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Asymmetric division coordinates collective cell migration in angiogenesis

Abstract

The asymmetric division of stem or progenitor cells generates daughters with distinct fates and regulates cell diversity during tissue morphogenesis. However, roles for asymmetric division in other more dynamic morphogenetic processes, such as cell migration, have not previously been described. Here we combine zebrafish in vivo experimental and computational approaches to reveal that heterogeneity introduced by asymmetric division generates multicellular polarity that drives coordinated collective cell migration in angiogenesis. We find that asymmetric positioning of the mitotic spindle during endothelial tip cell division generates daughters of distinct size with discrete ‘tip’ or ‘stalk’ thresholds of pro-migratory Vegfr signalling. Consequently, post-mitotic Vegfr asymmetry drives Dll4/Notch-independent self-organization of daughters into leading tip or trailing stalk cells, and disruption of asymmetry randomizes daughter tip/stalk selection. Thus, asymmetric division seamlessly integrates cell proliferation with collective migration, and, as such, may facilitate growth of other collectively migrating tissues during development, regeneration and cancer invasion.

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Figure 1: Endothelial cell division generates daughters with distinct behaviours.
Figure 2: Post-mitotic asymmetry is independent of Dll4-Notch signalling.
Figure 3: In silico and in vivo prediction of post-mitotic cell size asymmetry.
Figure 4: TC division generates daughter cell size asymmetry.
Figure 5: TC division asymmetrically partitions Vegfr activity.
Figure 6: Disruption of Vegfr asymmetry randomizes daughter tip/stalk positioning.

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Acknowledgements

We thank B. M. Hogan and N. D. Lawson for advice regarding the pErk staining protocol, and B. Plusa, M. Baron, K. Dorey, T. Millard and C. Thompson for critical reading of the manuscript. S.P.H. is a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellow (Ref: 095718/Z/11/Z) and is funded by the BBSRC (Ref. BB/N013174/1) and BHF (PG/16/2/31863). K.B. is funded by BIDMC and NSF (Ref. 1517390). K.I.H. is supported by institutional training grant T32 HL07893 from the NHLBI of the NIH. S.C. is funded by NSF (Ref. 1517390).

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S.P.H. designed the research and wrote the paper; S.P.H., G.C., H.E.L. and D.J.P. performed the experiments and analysed the data; K.B. and K.I.H. developed the theoretical model. S.C. performed statistical analysis of the data. All authors discussed the results and implications and commented on the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Shane P. Herbert.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Integrated supplementary information

Supplementary Figure 1 TC and SC behaviour during ISV sprouting.

(a) Predicted outcome of TC division and competitive Dll4-Notch-mediated re-selection of daughter tip/stalk identity. (b) Time-lapse images of sprouting ISVs from 22 h post-fertilisation (hpf) in Tg(kdrl:nlsEGFP)zf109 embryos. (c) Quantification of the dorsal movement of individual tracked nuclei (n = 7 ISVs, 2 embryos). (d) Quantification of the dorsal movement of tracked cells from Fig. 1e with error bars represented mean ± s.d. to show the intrinsic data variance (n = 136 ISVs, 34 embryos). (e) Percentage of ISVs that contain TCs and/or SCs that did or did not divide following live-cell imaging from 22 to 32.5 hpf. Non-dividing TCs and SCs are labelled 1 and 2 respectively. Daughters of TC and SC divisions are labelled 1.1/1.2 and 2.1/2.2, respectively. 76% of TCs (14% + 40% + 22%) and 27% of SCs (22% + 5%) divided during ISV sprouting. (f) Time-lapse images of TCs that divided before or after nuclei had reached the horizontal myoseptum (HM; red dashed line). Brackets indicate dividing TCs. nlsEGFP spreads throughout the cell body upon initiation of division at 0.3 h, then daughter nuclei are pulled to the dorsal and ventral poles by 0.6 h later. Consequently, all analysis of post-mitotic cell behaviour was recorded at least 0.6 h after initiation of division and completion of cytokinesis. Moreover, cells that divide past the HM frequently had already reached the DLAV position resulting in distal daughters being pulled to the dorsal pole/DLAV position during division. Hence, the post-mitotic behaviours of daughters from divisions occurring past the HM were disregarded. (g,h) Quantification of the dorsal movement of daughters from tip (g) or stalk (h) cell divisions from Fig. 1i with error bars represented as mean ± s.d. to show the intrinsic data variance (n = 43 ISVs, 1.1/1.2; n = 41 ISVs, 2.1/2.2, 34 embryos). Nuclei are pseudocoloured according to their initial position. Error bars: mean ± s.e.m. unless otherwise stated. P < 0.0001 cell 1.2 in g versus cell 1 in d. P < 0.0001 cell 2.2 in h versus cell 2 in d. two way ANOVA test. Scale bars, 25 μm.

