Parker, L. and Stainier, D.Y. (1999) Cell-autonomous and non-autonomous requirements for the zebrafish gene cloche in hematopoiesis. Development (Cambridge, England). 126(12):2643-2651.
Vertebrate embryonic hematopoiesis is a complex process that involves a number of cellular interactions, notably those occurring between endothelial and blood cells. The zebrafish cloche mutation affects both the hematopoietic and endothelial lineages from an early stage (Stainier, D. Y. R., Weinstein, B. M., Detrich, H. W. R., Zon, L. I. and Fishman, M. C. (1995) Development 121, 3141-3150). cloche mutants lack endocardium, as well as head and trunk endothelium, and nearly all blood cells. Cell transplantation studies have revealed that the endocardial defect in cloche is cell-autonomous: wild-type cells can form endocardium in mutant hosts, but mutant cells never contribute to the endocardium in wild-type or mutant hosts. In this paper, we analyze the cell-autonomy of the blood defect in cloche. The blood cell deficiency in cloche mutants could be an indirect effect of the endothelial defects. Alternatively, cloche could be required cell-autonomously in the blood cells themselves. To distinguish between these possibilities, we cotransplanted wild-type and mutant cells into a single wild-type host in order to compare their respective hematopoietic capacity. We found that transplanted wild-type cells were much more likely than mutant cells to contribute to circulating blood in a wild-type host. Furthermore, in the few cases where both wild-type and mutant donors contributed to blood in a wild-type host, the number of blood cells derived from the wild-type donor was always much greater than the number of blood cells derived from the mutant donor. These data indicate that cloche is required cell-autonomously in blood cells for their differentiation and/or proliferation. When we assessed early expression of the erythropoietic gene gata-1 in transplant recipients, we found that mutant blastomeres were as likely as wild-type blastomeres to give rise to gata-1-expressing cells in a wild-type host. Together, these two sets of data argue that cloche is not required cell-autonomously for the differentiation of red blood cells, as assayed by gata-1 expression, but rather for their proliferation and/or survival, as assayed by their contribution to circulating blood. In addition, we found that transplanted wild-type cells were less likely to express gata-1 in a mutant environment than in a wild-type one, suggesting that cloche also acts non-autonomously in red blood cell differentiation. This non-autonomous function of cloche in red blood cell differentiation may reflect its cell-autonomous requirement in the endothelial lineage. Thus, cloche appears to be required in erythropoiesis cell non-autonomously at a step prior to gata-1 expression, and cell-autonomously subsequently.