MAPK signaling is necessary for neurogenesis in Nematostella vectensisReport as inadecuate

MAPK signaling is necessary for neurogenesis in Nematostella vectensis - Download this document for free, or read online. Document in PDF available to download.

BMC Biology

, 14:61

First Online: 01 August 2016Received: 20 March 2016Accepted: 04 July 2016DOI: 10.1186-s12915-016-0282-1

Cite this article as: Layden, M.J., Johnston, H., Amiel, A.R. et al. BMC Biol 2016 14: 61. doi:10.1186-s12915-016-0282-1


BackgroundThe nerve net of Nematostella is generated using a conserved cascade of neurogenic transcription factors. For example, NvashA, a homolog of the achaete-scute family of basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors, is necessary and sufficient to specify a subset of embryonic neurons. However, positive regulators required for the expression of neurogenic transcription factors remain poorly understood.

ResultsWe show that treatment with the MEK-MAPK inhibitor U0126 severely reduces the expression of known neurogenic genes, Nvath-like, NvsoxB2, and NvashA, and known markers of differentiated neurons, suggesting that MAPK signaling is necessary for neural development. Interestingly, ectopic NvashA fails to rescue the expression of neural markers in U0126-treated animals. Double fluorescence in situ hybridization and transgenic analysis confirmed that NvashA targets represent both unique and overlapping populations of neurons. Finally, we used a genome-wide microarray to identify additional patterning genes downstream of MAPK that might contribute to neurogenesis. We identified 18 likely neural transcription factors, and surprisingly identified ~40 signaling genes and transcription factors that are expressed in either the aboral domain or animal pole that gives rise to the endomesoderm at late blastula stages.

ConclusionsTogether, our data suggest that MAPK is a key early regulator of neurogenesis, and that it is likely required at multiple steps. Initially, MAPK promotes neurogenesis by positively regulating expression of NvsoxB2, Nvath-like, and NvashA. However, we also found that MAPK is necessary for the activity of the neurogenic transcription factor NvashA. Our forward molecular approach provided insight about the mechanisms of embryonic neurogenesis. For instance, NvashA suppression of Nvath-like suggests that inhibition of progenitor identity is an active process in newly born neurons, and we show that downstream targets of NvashA reflect multiple neural subtypes rather than a uniform neural fate. Lastly, analysis of the MAPK targets in the early embryo suggests that MAPK signaling is critical not only to neurogenesis, but also endomesoderm formation and aboral patterning.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s12915-016-0282-1 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Download fulltext PDF

Author: Michael J. Layden - Hereroa Johnston - Aldine R. Amiel - Jamie Havrilak - Bailey Steinworth - Taylor Chock - Eric Röttin


Related documents