Supplementary Figure 2 TC and SC behaviour upon disruption of Notch signalling.

(a) Quantification of the total number of cells per ISV at 32.5 hpf, number of mitotic TCs or SCs per ISV, position of TC or SC divisions and the time of TC or SC divisions in control or DBZ-treated Tg(kdrl:nlsEGFP)zf109 embryos following live-cell imaging from 22 to 32.5 hpf (n = 72 ISVs, 20 embryos, control; n = 97 ISVs, 24 embryos, DBZ). More endothelial cells sprout into ISVs and more SC divisions are observed upon inhibition of Notch. (b) Quantification of the dorsal movement of daughter endothelial cells following TC and SC division upon incubation of embryos with DBZ (n = 40 ISVs, 26 embryos). Dashed lines represent endothelial cells motilities from Fig. 1e. (c) Time-lapse images of daughter cells in Tg(kdrl:nlsEGFP)zf109 embryos following simultaneous division of both a tip and stalk cell and (d) quantification of the dorsal movement of daughter cells from tip and stalk cell divisions that occur within 4 h from each other (n = 11 ISVs, 9 embryos). The distal daughter of stalk cell divisions are more motile than the proximal daughters of tip cell divisions despite residing more proximal in the ISV sprout. Error bars: mean ± s.e.m. P < 0.05 DBZ versus control. Unpaired two-tailed Student’s t test. Scale bars, 25 μm.

Supplementary Figure 3 Computational modelling of endothelial cell migration.

(a) Endothelial cell migration was modelled using an extended MemAgent-Spring Model (MSM; see Methods and Supplementary Fig. 4a), which introduces enhanced Vegf-stimulated lamellar extension. This model was calibrated to first match experimental observations of ISV growth in the absence of cell division in control and dll4 knockdown embryos (from Fig. 1e and Fig. 2b). Vegf gradient slope, concentration and biomechanical migration parameters were co-varied to find combinations that matched migration in vivo (Red boxes in a). (b,c) Quantitative simulation of migrating endothelial cells in the absence of division in either control (b) or dll4 knockdown (c) conditions using the optimized parameters from a (n = 10). Environmental Vegf gradient increases dorsally (green). In control simulations and upon dll4 knockdown, in silico migration dynamics closely match those observed in vivo. Error bars: mean ± s.e.m.

Supplementary Figure 4 Computational modelling of cell division.

(a) Schematic of the MSM internal signalling. The total number of activated Notch receptors is added to the top of a queue and moves through one place each time step (t) to simulate the time it takes to affect gene regulation and protein synthesis. Queue height = time delay D1 = ∑ trafficking (DT), transcription (DN) and synthesis times (DS). Notch activity after D1 reduces Vegfr expression. (b) Initialisation configuration of the MSM for TC division simulations. After an initial warm-up period to establish tip and stalk identities prior to division (initialisation step), MSM queues were partitioned between two daughter cells from a tip cell division by overwriting cell states (division step) prior to a period of growth to monitor post-mitotic cell motilities (migration step). Environmental VEGF gradient increases dorsally (green). (ch; n = 10) Quantification of post-mitotic cell motility following simulation of TC divisions in either control (c,e,g) or dll4 knockdown (d,f,h) conditions upon asymmetric partitioning of either cell membrane surface area (c,d; extreme 3:1 distal/proximal ratio), Vegfr protein (e,f; extreme 100:1 distal/proximal ratio) or vegfr mRNA (g,h; double the production of Vegfr protein in distal versus proximal cells). (c,d) Extreme asymmetry of cell surface area alone was insufficient to replicate in vivo data. (e,f) Moreover, even upon extreme Vegfr protein asymmetry, the duration of the asymmetric migration of daughter cells does not recapitulate biological observations due to rapid recovery of the protein pool by symmetrically partitioned vegfr mRNA. (g,h) In contrast, more prolonged asymmetry was observed upon differential Vegfr protein synthesis due to vegfr mRNA asymmetry, generating post-mitotic behaviours that predominantly matched control and dll4 knockdown conditions. Error bars: mean ± s.e.m.

Supplementary Figure 5 TC divisions are asymmetric during ISV and MsV branching.

