The tbx2a/b transcription factors direct pronephros segmentation and corpuscle of Stannius formation in zebrafish

Drummond, B.E., Li, Y., Marra, A.N., Cheng, C.N., Wingert, R.A.
Developmental Biology   421(1): 52-66 (Journal)
Registered Authors
Cheng, Christina, Drummond, Bridgette, Li, Yue, Marra, Amanda, Wingert, Rebecca
Notch signaling, corpuscle of Stannius, epithelial cell fate, kidney, nephrogenesis, nephron segments, pronephros, retinoic acid, sim1a, tbx2a, tbx2b
MeSH Terms
  • Animals
  • Body Patterning/drug effects
  • Body Patterning/genetics*
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Differentiation/drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental/drug effects
  • Mesoderm/drug effects
  • Mesoderm/embryology
  • Mesoderm/metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Organogenesis/drug effects
  • Organogenesis/genetics
  • Pronephros/drug effects
  • Pronephros/embryology*
  • Pronephros/metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger/genetics
  • RNA, Messenger/metabolism
  • Receptors, Notch/metabolism
  • Signal Transduction/drug effects
  • T-Box Domain Proteins/genetics
  • T-Box Domain Proteins/metabolism*
  • Tretinoin/pharmacology
  • Zebrafish/embryology*
  • Zebrafish/genetics
  • Zebrafish/metabolism*
  • Zebrafish Proteins/genetics
  • Zebrafish Proteins/metabolism*
27840199 Full text @ Dev. Biol.
The simplified and genetically conserved zebrafish pronephros is an excellent model to examine the cryptic processes of cell fate decisions during the development of nephron segments as well as the origins of associated endocrine cells that comprise the corpuscles of Stannius (CS). Using whole mount in situ hybridization, we found that transcripts of the zebrafish genes t-box 2a (tbx2a) and t-box 2b (tbx2b), which belong to the T-box family of transcription factors, were expressed in the caudal intermediate mesoderm progenitors that give rise to the distal pronephros and CS. Deficiency of tbx2a, tbx2b or both tbx2a/b reduced the size of the distal late (DL) segment, which was accompanied by a proximal convoluted segment (PCT) expansion. Further, tbx2a/b deficiency led to significantly larger CS clusters. These phenotypes were also observed in embryos with the from beyond (fby)c144 mutation, which encodes a premature stop codon in the tbx2b T-box sequence. Conversely, overexpression of tbx2a and tbx2b in wild-type embryos expanded the DL segment where cells were comingled with the adjacent DE, and also decreased CS cell number, but notably did not alter PCT development-providing independent evidence that tbx2a and tbx2b are each necessary and sufficient to promote DL fate and suppress CS genesis. Epistasis studies indicated that tbx2a acts upstream of tbx2b to regulate the DL and CS fates, and likely has other targets as well. Retinoic acid (RA) addition and inhibition studies revealed that tbx2a and tbx2b are negatively regulated by RA signaling. Interestingly, the CS cell expansion that typifies tbx2a/b deficiency also occurred when blocking Notch signaling with the chemical DAPT (N-[N-(3,5-difluorophenacetyl)-L-alanyl]-S-phenylglycine t-butyl ester). Ectopic activation of Notch in Tg(hsp70::Gal4; UAS::NICD)(NICD) embryos led to a reduced CS post heat-shock induction. To further examine the link between the tbx2a/b genes and Notch during CS formation, DAPT treatment was used to block Notch activity in tbx2a/b deficient embryos, and tbx2a/b knockdown was performed in NICD transgenic embryos. Both manipulations caused similar CS expansions, indicating that Notch functions upstream of the tbx2a/b genes to suppress CS ontogeny. Taken together, these data reveal for the first time that tbx2a/b mitigate pronephros segmentation downstream of RA, and that interplay between Notch signaling and tbx2a/b regulate CS formation, thus providing several novel insights into the genetic regulatory networks that influence these lineages.
Genes / Markers
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Mutations / Transgenics
Human Disease / Model
Sequence Targeting Reagents
Engineered Foreign Genes