exposure led to a time-dependent decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential, to an increase of ROS cellular levels and, finally, to an induction of apoptosis, attributable to the bigger Bax/Bcl-2 ratio owing to activation of NF-[[ampi]]kappa;B pathway. Our data suggest a multifactorial mechanism for BPA toxicity in pancreatic islets with emphasis to mitochondria dysfunction and NF-[[ampi]]kappa;B activation. Finally, we assessed in vitro the viability of BPA-treated islets in stressing condition, as exposure to high glucose, evidencing a reduced ability of the exposed islets to respond to further damages. The result was confirmed in vivo evaluating the reduction of glycemia in hyperglycemic mice transplanted with control and BPA-treated pancreatic islets. The reported findings identify the pancreatic islet as the main target of BPA toxicity in impairing the glycemia. They suggest that the BPA exposure can weaken the response of the pancreatic islets to damages. The last observation could represent a broader concept whose consideration should lead to the development of experimental plans better reproducing the multiple exposure conditions.[[ampi]] ©2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.

Porreca I.,IRGS | Porreca I.,Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn | Porreca I.,University of Naples Federico II | De Felice E.,Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn | And 5 more authors.
Developmental Biology | Year: 2012

Regulated cell death, defined in morphological terms as apoptosis, is crucial for organ morphogenesis. While differentiation of the thyroid gland has been extensively studied, nothing is yet known about the survival mechanisms involved in the development of this endocrine gland. Using the zebrafish model system, we aim to understand whether genes belonging to the Bcl-2 family that control apoptosis are implicated in regulation of cell survival during thyroid development. Evidence of strong Bcl-2 gene expression in mouse thyroid precursors prompted us to investigate the functions played by its zebrafish homologs during thyroid development. We show that the bcl2-like (bcl2l) gene is expressed in the zebrafish thyroid primordium. Morpholino-mediated knockdown and mutant analyses revealed that bcl2l is crucial for thyroid cell survival and that this function is tightly modulated by the transcription factors pax2a, nk2.1a and hhex. Also, the bcl2l gene appears to control a caspase-3-dependent apoptotic mechanism during thyroid development. Thyroid precursor cells require an actively maintained survival mechanism to properly proceed through development. The bcl2l gene operates in the inhibition of cell death under direct regulation of a thyroid specific set of transcription factors. This is the first demonstration of an active mechanism to ensure survival of the thyroid primordium during morphogenesis. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

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