(a) Time-lapse images of rEos fluorescence in a dividing photo-converted ISV tip cell and quantification of rEos levels in single confocal slices through the centre of dividing cells at the indicated time points (n = 6 dividing cells). Arrowheads in a indicate the position of the cleavage furrow formed during cytokinesis. (b) Bright field and fluorescence images of the heads of 48 hpf Tg(kdrl:GFP)s843 embryos indicating the positions of the MsV and MCeV. (c) Time-lapse images of a branching MsV from 24 hpf. (d,e) Time-lapse images of gEos fluorescence and rEos heat maps in a dividing photo-converted MsV TC (d) and quantification of rEos levels inherited by each TC daughter, as well as the total rEos fluorescence present before (cell 1) and after (cells 1.1 + 1.2) TC division (e, n = 5 dividing TCs from 5 embryos). Bracket indicates dividing cell. Error bars: mean ± s.e.m. P < 0.001 1.1 versus 1.2. Unpaired two-tailed Student’s t test. Scale bars, 25 μm.

Supplementary Figure 6 Asymmetric division is not driven by differential partitioning of filopodia.

(a) Time-lapse images of a dividing Lyn-mCherry-expressing TC and quantification of total filopodia both before (cell 1) and directly after (cell 1.1 and cell 1.2) TC division (n = 8 dividing TCs from 6 embryos). In all images, brackets and arrowheads indicate mitotic TCs and the de novo interface between daughter cells, respectively. Distal daughters of TC division inherit significantly more filopodial protrusions. (b) Correlation of the total number of filopodia possessed by individual TC daughters with their rate of post-mitotic motility (P < 0.01. Pearson’s correlation. R2 = 0.63. n = 12 cells from 5 embryos). (c) Lyn-mCherry-expressing TCs in control or latrunculin B (lat. B)-treated Tg(kdrl:nlsEGFP)zf109 embryos at 24 hpf, and quantification of total TC filopodia (n = 8 TCs, 8 embryos, control; 7 TCs, 7 embryos, lat. B). (d and e) Time-lapse images of non-dividing (d) or dividing (e) individual Lyn-mCherry expressing TCs in lat. B-treated embryos from 22 hpf. Bracket in e indicates a mitotic TC. (f) Quantification of dorsal movement of the cell nuclei and top, bottom and centre of the migrating TC in panel d. (g) Quantification of the averaged motility of tracked endothelial cell nuclei both in the absence of division (cells 1 and 2 from 22 hpf; n = 63 cells for 1 and n = 46 cells for 2, from 9 embryos) and after TC division (cells 1.1 and 1.2; n = 28 cells from 9 embryos). In the absence of filopodia, TC divisions still generate asymmetric daughters. (h) A dividing Lyn-mCherry-expressing TC in a lat. B-treated embryo and quantification of cell size both before (cell 1) and directly after (cell 1.1 and cell 1.2) TC division (n = 7 dividing TCs from 7 embryos). (i) Quantification of the dorsal movement of TC daughters of the indicated sizes in lat.B-treated embryos (n = 10 cells from 5 embryos). (j) Correlation of the size of individual TC daughters with their rate of post-mitotic motility in lat. B-treated embryos (P < 0.01. Pearson’s correlation. R2 = 0.70. n = 10 cells from 5 embryos). In the absence of filopodia, TC daughter motility is still dependent on cell size. (k) egfp (green) or kdrl (red) mRNA localisation in ISVs of Tg(kdrl:nlsEGFP)zf109 embryos at 24 hpf. Arrows indicate distal accumulation of kdrl mRNA relative to egfp. (l) Time-lapse images of an nlsEGFP-expressing sprouting ISV and localisation of egfp (green) and/or kdrl (red) mRNA. Arrows indicate distal accumulation of kdrl mRNA at the leading edge of migrating endothelial cells. (m) Quantification of the distal enrichment of kdrl mRNA in sprouting ISVs. The ratio of kdrl versus egfp mRNA was calculated every 5 μm from the distal-most side of ISVs (n = 69 ISVs, 13 embryos). (np) egfp (green) and either cdh5 (n), flt4 (o) or flt1 (p, red) mRNA localisation in ISVs of Tg(kdrl:nlsEGFP)zf109embryos at 24 hpf. Note no noticeable distal accumulation of mRNA. Error bars: mean ± s.e.m. P < 0.01 1.1 versus 1.2. P < 0.001 versus control. P < 0.05 versus egfp. Unpaired two-tailed Student’s t test. Scale bars, 25 μm.

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Supplementary Table 1

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Time-lapse confocal movie of non-dividing endothelial cells in a branching ISV of a Tg(kdrl:nlsEGFP)zf109 embryo (from Supplementary Fig. 1b).

Embryos were imaged from 22 hpf for 9.6 h (0.3 h per frame). The leading TC is more motile than adjacent trailing SCs. (AVI 188 kb)

Time-lapse confocal movie of an individual Lyn-mCherry expressing TC in a sprouting ISVs of a Tg(kdrl:nlsEGFP)zf109embryo (from Fig. 1a).

