Browsing by Subject "MORPHOGENESIS"

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  • Jia, S.; Zhou, J.; Wee, Y.; Mikkola, M. L.; Schneider, P.; D'Souza, R. N. (2017)
    To date, surgical interventions are the only means by which craniofacial anomalies can be corrected so that function, esthetics, and the sense of well-being are restored in affected individuals. Unfortunately, for patients with cleft palate-one of the most common of congenital birth defects-treatment following surgery is prolonged over a lifetime and often involves multidisciplinary regimens. Hence, there is a need to understand the molecular pathways that control palatogenesis and to translate such information for the development of noninvasive therapies that can either prevent or correct cleft palates in humans. Here, we use the well-characterized model of the Pax9(-/-) mouse, which displays a consistent phenotype of a secondary cleft palate, to test a novel therapeutic. Specifically, we demonstrate that the controlled intravenous delivery of a novel mouse monoclonal antibody replacement therapy, which acts as an agonist for the ectodysplasin (Eda) pathway, can resolve cleft palate defects in Pax9(-/-) embryos in utero. Such pharmacological interventions did not reverse the arrest in tooth, thymus, and parathyroid gland development, suggesting that the relationship of Pax9 to the Eda/Edar pathway is both unique and essential for palatogenesis. Expression analyses and unbiased gene expression profiling studies offer a molecular explanation for the resolution of palatal defects, showing that Eda and Edar-related genes are expressed in normal palatal tissues and that the Eda/Edar signaling pathway is downstream of Pax9 in palatogenesis. Taken together, our data uncover a unique relationship between Pax9 and the Eda/Edar signaling pathway that can be further exploited for the development of noninvasive, safe, and effective therapies for the treatment of cleft palate conditions and other single-gene disorders affecting the craniofacial complex.
  • Trela, Ewelina; Lan, Qiang; Myllymäki, Satu-Marja; Villeneuve, Clémentine; Lindström, Riitta; Kumar, Vinod; Wickström, Sara A.; Mikkola, Marja L. (2021)
    The mammary gland develops from the surface ectoderm during embryogenesis and proceeds through morphological phases defined as placode, hillock, bud, and bulb stages followed by branching morphogenesis. During this early morphogenesis, the mammary bud undergoes an invagination process where the thickened bud initially protrudes above the surface epithelium and then transforms to a bulb and sinks into the underlying mesenchyme. The signaling pathways regulating the early morphogenetic steps have been identified to some extent, but the underlying cellular mechanisms remain ill defined. Here, we use 3D and 4D confocal microscopy to show that the early growth of the mammary rudiment is accomplished by migration-driven cell influx, with minor contributions of cell hypertrophy and proliferation. We delineate a hitherto undescribed invagination mechanism driven by thin, elongated keratinocytes-ring cells-that form a contractile rim around the mammary bud and likely exert force via the actomyosin network. Furthermore, we show that conditional deletion of nonmuscle myosin IIA (NMIIA) impairs invagination, resulting in abnormal mammary bud shape.
  • Cooper, Rory L.; Lloyd, Victoria J.; Di-Poï, Nicolas; Fletcher, Alexander G.; Barrett, Paul M.; Fraser, Gareth J. (2019)
    Vertebrates possess a diverse range of integumentary epithelial appendages, including scales, feathers and hair. These structures share extensive early developmental homology, as they mostly originate from a conserved anatomical placode. In the context of avian epithelial appendages, feathers and scutate scales are known to develop from an anatomical placode. However, our understanding of avian reticulate (footpad) scale development remains unclear.
