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Bar Harbor, ME, United States

Abe K.,Tokai University | Takamatsu N.,Kitasato University | Ishikawa K.,Tokai University | Tsurumi T.,Kyoto University | And 6 more authors.

Congenital vertebral malformations caused by embryonic segmentation defects are relatively common in humans and domestic animals. Although reverse genetics approaches in mice have provided information on the molecular mechanisms of embryonic somite segmentation, hypothesis-driven approaches cannot adequately reflect human dysmorphology within the population. In a N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU) mutagenesis project in Kyoto, the Oune mutant rat strain was isolated due to a short and kinked caudal vertebra phenotype. Skeletal staining of heterozygous rats showed partial loss of the cervical vertebrae as well as hemivertebrae and fused vertebral blocks in lumbar and sacral vertebrae. In homozygous embryos, severe displacement of the whole vertebrae was observed. The Oune locus was genetically mapped to rat chromosome 1 using 202 backcross animals and 50 genome-wide microsatellite markers. Subsequently, a miss-sense mutation in the Tbx6 gene was identified in the critical region. Although the mutation is located within the Tbox domain near a predicted dimmer-interface, in vitro experiments revealed that the Tbx6 variant retains normal DNA binding ability and translational efficiency. However, the variant has decreased transcriptional activation potential in response to Notch-mediated signaling. Recently, it was reported that a dominant type of familial spondylocostal dysostosis is caused by a stoploss mutation in TBX6. Thus, we propose that partial dysfunction of Tbx6 leads to similar congenital vertebral malformations in both humans and rats. The Oune strain could be a unique animal model for dominant spondylocostal dysostosis and is useful for molecular dissection of the pathology of congenital vertebral malformations in humans. Copyright © 2015 Abe et al. Source

Rizzo F.,Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn | Rizzo F.,University of Salerno | Coffman J.A.,MDI Biological Laboratory | Arnone M.I.,Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn
Developmental Biology

Elk proteins are Ets family transcription factors that regulate cell proliferation, survival, and differentiation in response to ERK (extracellular-signal regulated kinase)-mediated phosphorylation. Here we report the embryonic expression and function of Sp-Elk, the single Elk gene of the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. Sp-Elk is zygotically expressed throughout the embryo beginning at late cleavage stage, with peak expression occurring at blastula stage. Morpholino antisense-mediated knockdown of Sp-Elk causes blastula-stage developmental arrest and embryo disintegration due to apoptosis, a phenotype that is rescued by wild-type Elk mRNA. Development is also rescued by Elk mRNA encoding a serine to aspartic acid substitution (S402D) that mimics ERK-mediated phosphorylation of a conserved site that enhances DNA binding, but not by Elk mRNA encoding an alanine substitution at the same site (S402A). This demonstrates both that the apoptotic phenotype of the morphants is specifically caused by Elk depletion, and that phosphorylation of serine 402 of Sp-Elk is critical for its anti-apoptotic function. Knockdown of Sp-Elk results in under-expression of several regulatory genes involved in cell fate specification, cell cycle control, and survival signaling, including the transcriptional regulator Sp-Runt-1 and its target Sp-PKC1, both of which were shown previously to be required for cell survival during embryogenesis. Both Sp-Runt-1 and Sp-PKC1 have sequences upstream of their transcription start sites that specifically bind Sp-Elk. These results indicate that Sp-Elk is the signal-dependent activator of a feed-forward gene regulatory circuit, consisting also of Sp-Runt-1 and Sp-PKC1, which actively suppresses apoptosis in the early embryo. © 2016 Elsevier Inc. Source

Bodnar A.G.,Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences | Coffman J.A.,MDI Biological Laboratory
Aging Cell

Aging in many animals is characterized by a failure to maintain tissue homeostasis and the loss of regenerative capacity. In this study, the ability to maintain tissue homeostasis and regenerative potential was investigated in sea urchins, a novel model to study longevity and negligible senescence. Sea urchins grow indeterminately, regenerate damaged appendages and reproduce throughout their lifespan and yet different species are reported to have very different life expectancies (ranging from 4 to more than 100 years). Quantitative analyses of cell proliferation and apoptosis indicated a low level of cell turnover in tissues of young and old sea urchins of species with different lifespans (Lytechinus variegatus, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus and Mesocentrotus franciscanus). The ability to regenerate damaged tissue was maintained with age as assessed by the regrowth of amputated spines and tube feet (motor and sensory appendages). Expression of genes involved in cell proliferation (pcna), telomere maintenance (tert) and multipotency (seawi and vasa) was maintained with age in somatic tissues. Immunolocalization of the Vasa protein to areas of the tube feet, spines, radial nerve, esophagus and a sub-population of circulating coelomocytes suggests the presence of multipotent cells that may play a role in normal tissue homeostasis and the regenerative potential of external appendages. The results indicate that regenerative potential was maintained with age regardless of lifespan, contrary to the expectation that shorter lived species would invest less in maintenance and repair. © 2016 The Anatomical Society and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

Rieger S.,MDI Biological Laboratory | Zhao H.,Chongqing Medical University | Martin P.,MDI Biological Laboratory | Abe K.,Tokai University | Lisse T.S.,MDI Biological Laboratory
Cell Biochemistry and Function

The cutaneous wound repair process involves balancing a dynamic series of events ranging from inflammation, oxidative stress, cell migration, proliferation, survival and differentiation. A complex series of secreted trophic factors, cytokines, surface and intracellular proteins are expressed in a temporospatial manner to restore skin integrity after wounding. Impaired initiation, maintenance or termination of the tissue repair processes can lead to perturbed healing, necrosis, fibrosis or even cancer. Nuclear hormone receptors (NHRs) in the cutaneous environment regulate tissue repair processes such as fibroplasia and angiogenesis. Defects in functional NHRs and their ligands are associated with the clinical phenotypes of chronic non-healing wounds and skin endocrine disorders. The functional relationship between NHRs and skin niche cells such as epidermal keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts is pivotal for successful wound closure and permanent repair. The aim of this review is to delineate the cutaneous effects and cross-talk of various nuclear receptors upon injury towards functional tissue restoration. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Source

Losick V.P.,MDI Biological Laboratory | Jun A.S.,Wilmer Eye Institute | Spradling A.C.,MDI Biological Laboratory

Tissue integrity and homeostasis often rely on the proliferation of stem cells or differentiated cells to replace lost, aged, or damaged cells. Recently, we described an alternative source of cell replacement- The expansion of resident, non-dividing diploid cells by wound-induced polyploidization (WIP). Here we show that the magnitude of WIP is proportional to the extent of cell loss using a new semi-automated assay with single cell resolution. Hippo and JNK signaling regulate WIP; unexpectedly however, JNK signaling through AP-1 limits rather than stimulates the level of Yki activation and polyploidization in the Drosophila epidermis. We found that polyploidization also quantitatively compensates for cell loss in a mammalian tissue, mouse corneal endothelium, where increased cell death occurs with age in a mouse model of Fuchs Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy (FECD). Our results suggest that WIP is an evolutionarily conserved homeostatic mechanism that maintains the size and synthetic capacity of adult tissues. ©2016 Losick et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Source

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