Embryos were imaged from 22 hpf for 4.5 h (0.3 h per frame). The TC is highly motile and migrates rapidly. (AVI 1321 kb)

Time-lapse confocal movie of an individual Lyn-mCherry expressing SC in a sprouting ISVs of a Tg(kdrl:nlsEGFP)zf109 embryo (from Fig. 1b).

Embryos were imaged from 22 hpf for 7.2 h (0.3 h per frame). The SC does not rapidly migrate and undergoes cell elongation. (AVI 2112 kb)

Time-lapse confocal movie of a dividing TC in a branching ISV of a Tg(kdrl:nlsEGFP)zf109 embryo (from Fig. 1g).

Embryos were imaged from 22 hpf for 7.2 h (0.08 h per frame). The distal daughter of TC division (cell 1.1) is more motile than the proximal daughter (cell 1.2). (AVI 343 kb)

Time-lapse confocal movie of a dividing SC in a branching ISV of a Tg(kdrl:nlsEGFP)zf109 embryo (from Fig. 1h).

Embryos were imaged from 22 hpf for 7.2 h (0.08 h per frame). The distal daughter of SC division (cell 2.1) is slightly more motile than the proximal daughter (cell 2.2). (AVI 504 kb)

Time-lapse confocal movie of non-dividing endothelial cells in a branching ISV of a dll4 knockdown Tg(kdrl:nlsEGFP)zf109 embryo (from Fig. 2a).

Embryos were imaged from 22 hpf for 10.2 h (0.3 h per frame). In the absence of dll4, all cells display TC-like motilities and accumulate in DLAV position. (AVI 196 kb)

Time-lapse confocal movie of a dividing TC in a branching ISV of a dll4 knockdown Tg(kdrl:nlsEGFP)zf109 embryo (from Fig. 2d).

Embryos were imaged from 22 hpf for 10.2 h (0.3 h per frame). In the absence of dll4, the distal daughter of TC division (cell 1.1) is still more motile than the proximal daughter (cell 1.2) and a more motile adjacent SC (cell 2) overtakes the slower proximal daughter. (AVI 242 kb)

Time-lapse confocal movie of a dividing SC in a branching ISV of a dll4 knockdown Tg(kdrl:nlsEGFP)zf109 embryo (from Fig. 2e).

Embryos were imaged from 22 hpf for 10.2 h (0.3 h per frame). In the absence of dll4, the distal daughter of SC division (cell 2.1) is still more motile than the proximal daughter (cell 2.2) and is sufficiently hyper-motile to overtake an adjacent TC (cell 1). (AVI 281 kb)

Movies of MSM simulations of daughter cell behaviour following symmetric tip cell division.

Tip cell daughter migration is disrupted by mutual repression of motile behaviour. (MOV 7597 kb)

Movies of MSM simulations of daughter cell behaviour following asymmetric tip cell division.

The distal daughter of tip cell division is highly motile relative to the proximal daughter. (MOV 9165 kb)

Time-lapse confocal movie of an individual dividing TC expressing GFP-α-tubulin and Lyn-mCherry in a Tg(kdrl:ras-mCherry)s896 embryo (from Fig. 4f).

Embryos were imaged from approximately 22 hpf for 25 min (55 s per frame). After initially assuming a central position, the entire mitotic spindle is shifted to the proximal pole during metaphase. (AVI 677 kb)

Time-lapse confocal movie of a dividing TC in a branching ISV of a 0.3 μM SU5416-treated Tg(kdrl:nlsEGFP)zf109 embryo (from Fig. 6c).

Embryos were imaged from 22 hpf for 8.7 h (0.3 h per frame). In the presence of 0.3 μM SU5416, both daughters of TC division display similar SC-like motilities. (AVI 159 kb)

Time-lapse confocal movie of a dividing TC in a branching ISV of a Tg(kdrl:nlsEGFP)zf109 embryo (from Fig. 6g).

Embryos were imaged from 22 hpf for 8.7 h (0.3 h per frame). The proximal daughter of TC division (cell 1.2) atypically overtakes the distal daughter (cell 1.1) and assumes the TC position. (AVI 162 kb)

Time-lapse confocal movie of a dividing TC in a branching ISV of a Tg(kdrl:nlsEGFP)zf109 embryo (from Fig. 6h).

Embryos were imaged from 22 hpf for 8.7 h (0.3 h per frame). The proximal daughter of TC division (cell 1.2) is overtaken by the adjacent SC (cell 2). (AVI 165 kb)

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Costa, G., Harrington, K., Lovegrove, H. et al. Asymmetric division coordinates collective cell migration in angiogenesis. Nat Cell Biol 18, 1292–1301 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/ncb3443

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