Developmental biology

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Ribonucleoprotein (RNP) granules are responsible for mRNA transport and local translation required for neuronal and oocyte maturation. Here the authors show that loss of the Drosophila Ub ligase Hecw enlarges RNP granules, leads to a liquid to gel-like transition, and results in defective oogenesis and neuronal loss.

    • Valentina Fajner
    • , Fabio Giavazzi
    •  & Simona Polo
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The authors show that post-transcriptional regulation of the cilia-driven leftward flow target dand5 is central to symmetry breakage in frog, fish and mouse and is mediated by a 139 nt Bicc1 responsive element in the dand5 3′UTR, and they present evidence that Pkd2 regulates this Bicc1/dand5 module.

    • Markus Maerker
    • , Maike Getwan
    •  & Axel Schweickert
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Natural Killer cell development is controlled by two related transcription factors, Eomes and T-bet. Authors show here that while the two factors share a large proportion of their target genes, they regulate distinct developmental processes by differing in their pattern of expression and in their associated co-factors.

    • Jiang Zhang
    • , Stéphanie Le Gras
    •  & Thierry Walzer
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Inability to image large numbers of growth plate chondrocytes while retaining their spatial context during analysis has hindered the study of bone development. Here, the authors present a pipeline called 3D MAPs and use it to uncover morphogenic behaviors and growth strategies in normal bones as well as  aberrations in Gdf5 KO bones.

    • Sarah Rubin
    • , Ankit Agrawal
    •  & Elazar Zelzer
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Some autosomal genes are expressed in a random monoallelic manner, but its extent and mechanisms have remained unclear. Here the authors show robust monoallelic expression in cell lines and mice, where the silent allele can be reexpressed using epidrugs. Further, they find these genes display various modalities of allelic expression with different degrees of allelic imbalance.

    • Lucile Marion-Poll
    • , Benjamin Forêt
    •  & Edith Heard
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Intricate color patterns are a defining aspect of morphological diversity in the Felidae. Here the authors apply morphological and single-cell gene expression analysis to fetal skin of domestic cats to identify when, where, and how, during fetal development, felid color patterns are established.

    • Christopher B. Kaelin
    • , Kelly A. McGowan
    •  & Gregory S. Barsh
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Trypanosoma brucei undergoes developmental steps during host infection. Here, using oligopeptide-induced differentiation in vitro, authors model replicative ‘slender’ to transmissible ‘stumpy’ bloodstream forms and identify developmental and cell cycle regulators by single cell transcriptomics.

    • Emma M. Briggs
    • , Federico Rojas
    •  & Thomas D. Otto
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Human and murine embryonic development has disparities, highlighting the need for primate systems. Here, the authors construct a post-implantation transcriptional atlas from non-human primate embryos and show ISL1 controls a gene regulatory network in the amnion required for mesoderm formation.

    • Ran Yang
    • , Alexander Goedel
    •  & Kenneth R. Chien
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Cells in the developing embryo interpret WNT signalling with context-dependence, but the mechanism decoding these cues is unclear. Here, the authors show that combinatorial TALE/HOX activity destabilizes nucleosomes at WNT-responsive regions to activate paraxial mesodermal genes.

    • Luca Mariani
    • , Xiaogang Guo
    •  & Elisabetta Ferretti
  • Article
    | Open Access

    There is a pressing need to develop representative organ-like platforms recapitulating complex in vivo phenotypes to study human development and disease in vitro. Here the authors present a method to generate human heart organoids by self-assembly using pluripotent stem cells, compare these to age-matched fetal cardiac tissues and recreate a model of pregestational diabetes.

    • Yonatan R. Lewis-Israeli
    • , Aaron H. Wasserman
    •  & Aitor Aguirre
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Previous approaches to derive embryoids either lack physiological morphology and signaling interactions, or are unconducive to model post-gastrulation development. Here the authors use a high-throughput approach to induce mouse embryonic stem cells into epiblast-like aggregates, which are then co-cultured with mouse trophoblast stem cell aggregates, to yield embryoids with axial morphogenesis and anterior development.

