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Utrecht, Netherlands

Schulte-Merker S.,Hubrecht Institute KNAW | Schulte-Merker S.,Institute for Cardiovascular Organogenesis and Regeneration | Stainier D.Y.R.,Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research
Development (Cambridge) | Year: 2014

Morpholino oligomers have been used widely and for many years in the zebrafish community to transiently knock down the function of target genes. It has often been difficult, however, to reliably discriminate between specific and non-specific effects, and thus generally accepted guidelines to control for morpholino side effects do not exist. In light of recent methodologies to generate mutant lines in virtually any zebrafish gene, we discuss these different approaches with a specific focus on how the first description of a loss-of-function phenotype in zebrafish should be accomplished. © 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

Paris D.B.B.P.,University Utrecht | Paris D.B.B.P.,James Cook University | Kuijk E.W.,University Utrecht | Kuijk E.W.,Hubrecht Institute KNAW | And 2 more authors.
Reproduction, Fertility and Development | Year: 2011

Real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) is invaluable for investigating changes in gene expression during early development, since it can be performed on the limited quantities of mRNA contained in individual embryos. However, the reliability of this method depends on the use of validated stably expressed reference genes for accurate data normalisation. The aim of the present study was to identify and validate a set of reference genes suitable for studying gene expression during equine embryo development. The stable expression of four carefully selected reference genes and one developmentally regulated gene was examined by qPCR in equine in vivo embryos from morula to expanded blastocyst stage. SRP14, RPL4 and PGK1 were identified by geNorm analysis as stably expressed reference genes suitable for data normalisation. RPL13A expression was less stable and changed significantly during the period of development examined, rendering it unsuitable as a reference gene. As anticipated, CDX2 expression increased significantly during embryo development, supporting its possible role in trophectoderm specification in the horse. In summary, it was demonstrated that evidence-based selection of potential reference genes can reduce the number needed to validate stable expression in an experimental system; this is particularly useful when dealing with tissues that yield small amounts of mRNA. SRP14, RPL4 and PGK1 are stable reference genes suitable for normalising expression for genes of interest during in vivo morula to expanded blastocyst development of horse embryos. © 2011 CSIRO.

Bolden J.E.,Sloan Kettering Cancer Center | Tasdemir N.,Sloan Kettering Cancer Center | Tasdemir N.,Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory | Dow L.E.,Sloan Kettering Cancer Center | And 7 more authors.
Cell Reports | Year: 2014

BET family proteins are novel therapeutic targets forcancer and inflammation and represent the first chromatin readers against which small-molecule inhibitors have been developed. First-generation BET inhibitors have shown therapeutic efficacy in preclinical models, but the consequences of sustained BET protein inhibition in normal tissues remain poorly characterized. Using an inducible and reversible transgenic RNAi mouse model, we show that strongsuppression of the BET protein Brd4 in adult animalshas dramatic effects in multiple tissues. Brd4-depleted mice display reversible epidermal hyperplasia, alopecia, and decreased cellular diversity and stem cell depletion in the small intestine. Furthermore, Brd4-suppressed intestines are sensitive to organ stress and show impaired regeneration following irradiation, suggesting that concurrent Brd4 suppression and certain cytotoxic therapies may induce undesirable synergistic effects. These findings provide important insight into Brd4 function in normal tissues and, importantly, predict several potential outcomes associated with potent and sustained BET protein inhibition. © 2014 The Authors.

Koo B.-K.,University of Cambridge | Clevers H.,Hubrecht Institute KNAW | Clevers H.,University Utrecht
Gastroenterology | Year: 2014

Since the discovery of LGR5 as a marker of intestinal stem cells, the field has developed explosively and led to many new avenues of research. The inner workings of the intestinal crypt stem cell niche are now well understood. The study of stem cell-enriched genes has uncovered some previously unknown aspects of the Wnt signaling pathway, the major driver of crypt dynamics. LGR5 + stem cells can now be cultured over long periods in vitro as epithelial organoids or "mini-guts." This technology opens new possibilities of using cultured adult stem cells for drug development, disease modeling, gene therapy, and regenerative medicine. This review describes the rediscovery of crypt base columnar cells as LGR5+ adult stem cells and summarizes subsequent progress, promises, unresolved issues, and challenges of the field. © 2014 by the AGA Institute.

Apschner A.,Hubrecht Institute KNAW | Huitema L.F.A.,Hubrecht Institute KNAW | Ponsioen B.,Hubrecht Institute KNAW | Peterson-Maduro J.,Hubrecht Institute KNAW | And 2 more authors.
DMM Disease Models and Mechanisms | Year: 2014

In recent years it has become clear that, mechanistically, biomineralization is a process that has to be actively inhibited as a default state. This inhibition must be released in a rigidly controlled manner in order for mineralization to occur in skeletal elements and teeth. A central aspect of this concept is the tightly controlled balance between phosphate, a constituent of the biomineral hydroxyapatite, and pyrophosphate, a physiochemical inhibitor of mineralization. Here, we provide a detailed analysis of a zebrafish mutant, dragonfish (dgf), which is mutant for ectonucleoside pyrophosphatase/ phosphodiesterase 1 (Enpp1), a protein that is crucial for supplying extracellular pyrophosphate. Generalized arterial calcification of infancy (GACI) is a fatal human disease, and the majority of cases are thought to be caused by mutations in ENPP1. Furthermore, some cases of pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) have recently been linked to ENPP1. Similar to humans, we show here that zebrafish enpp1 mutants can develop ectopic calcifications in a variety of soft tissues - most notably in the skin, cartilage elements, the heart, intracranial space and the notochord sheet. Using transgenic reporter lines, we demonstrate that ectopic mineralizations in these tissues occur independently of the expression of typical osteoblast or cartilage markers. Intriguingly, we detect cells expressing the osteoclast markers Trap and CathepsinK at sites of ectopic calcification at time points when osteoclasts are not yet present in wild-type siblings. Treatment with the bisphosphonate etidronate rescues aspects of the dgf phenotype, and we detected deregulated expression of genes that are involved in phosphate homeostasis and mineralization, such as fgf23, npt2a, entpd5 and spp1 (also known as osteopontin). Employing a UAS-GalFF approach, we show that forced expression of enpp1 in blood vessels or the floorplate of mutant embryos is sufficient to rescue the notochord mineralization phenotype. This indicates that enpp1 can exert its function in tissues that are remote from its site of expression. © 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

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