  • Anttonen, Tommi; Belevich, Ilya; Laos, Maarja; Herranen, Anni; Jokitalo, Eija; Brakebusch, Cord; Pirvola, Ulla (2017)
    Wound healing in the inner ear sensory epithelia is performed by the apical domains of supporting cells (SCs). Junctional F-actin belts of SCs are thin during development but become exceptionally thick during maturation. The functional significance of the thick belts is not fully understood. We have studied the role of F-actin belts during wound healing in the developing and adult cochlea of mice in vivo. We show that the thick belts serve as intracellular scaffolds that preserve the positions of surviving cells in the cochlear sensory epithelium. Junctions associated with the thick F-actin belts did not readily disassemble during wound healing. To compensate for this, basolateral membranes of SCs participated in the closure of surface breach. Because not only neighboring but also distant SCs contributed to wound healing by basolateral protrusions, this event appears to be triggered by contact-independent diffusible signals. In the search for regulators of wound healing, we inactivated RhoA in SCs, which, however, did not limit wound healing. RhoA inactivation in developing outer hair cells (OHCs) caused myosin II delocalization from the perijunctional domain and apical cell-surface enlargement. These abnormalities led to the extrusion of OHCs from the epithelium. These results demonstrate the importance of stability of the apical domain, both in wound repair by SCs and in development of OHCs, and that only this latter function is regulated by RhoA. Because the correct cytoarchitecture of the cochlear sensory epithelium is required for normal hearing, the stability of cell apices should be maintained in regenerative and protective interventions.
  • Ihermann-Hella, Anneliis; Hirashima, Tsuyoshi; Kupari, Jussi; Kurtzeborn, Kristen; Li, Hao; Kwon, Hyuk Nam; Cebrian, Cristina; Soofi, Abdul; Dapkunas, Arvydas; Miinalainen, Ilkka; Dressler, Gregory R.; Matsuda, Michiyuki; Kuure, Satu (2018)
    The in vivo niche and basic cellular properties of nephron progenitors are poorly described. Here we studied the cellular organization and function of the MAPK/ERK pathway in nephron progenitors. Live-imaging of ERK activity by a Forster resonance energy transfer biosensor revealed a dynamic activation pattern in progenitors, whereas differentiating precursors exhibited sustained activity. Genetic experiments demonstrate that MAPK/ERK activity controls the thickness, coherence, and integrity of the nephron progenitor niche. Molecularly, MAPK/ERK activity regulates niche organization and communication with extracellular matrix through PAX2 and ITGA8, and is needed for CITED1 expression denoting undifferentiated status. MAPK/ERK activation in nephron precursors propels differentiation by priming cells for distal and proximal fates induced by the Wnt and Notch pathways. Thus, our results demonstrate a mechanism through which MAPK/ERK activity controls both progenitor maintenance and differentiation by regulating a distinct set of targets, which maintain the biomechanical milieu of tissue-residing progenitors and prime precursors for nephrogenesis.
  • Elo, Teresa; Lindfors, Paivi H.; Lan, Qiang; Voutilainen, Maria; Trela, Ewelina; Ohlsson, Claes; Huh, Sung-Ho; Ornitz, David M.; Poutanen, Matti; Howard, Beatrice A.; Mikkola, Marja L. (2017)
    Mammary gland development begins with the appearance of epithelial placodes that invaginate, sprout, and branch to form small arborized trees by birth. The second phase of ductal growth and branching is driven by the highly invasive structures called terminal end buds (TEBs) that form at ductal tips at the onset of puberty. Ectodysplasin (Eda), a tumor necrosis factor-like ligand, is essential for the development of skin appendages including the breast. In mice, Eda regulates mammary placode formation and branching morphogenesis, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. Fibroblast growth factor (Fgf) receptors have a recognized role in mammary ductal development and stem cell maintenance, but the ligands involved are ill-defined. Here we report that Fgf20 is expressed in embryonic mammary glands and is regulated by the Eda pathway. Fgf20 deficiency does not impede mammary gland induction, but compromises mammary bud growth, as well as TEB formation, ductal outgrowth and branching during puberty. We further show that loss of Fgf20 delays formation of Eda-induced supernumerary mammary buds and normalizes the embryonic and postnatal hyperbranching phenotype of Eda overexpressing mice. These findings identify a hitherto unknown function for Fgf20 in mammary budding and branching morphogenesis.