    • Mehmet U. Girgin
    • , Nicolas Broguiere
    •  & Matthias P. Lutolf
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Alternative polyadenylation regulates localization, half-life and translation of mRNA isoforms. Here the authors investigate alternative polyadenylation using single cell RNA sequencing data from mouse embryos and identify 3’-UTR isoforms that are regulated across cell types and developmental time.

    • Vikram Agarwal
    • , Sereno Lopez-Darwin
    •  & Jay Shendure
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The membrane lipids change with ageing and function as regulatory molecules, but the underlying mechanisms are incompletely understood. Here, the authors identify C22 glucosylceramide as a regulator of the longevity transcription factor SKN-1, and show that C22 glucosylceramide regulates lifespan by controlling lysosome homeostasis and subsequent TOR activation.

    • Feng Wang
    • , Yuxi Dai
    •  & Shanshan Pang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The mechanisms by which in vivo expression of the Yamanaka transcription factors (OSKM) renders somatic cells permissive for differentiation remain unclear. Here, the authors show that in vivo reprogramming using OSKM generates germ cell tumors and drives acquisition of totipotency-like features in somatic cells through DMRT1.

    • Jumpei Taguchi
    • , Hirofumi Shibata
    •  & Yasuhiro Yamada
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Proper meiotic chromosome segregation requires mismatch repair genes MLH1 and MLH3, of which variants occur in the human population. Here, the authors use computational predictions and yeast assays to select human MLH1/3 variants for modelling in mice, observing reproductive defects from abnormal levels of crossing over.

    • Priti Singh
    • , Robert Fragoza
    •  & John C. Schimenti
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Tendon self-renewal occurs rarely and reconstructive surgery comes with significant limitations. Here the authors present an induced pluripotent stem cell-based method to generate tenocytes, analyze their developmental trajectory using scRNA-seq, and demonstrate their contribution to motor function recovery after Achilles tendon injury via engraftment and paracrine effects.

    • Taiki Nakajima
    • , Akihiro Nakahata
    •  & Makoto Ikeya
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Mesomelic dysplasia, a severe shortening and bending of the limb, has been linked to rearrangements in the HoxD cluster in humans and mice. Here the authors engineer a 1 Mb inversion including the HoxD gene cluster and use this model to provide a mechanistic framework to understand and unify the molecular origins of human mesomelic dysplasia associated with 2q31.

    • Christopher Chase Bolt
    • , Lucille Lopez-Delisle
    •  & Denis Duboule
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The authors form pre-epicardial cells (PECs) from hiPSC-derived lateral plate mesoderm on treating with BMP4, RA and VEGF, and co-culture these PECs with cardiomyocytes, inducing cardiomyocyte aggregation, proliferation and network formation with more mature structures and improved beating/contractility.

    • Jun Jie Tan
    • , Jacques P. Guyette
    •  & Harald C. Ott
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Genetic mechanisms underlying fetal hemoglobin (HbF) regulation and switching are not fully understood. Here, the authors develop a single-cell genome editing functional assay to model how effects of mutation-harbouring functional elements contribute to HbF expression.

    • Yong Shen
    • , Jeffrey M. Verboon
    •  & Vijay G. Sankaran
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Lineage tracing and snapshots of transcriptional state at the single-cell level are powerful, complementary tools for studying development. Here, the authors propose a mathematical method combining lineage tracing with trajectory inference to improve our understanding of development.

    • Aden Forrow
    •  & Geoffrey Schiebinger
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The sperm head-to-tail coupling apparatus ensures sperm head-tail integrity, but mechanistic insights remain limited. Here the authors demonstrate that CENTLEIN links and controls the interaction between SUN5 and PMFBP1, indicating that its impairments might be associated with acephalic spermatozoa syndrome.

    • Ying Zhang
    • , Chao Liu
    •  & Li Yuan
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The phenotypic consequence of 3D genome boundary disruption on developmental processes remains insufficiently understood. Here, the authors show that perturbation of a SOX17 boundary in human pluripotent stem cells interferes with proper differentiation and that germline variations affecting such boundaries are subject to selection, resulting in underrepresentation in the human population.

