Nakahara, Y., Muto, A., Hirabayashi, R., Sakuma, T., Yamamoto, T., Kume, S., Kikuchi, Y. (2016) Temporal effects of Notch signaling and potential cooperation with multiple downstream effectors on adenohypophysis cell specification in zebrafish. Genes to cells : devoted to molecular & cellular mechanisms. 21(5):492-504.
The adenohypophysis (AH) consists of six distinct types of hormone-secreting cells. In zebrafish, although proper differentiation of all AH cell types has been shown to require Notch signaling within a period of 14-16 h postfertilization (hpf), the mechanisms underlying this process remain to be elucidated. Herein, we observed using the Notch inhibitor dibenzazepine (DBZ) that Notch signaling also contributed to AH cell specification beyond 16 hpf. Specification of distinct cell types was perturbed by DBZ treatment for different time frames, suggesting that AH cells are specified by Notch-dependent and cell-type-specific mechanisms. We also found that two hes-family genes, her4.1 and hey1, were expressed in the developing AH under the influence of Notch signaling. her4.1 knockdown reduced expression of proopiomelanocortin a (pomca), growth hormone (gh), and prolactin, whereas hey1 was responsible only for gh expression. Simultaneous loss of both Her4.1 and Hey1 produced milder phenotypes than that of DBZ-treated embryos. Moreover, DBZ treatment from 18 hpf led to a significant down-regulation of both gh and pomca genes only when combined with injection of a subthreshold level of her4.1-morpholino. These observations suggest that multiple downstream effectors, including Her4.1 and Hey1, mediate Notch signaling during AH cell specification.