  • May, Alison J.; Headon, Denis; Rice, David P.; Noble, Alistair; Tucker, Abigail S. (2016)
    Hypertrophy, hyperplasia and altered mucus secretion from the respiratory submucosal glands (SMG) are characteristics of airway diseases such as cystic fibrosis, asthma and chronic bronchitis. More commonly, hyper-secretion of the nasal SMGs contributes to allergic rhinitis and upper airway infection. Considering the role of these glands in disease states, there is a significant dearth in understanding the molecular signals that regulate SMG development and patterning. Due to the imperative role of FGF signalling during the development of other branched structures, we investigated the role of Fgf10 during initiation and branching morphogenesis of murine nasal SMGs. Fgf10 is expressed in the mesenchyme around developing SMGs while expression of its receptor Fgfr2 is seen within glandular epithelial cells. In the Fgf10 null embryo, Steno's gland and the maxillary sinus gland were completely absent while other neighbouring nasal glands showed normal duct elongation but defective branching. Interestingly, the medial nasal glands were present in Fgf10 homozygotes but missing in Fgfr2b mutants, with expression of Fgf7 specifically expressed around these developing glands, indicating that Fgf7 might compensate for loss of Fgf10 in this group of glands. Intriguingly the lateral nasal glands were only mildly affected by loss of FGF signalling, while these glands were missing in Eda mutant mice, where the Steno's and maxillary sinus gland developed as normal. This analysis reveals that regulation of nasal gland development is complex with different subsets of glands being regulated by different signalling pathways. This analysis helps shed light on the nasal gland defects observed in patients with hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia (HED) (defect EDA pathway) and LADD syndrome (defect FGFR2b pathway). (C) 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Minh Binh Nguyen,; Cohen, Idan; Kumar, Vinod; Xu, Zijian; Bar, Carmit; Dauber-Decker, Katherine L.; Tsai, Pai-Chi; Marangoni, Pauline; Klein, Ophir D.; Hsu, Ya-Chieh; Chen, Ting; Mikkola, Marja L.; Ezhkova, Elena (2018)
    Merkel cells are innervated mechanosensory cells responsible for light-touch sensations. In murine dorsal skin, Merkel cells are located in touch domes and found in the epidermis around primary hairs. While it has been shown that Merkel cells are skin epithelial cells, the progenitor cell population that gives rise to these cells is unknown. Here, we show that during embryogenesis, SOX9-positive (+) cells inside hair follicles, which were previously known to give rise to hair follicle stem cells (HFSCs) and cells of the hair follicle lineage, can also give rise to Merkel Cells. Interestingly, while SOX9 is critical for HFSC specification, it is dispensable for Merkel cell formation. Conversely, FGFR2 is required for Merkel cell formation but is dispensable for HFSCs. Together, our studies uncover SOX9(+) cells as precursors of Merkel cells and show the requirement for FGFR2-mediated epithelial signalling in Merkel cell specification.
  • Ning, Lin; Paetau, Sonja; Nyman-Huttunen, Henrietta; Tian, Li; Gahmberg, Carl G. (2015)
    ICAM-5 is a negative regulator of dendritic spine maturation and facilitates the formation of filopodia. Its absence results in improved memory functions, but the mechanisms have remained poorly understood. Activation of NMDA receptors induces ICAM-5 ectodomain cleavage through a matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-dependent pathway, which promotes spine maturation and synapse formation. Here, we report a novel, ICAM-5-dependent mechanism underlying spine maturation by regulating the dynamics and synaptic distribution of a-actinin. We found that GluN1 and ICAM-5 partially compete for the binding to alpha-actinin; deletion of the cytoplasmic tail of ICAM-5 or ablation of the gene resulted in increased association of GluN1 with alpha-actinin, whereas internalization of ICAM-5 peptide perturbed the GluN1/alpha-actinin interaction. NMDA treatment decreased alpha-actinin binding to ICAM-5, and increased the binding to GluN1. Proper synaptic distribution of alpha-actinin requires the ICAM-5 cytoplasmic domain, without which alpha-actinin tended to accumulate in filopodia, leading to F-actin reorganization. The results indicate that ICAM-5 retards spine maturation by preventing reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton, but NMDA receptor activation is sufficient to relieve the brake and promote the maturation of spines.