    • Hua-Jun Wu
    • , Alexandro Landshammer
    •  & Franziska Michor
  • Article
    | Open Access

    UNC5B is a Netrin-1 receptor expressed in endothelial cells that in the absence of ligand induces apoptosis. Here the authors identify an UNC5B splicing isoform that is insensitive to the pro-survival ligand Netrin-1 and is required for apoptosis-dependent blood vessel development.

    • Davide Pradella
    • , Gianluca Deflorian
    •  & Claudia Ghigna
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Embryos at the 2-cell (2C) stage are totipotent, and overexpression of Dux transcription factor convert embryonic stem cells (ESCs) to a 2C-like state. Here the authors show that DUX-mediated 2C-like reprogramming is associated with DNA damage at CTCF sites and CTCF depletion promotes 2Clike conversion.

    • Teresa Olbrich
    • , Maria Vega-Sendino
    •  & Sergio Ruiz
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The development of the coronal suture remains incompletely understood. Here the authors perform scRNA-seq and expression validation to uncover the cellular diversity within the murine embryonic coronal suture, thus revealing possible mechanisms for its loss in craniosynostosis.

    • D’Juan T. Farmer
    • , Hana Mlcochova
    •  & Stephen R. F. Twigg
  • Article
    | Open Access

    During each replication cycle of P. falciparum in the human bloodstream, a small proportion of parasites commits to sexual development and differentiates into transmission-relevant gametocytes. Applying CRISPR-based genome editing, Boltryk et al. engineer P. falciparum lines with sexual commitment rates of 75% to promote future studies on gametocyte biology.

    • Sylwia D. Boltryk
    • , Armin Passecker
    •  & Till S. Voss
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Organoids have improved disease modeling. Here, the authors generate human sensorimotor organoids derived from hiPSCs of individuals with ALS. These organoids contain skeletal muscle, sensory and motor neurons as well as astrocytes, microglia, and vasculature and form neuromuscular junctions.

    • João D. Pereira
    • , Daniel M. DuBreuil
    •  & Brian J. Wainger
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Brain organoids derived from human pluripotent stem cells can model human brain development and disease, though current culture systems fail to ensure reliable production of high-quality organoids. Here the authors combine human brain extracellular matrix and culture in a microfluidic device to promote structural and functional maturation of human brain organoids.

    • Ann-Na Cho
    • , Yoonhee Jin
    •  & Seung-Woo Cho
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Cranial sutures are major growth centers for the skull vault and premature fusion leads to pathological fusion, craniosynostosis. Here the authors isolate Wnt responsive skeletal stem and progenitor cells from sutures, that can be transplanted together with Wnt3a protein to repair craniosynostosis in a mouse model.

    • Siddharth Menon
    • , Ankit Salhotra
    •  & Natalina Quarto
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Hedgehog signaling is essential for bone formation. Here, the authors show that the transmembrane protein SLITRK5 is a negative regulator of hedgehog signaling in osteoblasts, suggesting it may be a potential therapeutic target to enhance bone formation.

    • Jun Sun
    • , Dong Yeon Shin
    •  & Matthew B. Greenblatt
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are metabolic by-products which in excess can be toxic for hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs). Here the authors show that toxic ROS are transferred by expanding HSPCs to the zebrafish developmental niche via connexin Cx41.8, where Ifi30 promotes their detoxification.

    • Pietro Cacialli
    • , Christopher B. Mahony
    •  & Julien Y. Bertrand
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Here the authors decode how core promoter elements regulate rate limiting steps of transcription using quantitative live imaging, genetics and modeling in early Drosophila embryos. TATA-driven promoters require one rate-limiting step while INR promoters need an extra step associated with Pol II pausing.

    • Virginia L. Pimmett
    • , Matthieu Dejean
    •  & Mounia Lagha
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Cells in many tissues fuse into syncytia acquiring new functions. By investigating whether physical remodelling promotes differentiation, here, the authors show that plasma membrane diminution post-fusion causes transient nutrient stress that inhibits YAP1 activity and may reduce proliferation-promoting transcription.

