J. Dev. Biol.2016, 4(2), 21; doi:10.3390/jdb4020021 - published 22 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) signalling is essential for wound healing, including both non-specific scar formation and tissue-specific regeneration. Specific TGFβ isoforms and downstream mediators of canonical and non-canonical signalling play different roles in each of these processes. Here we review the role of TGFβ signalling during tissue repair, with a particular focus on the prototypic isoforms TGFβ1, TGFβ2, and TGFβ3. We begin by introducing TGFβ signalling and then discuss the role of these growth factors and their key downstream signalling mediators in determining the balance between scar formation and tissue regeneration. Next we discuss examples of the pleiotropic roles of TGFβ ligands during cutaneous wound healing and blastema-mediated regeneration, and how inhibition of the canonical signalling pathway (using small molecule inhibitors) blocks regeneration. Finally, we review various TGFβ-targeting therapeutic strategies that hold promise for enhancing tissue repair.
J. Dev. Biol.2016, 4(2), 20; doi:10.3390/jdb4020020 - published 3 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Hedgehog (Hh) signaling plays crucial roles in the patterning and morphogenesis of various organs within the bodies of vertebrates and insects. Endochondral ossification is one of the notable developmental events in which Hh signaling acts as a master regulator. Among three Hh proteins in mammals, Indian hedgehog (Ihh) is known to work as a major Hh input that induces biological impact of Hh signaling on the endochondral ossification. Ihh is expressed in prehypertrophic and hypertrophic chondrocytes of developing endochondral bones. Genetic studies so far have demonstrated that the Ihh-mediated activation of Hh signaling synchronizes chondrogenesis and osteogenesis during endochondral ossification by regulating the following processes: (1) chondrocyte differentiation; (2) chondrocyte proliferation; and (3) specification of bone-forming osteoblasts. Ihh not only forms a negative feedback loop with parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) to maintain the growth plate length, but also directly promotes chondrocyte propagation. Ihh input is required for the specification of progenitors into osteoblast precursors. The combinatorial approaches of genome-wide analyses and mouse genetics will facilitate understanding of the regulatory mechanisms underlying the roles of Hh signaling in endochondral ossification, providing genome-level evidence of the potential of Hh signaling for the treatment of skeletal disorders.
J. Dev. Biol.2016, 4(2), 19; doi:10.3390/jdb4020019 - published 25 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The silk gland of the silkworm Bombyx mori is a long tubular organ that is divided into several subparts along its anteroposterior (AP) axis. As a trait of terminal differentiation of the silk gland, several silk protein genes are expressed with unique regional specificities. Most of the Hox and some of the homeobox genes are also expressed in the differentiated silk gland with regional specificities. The expression patterns of Hox genes in the silk gland roughly correspond to those in embryogenesis showing “colinearity”. The central Hox class protein Antennapedia (Antp) directly regulates the expression of several middle silk gland–specific silk genes, whereas the Lin-1/Isl-1/Mec3 (LIM)-homeodomain transcriptional factor Arrowhead (Awh) regulates the expression of posterior silk gland–specific genes for silk fiber proteins. We summarize our results and discuss the usefulness of the silk gland of Bombyx mori for analyzing the function of Hox genes. Further analyses of the regulatory mechanisms underlying the region-specific expression of silk genes will provide novel insights into the molecular bases for target-gene selection and regulation by Hox and homeodomain proteins.
J. Dev. Biol.2016, 4(2), 17; doi:10.3390/jdb4020017 - published 19 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: At a cellular level, nutrients are sensed by the mechanistic Target of Rapamycin (mTOR). The response of cells to hypoxia is regulated via action of the oxygen sensor Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1 (HIF-1). During development, injury and disease, tissues might face conditions of both low nutrient supply and low oxygen, yet it is not clear how cells adapt to both nutrient restriction and hypoxia, or how mTOR and HIF-1 interact in such conditions. Here we explore this question in vivo with respect to cell proliferation using the ciliary marginal zone (CMZ) of Xenopus. We found that both nutrient-deprivation and hypoxia cause retinal progenitors to decrease their proliferation, yet when nutrient-deprived progenitors are exposed to hypoxia there is an unexpected rise in cell proliferation. This increase, mediated by HIF-1 signalling, is dependent on glutaminolysis and reactivation of the mTOR pathway. We discuss how these findings in non-transformed tissue may also shed light on the ability of cancer cells in poorly vascularised solid tumours to proliferate.
J. Dev. Biol.2016, 4(2), 18; doi:10.3390/jdb4020018 - published 19 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In gnathostomes, limb buds arise from the lateral plate mesoderm at discrete positions along the body axis. Specification of these limb-forming fields can be subdivided into several steps. The lateral plate mesoderm is regionalized into the anterior lateral plate mesoderm (ALPM; cardiac mesoderm) and the posterior lateral plate mesoderm (PLPM). Subsequently, Hox genes appear in a nested fashion in the PLPM and provide positional information along the body axis. The lateral plate mesoderm then splits into the somatic and splanchnic layers. In the somatic layer of the PLPM, the expression of limb initiation genes appears in the limb-forming region, leading to limb bud initiation. Furthermore, past and current work in limbless amphioxus and lampreys suggests that evolutionary changes in developmental programs occurred during the acquisition of paired fins during vertebrate evolution. This review presents these recent advances and discusses the mechanisms of limb field specification during development and evolution, with a focus on the role of Hox genes in this process.
J. Dev. Biol.2016, 4(2), 16; doi:10.3390/jdb4020016 - published 9 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Metazoans encode clusters of paralogous Hox genes that are critical for proper development of the body plan. However, there are a number of unresolved issues regarding how paralogous Hox factors achieve specificity to control distinct cell fates. First, how do Hox paralogs, which have very similar DNA binding preferences in vitro, drive different transcriptional programs in vivo? Second, the number of potential Hox binding sites within the genome is vast compared to the number of sites bound. Hence, what determines where in the genome Hox factors bind? Third, what determines whether a Hox factor will activate or repress a specific target gene? Here, we review the current evidence that is beginning to shed light onto these questions. In particular, we highlight how cooperative interactions with other transcription factors (especially PBC and HMP proteins) and the sequences of cis-regulatory modules provide a basis for the mechanisms of Hox specificity. We conclude by integrating a number of the concepts described throughout the review in a case study of a highly interrogated Drosophila cis-regulatory module named “The Distal-less Conserved Regulatory Element” (DCRE).