  • Englund, Johanna; Ritchie, Alexandra; Blaas, Leander; Cojoc, Hanne; Pentinmikko, Nalle; Dohla, Julia; Iqbal, Sharif; Patarroyo, Manuel; Katajisto, Pekka (2021)
    Epithelial attachment to the basement membrane (BM) is essential for mammary gland development, yet the exact roles of specific BM components remain unclear. Here, we show that Laminin alpha 5 (Lama5) expression specifically in the luminal epithelial cells is necessary for normal mammary gland growth during puberty, and for alveologenesis during pregnancy. Lama5 loss in the keratin 8-expressing cells results in reduced frequency and differentiation of hormone receptor expressing (HR+) luminal cells. Consequently, Wnt4-mediated crosstalk between HR+ luminal cells and basal epithelial cells is compromised during gland remodeling, and results in defective epithelial growth. The effects of Lama5 deletion on gland growth and branching can be rescued by Wnt4 supplementation in the in vitro model of branching morphogenesis. Our results reveal a surprising role for BM-protein expression in the luminal mammary epithelial cells, and highlight the function of Lama5 in mammary gland remodeling and luminal differentiation.
  • Mogollon, Isabel; Ahtiainen, Laura (2020)
    Embryonic development of ectodermal organs involves a very dynamic range of cellular events and, therefore, requires advanced techniques to visualize them. Ectodermal organogenesis proceeds in well-defined sequential stages mediated by tissue interactions. Different ectodermal organs feature shared morphological characteristics, which are regulated by conserved and reiterative signaling pathways. A wealth of genetic information on the expression patterns and interactions of specific signaling pathways has accumulated over the years. However, the conventional developmental biology methods have mainly relied on two-dimensional tissue histological analyses at fixed time points limiting the possibilities to follow the processes in real time on a single cell resolution. This has complicated the interpretation of cause and effect relationships and mechanisms of the successive events. Whole-mount tissue live imaging approaches are now revealing how reshaping of the epithelial sheet for the initial placodal thickening, budding morphogenesis and beyond, involve coordinated four dimensional changes in cell shapes, well-orchestrated cell movements and specific cell proliferation and apoptosis patterns. It is becoming evident that the interpretation of the reiterative morphogenic signals takes place dynamically at the cellular level. Depending on the context, location, and timing they drive different cell fate choices and cellular interactions regulating a pattern of behaviors that ultimately defines organ shapes and sizes. Here we review how new tissue models, advances in 3D and live tissue imaging techniques have brought new understanding on the cell level behaviors that contribute to the highly dynamic stages of morphogenesis in teeth, hair and related ectodermal organs during development, and in dysplasia contexts.
  • Lyytinen, Outi Leena; Starkova, Daria; Poranen, Minna Marjetta (2019)
    BackgroundCystoviruses have a phospholipid envelope around their nucleocapsid. Such a feature is unique among bacterial viruses (i.e., bacteriophages) and the mechanisms of virion envelopment within a bacterial host are largely unknown. The cystovirus Pseudomonas phage phi6 has an envelope that harbors five viral membrane proteins and phospholipids derived from the cytoplasmic membrane of its Gram-negative host. The phi6 major envelope protein P9 and the non-structural protein P12 are essential for the envelopment of its virions. Co-expression of P9 and P12 in a Pseudomonas host results in the formation of intracellular vesicles that are potential intermediates in the phi6 virion assembly pathway. This study evaluated the minimum requirements for the formation of phi6-specific vesicles and the possibility to localize P9-tagged heterologous proteins into such structures in Escherichia coli.ResultsUsing transmission electron microscopy, we detected membranous structures in the cytoplasm of E. coli cells expressing P9. The density of the P9-specific membrane fraction was lower (approximately 1.13g/cm(3) in sucrose) than the densities of the bacterial cytoplasmic and outer membrane fractions. A P9-GFP fusion protein was used to study the targeting of heterologous proteins into P9 vesicles. Production of the GFP-tagged P9 vesicles required P12, which protected the fusion protein against proteolytic cleavage. Isolated vesicles contained predominantly P9-GFP, suggesting selective incorporation of P9-tagged fusion proteins into the vesicles.ConclusionsOur results demonstrate that the phi6 major envelope protein P9 can trigger formation of cytoplasmic membrane structures in E. coli in the absence of any other viral protein. Intracellular membrane structures are rare in bacteria, thus making them ideal chasses for cell-based vesicle production. The possibility to locate heterologous proteins into the P9-lipid vesicles facilitates the production of vesicular structures with novel properties. Such products have potential use in biotechnology and biomedicine.