    • Daniel Feliciano
    • , Carolyn M. Ott
    •  & Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Globin loci harbor genes that are expressed embryonically and silenced postnatally. Here the authors show that zeta-globin silencing depends upon selective hypoacetylation of its TAD subdomain, which blocks its interaction with the alpha-globin super-enhancer, and zeta-globin can be reactivated by acetylation.

    • Andrew J. King
    • , Duantida Songdej
    •  & Christian Babbs
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Different types of mesenchymal progenitors participate in ectopic bone formation. Here, the authors show Col2+ lineage cells adopt a lymphatic endothelium cell fate, which regulates local inflammatory microenvironment after trauma, thus influencing heterotopic ossification (HO) development via a FGFR3-BMPR1a pathway.

    • Dali Zhang
    • , Junlan Huang
    •  & Yangli Xie
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Astrocytes have functions crucial for brain homeostasis, which are disrupted in many neurological disorders, but how these functions are established during astrocyte maturation is largely unknown. Here the authors show transcriptional and chromatin changes underlying astrocyte maturation in mice and identify transcription factors regulating maturation of cultured astrocytes.

    • Michael Lattke
    • , Robert Goldstone
    •  & Francois Guillemot
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The transcriptional regulators underlying the induction and differentiation of dense connective tissues remain largely unknown. Here the authors generate tendon and fibrocartilage cells from mouse embryonic stem cells and apply scRNA-seq to identify molecular regulation of the cell fate switch between these lineages.

    • Deepak A. Kaji
    • , Angela M. Montero
    •  & Alice H. Huang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    It remains unclear how spatial information controls endothelial cell identity and behavior in the developing heart. Here the authors perform single cell RNA sequencing at key developmental timepoints in mice to interrogate cellular contributions to coronary vessel patterning and maturation in the epicardium.

    • Pearl Quijada
    • , Michael A. Trembley
    •  & Eric M. Small
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Few studies have provided functional analysis of the epigenetic landscape in the regenerating liver. Here the authors define chromatin states in the quiescent vs. regenerating mouse liver through integration of genome wide profiles of DNA methylation, histone modifications, and chromatin accessibility, identifying H3K27me3 as an epigenetic mark conferring regenerative potential.

    • Chi Zhang
    • , Filippo Macchi
    •  & Kirsten C. Sadler
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Schinzel-Giedion syndrome (SGS) is a fatal developmental syndrome characterized by severe intellectual and physical deficits due, at least in part, to early neurodegeneration. Here the authors introduce a human SGS model that displays disease-relevant phenotypes to demonstrate that neuronal death in SGS originates from developmental alterations mainly in safeguarding cell identity and homeostasis.

    • Federica Banfi
    • , Alicia Rubio
    •  & Alessandro Sessa
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The authors show in Nematostella that the more orally expressed β-catenin targets repress the more aborally expressed β-catenin targets, thus patterning the oral-aboral axis. This likely represents the common mechanism of β-catenin-dependent axial patterning shared by Cnidaria and Bilateria.

    • Tatiana Lebedeva
    • , Andrew J. Aman
    •  & Grigory Genikhovich
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The gene regulatory network controlling the bifurcation of common progenitors into the neural retina and retinal-pigmented epithelium programs remains poorly understood. Here the authors study transcriptome dynamics and chromatin accessibility during this process in zebrafish, revealing network redundancy, as well as context-dependent and sequential transcription factor activity.

    • Lorena Buono
    • , Jorge Corbacho
    •  & Juan-Ramón Martínez-Morales
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Whether the adult testis harbours a somatic progenitor population is unknown. Here, the authors provide evidence that the testis interstitial cells expressing the transcription factor Tcf21 maintain adult testis homeostasis during aging, and act as potential reserve somatic progenitors following injury.

    • Yu-chi Shen
    • , Adrienne Niederriter Shami
    •  & Saher Sue Hammoud
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Classically, myogenic precursor cells derive from somites, and connective tissues derive from lateral plate mesoderm (LPM). Here the authors identify LPM derived fibroblasts that turn on a myogenic program and fuse to muscle fibers at muscle-tendon junctions, introducing fibroblast transcripts into myofibers.

    • Wesal Yaseen
    • , Ortal Kraft-Sheleg
    •  & Peleg Hasson