  • Iherman-Hella, Anneliis; Lume, Maria; Miinalainen, Ilkka; Pirttiniemi, Anniina; Gui, Yujuan; Peränen, Johan; Charron, Jean; Saarma, Mart; Costantini, Frank; Kuure, Satu Helena (2014)
  • Ray, Robert P.; Matamoro-Vidal, Alexis; Ribeiro, Paulo S.; Tapon, Nic; Houle, David; Salazar-Ciudad, Isaac; Thompson, Barry J. (2015)
    How tissues acquire their characteristic shape is a fundamental unresolved question in biology. While genes have been characterized that control local mechanical forces to elongate epithelial tissues, genes controlling global forces in epithelia have yet to be identified. Here, we describe a genetic pathway that shapes appendages in Drosophila by defining the pattern of global tensile forces in the tissue. In the appendages, shape arises from tension generated by cell constriction and localized anchorage of the epithelium to the cuticle via the apical extracellular-matrix protein Dumpy (Dp). Altering Dp expression in the developing wing results in predictable changes in wing shape that can be simulated by a computational model that incorporates only tissue contraction and localized anchorage. Three other wing shape genes, narrow, tapered, and lanceolate, encode components of a pathway that modulates Dp distribution in the wing to refine the global force pattern and thus wing shape.
  • Blob, Bernhard; Heo, Jung-ok; Helariutta, Yka (2018)
    Plant vasculature consists of two major conductive cell types, xylem tracheary elements and phloem sieve elements (SEs). Both cell types undergo a highly specialized differentiation process. The root meristem of Arabidopsis displays a stereotypical anatomy in which the central vasculature is surrounded by concentric layers of outer tissues. Each cell file is derived from stem cells located in the root tip. A series of formative and proliferative divisions take place in the meristem; these are followed by cell expansion and differentiation. Protophloem differentiation is unique in being complete only 20-25 cells away from the first stem cell, and during the differentiation process the cells lose several organelles, including the nucleus, while the remaining organelles are rearranged. Defects in SE development have been shown to result in impaired auxin transport and response and therefore systemically affect root growth. Although a few genes have been demonstrated to function in phloem development, detailed analyses and a comprehensive understanding of sieve element development (i.e. how often the stem cells divide, how frequently enucleation takes place, and how SE development is coordinated between cell division and differentiation on a molecular level) are still lacking. Advanced live-imaging techniques which enable prolonged time-lapse captures of root tip growth as well as single-cell transcriptomic analysis of the 20-25 cells in the SE file could help resolve these questions. In addition, understanding the interplay between the PLETHORA (PLT) gradient, which is known to govern the root zonation, and phloem development within the root meristem could shed light on the rapidity of SE differentiation and its importance to the meristem.
  • Kareem, Abdul; Radhakrishnan, Dhanya; Wang, Xin; Bagavathiappan, Subhikshaa; Trivedi, Zankhana B.; Sugimoto, Kaoru; Xu, Jian; Mähonen, Ari Pekka; Prasad, Kalika (2016)
    Background: Plants have the remarkable property to elaborate entire body plan from any tissue part. The conversion of lateral root primordium (LRP) to shoot is an ideal method for plant propagation and for plant researchers to understand the mechanism underlying trans-differentiation. Until now, however, a robust method that allows the efficient conversion of LRP to shoot is lacking. This has limited our ability to study the dynamic phases of reprogramming at cellular and molecular levels. Results: Here we present an efficient protocol for the direct conversion of LRP to a complete fertile shoot system. This protocol can be readily applied to the various ecotypes of Arabidopsis. We show that, the conversion process is highly responsive to developmental stages of LRP and changes in external environmental stimuli such as temperature. The entire conversion process can be adequately analyzed by histological and imaging techniques. As a demonstration, using a battery of cell fate specific markers, we show that confocal time-lapse imaging can be employed to uncover the early molecular events, intermediate developmental phases and relative abundance of stem cell regulators during the conversion of LRP to shoot. Conclusion: Our method is highly efficient, independent of genotypes tested and suitable to study the reprogramming of LRP to shoot in intact plants as well as in excised roots.
  • Lan, Qiang; Mikkola, Marja L. (2020)
    Branching morphogenesis of the murine mammary gland starts during late embryogenesis. It is regulated by the signals emanating both from the epithelium and the mesenchyme, yet the molecular mechanisms regulating this process remain poorly understood. We have previously developed a unique whole organ culture technique for embryonic mammary glands, which provides a powerful tool to monitor and manipulate branching morphogenesis ex vivo. Nowadays, RNA sequencing and other transcriptional profiling techniques provide robust methods to identify components of gene regulatory networks driving branching morphogenesis. However, validation of the candidate genes still mainly depends on the use of the transgenic mouse models, especially in mammary gland studies. By comparing different serotypes of recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAVs), we found out that rAAVs provide sufficient efficiency for gene transfer with different tissue preferences depending on the serotypes of the virus. AAV-2 and AAV-8 preferentially target epithelial and mesenchymal compartments, respectively, while AAV-9 infects both tissues. Here, we describe a protocol for AAV-mediated gene transfer in ex vivo cultured murine embryonic mammary gland facilitating gene function studies on mammary gland branching morphogenesis.
  • Dash, Surjya; Hakonen, Elina; Ustinov, Jarkko; Otonkoski, Timo; Andersson, Olov; Lehtonen, Sanna (2016)
    Protection or restoration of pancreatic beta-cell mass as a therapeutic treatment for type 1 diabetes requires understanding of the mechanisms that drive the specification and development of pancreatic endocrine cells. Septins are filamentous small GTPases that function in the regulation of cell division, cytoskeletal organization and membrane remodeling, and are involved in various tissue-specific developmental processes. However, their role in pancreatic endocrine cell differentiation remains unknown. Here we show by functional manipulation techniques in transgenic zebrafish lines that suppression of sept7b, the zebrafish ortholog of human SEPT7, profoundly increases the number of endocrine progenitors but limits their differentiation, leading to reduction in beta- and alpha-cell mass. Furthermore, we discovered that shh (sonic hedgehog) expression in the endoderm, essential for the development of pancreatic progenitors of the dorsal pancreatic bud, is absent in larvae depleted of sept7b. We also discovered that sept7b is important for the differentiation of ventral pancreatic bud-derived cells: sept7b-depleted larvae exhibit downregulation of Notch receptors notch1a and notch1b and show precocious differentiation of NeuroD-positive endocrine cells in the intrapancreatic duct and gut epithelium. Collectively, this study provides a novel insight into the development of pancreatic endocrine progenitors, revealing an essential role for sept7b in endocrine progenitor differentiation.
  • Mogollon Figueroa, Isabel; Moustakas-Verho, Jacqueline Emmanuel; Niittykoski, Minna Johanna; Ahtiainen, Laura (2021)
    Signaling centers, or organizers, regulate many aspects of embryonic morphogenesis. In the mammalian molar tooth, reiterative signaling in specialized centers called enamel knots (EKs) determines tooth patterning. Preceding the primary EK, transient epithelial thickening appears, the significance of which remains debated. Using tissue confocal fluorescence imaging with laser ablation experiments, we show that this transient thickening is an earlier signaling center, the molar initiation knot (IK), that is required for the progression of tooth development. IK cell dynamics demonstrate the hallmarks of a signaling center: cell cycle exit, condensation and eventual silencing through apoptosis. IK initiation and maturation are defined by the juxtaposition of cells with high Wnt activity to Shh-expressing non-proliferating cells, the combination of which drives the growth of the tooth bud, leading to the formation of the primary EK as an independent cell cluster. Overall, the whole development of the tooth, from initiation to patterning, is driven by the iterative use of signaling centers.