150 research outputs found

    An end-to-end pipeline based on open source deep learning tools for reliable analysis of complex 3D images of ovaries

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    International audienceComputational analysis of bio-images by deep learning (DL) algorithms has made exceptional progress in recent years and has become much more accessible to non-specialists with the development of ready-to-use tools. Study of oogenesis mechanisms and female reproductive success has also recently benefited from the development of efficient protocols for three-dimensional (3D) imaging of ovaries. Such datasets have a great potential for generating new quantitative data but are, however, complex to analyze due to the lack of efficient workflows for 3D image analysis. Here, we integrated two existing open-source DL tools, Noise2Void and Cellpose, into an analysis pipeline dedicated to 3D follicular content analysis and available on Fiji. Our pipeline was developed on larvae and adult medaka ovaries but was also successfully applied to different types of ovaries (trout, zebrafish and mouse). Image enhancement, Cellpose segmentation and label post-processing enabled automatic and accurate quantification of these 3D images exhibiting irregular fluorescent staining, low autofluorescence signal or heterogeneous follicles sizes. In the future, this pipeline will be useful for extensive cellular phenotyping in fish or mammals for developmental or toxicology studies

    The rates of adult neurogenesis and oligodendrogenesis are linked to cell cycle regulation through p27-dependent gene repression of SOX2

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    Cell differentiation involves profound changes in global gene expression that often has to occur in coordination with cell cycle exit. Because cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27 reportedly regulates proliferation of neural progenitor cells in the subependymal neurogenic niche of the adult mouse brain, but can also have effects on gene expression, we decided to molecularly analyze its role in adult neurogenesis and oligodendrogenesis. At the cell level, we show that p27 restricts residual cyclin-dependent kinase activity after mitogen withdrawal to antagonize cycling, but it is not essential for cell cycle exit. By integrating genome-wide gene expression and chromatin accessibility data, we find that p27 is coincidentally necessary to repress many genes involved in the transit from multipotentiality to differentiation, including those coding for neural progenitor transcription factors SOX2, OLIG2 and ASCL1. Our data reveal both a direct association of p27 with regulatory sequences in the three genes and an additional hierarchical relationship where p27 repression of Sox2 leads to reduced levels of its downstream targets Olig2 and Ascl1. In vivo, p27 is also required for the regulation of the proper level of SOX2 necessary for neuroblasts and oligodendroglial progenitor cells to timely exit cell cycle in a lineage-dependent manne

    In vitro cellular reprogramming to model gonad development and its disorders

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    International audienceDuring embryonic development, mutually antagonistic signaling cascades determine gonadal fate toward a testicular or ovarian identity. Errors in this process result in disorders of sex development (DSDs), characterized by discordance between chromosomal, gonadal, and anatomical sex. The absence of an appropriate, accessible in vitro system is a major obstacle in understanding mechanisms of sex-determination/DSDs. Here, we describe protocols for differentiation of mouse and human pluripotent cells toward gonadal progenitors. Transcriptomic analysis reveals that the in vitro–derived murine gonadal cells are equivalent to embryonic day 11.5 in vivo progenitors. Using similar conditions, Sertoli-like cells derived from 46,XY human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) exhibit sustained expression of testis-specific genes, secrete anti-MĂŒllerian hormone, migrate, and form tubular structures. Cells derived from 46,XY DSD female hiPSCs, carrying an NR5A1 variant, show aberrant gene expression and absence of tubule formation. CRISPR-Cas9–mediated variant correction rescued the phenotype. This is a robust tool to understand mechanisms of sex determination and model DSDs

    Hypomorphic and dominant-negative impact of truncated SOX9 dysregulates Hedgehog-Wnt signaling, causing campomelia.

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    Haploinsufficiency for SOX9, the master chondrogenesis transcription factor, can underlie campomelic dysplasia (CD), an autosomal dominant skeletal malformation syndrome, because heterozygous Sox9 null mice recapitulate the bent limb (campomelia) and some other phenotypes associated with CD. However, in vitro cell assays suggest haploinsufficiency may not apply for certain mutations, notably those that truncate the protein, but in these cases in vivo evidence is lacking and underlying mechanisms are unknown. Here, using conditional mouse mutants, we compared the impact of a heterozygous Sox9 null mutation (Sox9+/-) with the Sox9+/Y440X CD mutation that truncates the C-terminal transactivation domain but spares the DNA-binding domain. While some Sox9+/Y440X mice survived, all Sox9+/- mice died perinatally. However, the skeletal defects were more severe and IHH signaling in developing limb cartilage was significantly enhanced in Sox9+/Y440X compared with Sox9+/-. Activating Sox9Y440X specifically in the chondrocyte-osteoblast lineage caused milder campomelia, and revealed cell- and noncell autonomous mechanisms acting on chondrocyte differentiation and osteogenesis in the perichondrium. Transcriptome analyses of developing Sox9+/Y440X limbs revealed dysregulated expression of genes for the extracellular matrix, as well as changes consistent with aberrant WNT and HH signaling. SOX9Y440X failed to interact with ÎČ-catenin and was unable to suppress transactivation of Ihh in cell-based assays. We propose enhanced HH signaling in the adjacent perichondrium induces asymmetrically localized excessive perichondrial osteogenesis resulting in campomelia. Our study implicates combined haploinsufficiency/hypomorphic and dominant-negative actions of SOX9Y440X, cell-autonomous and noncell autonomous mechanisms, and dysregulated WNT and HH signaling, as the cause of human campomelia

    TRIM28-dependent SUMOylation protects the adult ovary from activation of the testicular pathway

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    International audienceGonadal sexual fate in mammals is determined during embryonic development and must be actively maintained in adulthood. In the mouse ovary, oestrogen receptors and FOXL2 protect ovarian granulosa cells from transdifferentiation into Sertoli cells, their testicular counterpart. However, the mechanism underlying their protective effect is unknown. Here, we show that TRIM28 is required to prevent female-to-male sex reversal of the mouse ovary after birth. We found that upon loss of Trim28 , ovarian granulosa cells transdifferentiate to Sertoli cells through an intermediate cell type, different from gonadal embryonic progenitors. TRIM28 is recruited on chromatin in the proximity of FOXL2 to maintain the ovarian pathway and to repress testicular-specific genes. The role of TRIM28 in ovarian maintenance depends on its E3-SUMO ligase activity that regulates the sex-specific SUMOylation profile of ovarian-specific genes. Our study identifies TRIM28 as a key factor in protecting the adult ovary from the testicular pathway

    The Properties and Functions of Glial Cell Types of the Hypothalamic Median Eminence

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    The median eminence (ME) is part of the neuroendocrine system (NES) that functions as a crucial interface between the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. The ME contains many non-neuronal cell types, including oligodendrocytes, oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs), tanycytes, astrocytes, pericytes, microglia and other immune cells, which may be involved in the regulation of NES function. For example, in mice, ablation of tanycytes (a special class of ependymal glia with stem cell-like functions) results in weight gain, feeding, insulin insensitivity and increased visceral adipose, consistent with the demonstrated ability of these cells to sense and transport both glucose and leptin, and to differentiate into neurons that control feeding and metabolism in the hypothalamus. To give a further example, OPCs in the ME of mice have been shown to rapidly respond to dietary signals, in turn controlling composition of the extracellular matrix in the ME, derived from oligodendrocyte-lineage cells, which may contribute to the previously described role of these cells in actively maintaining leptin-receptor-expressing dendrites in the ME. In this review, we explore and discuss recent advances such as these, that have developed our understanding of how the various cell types of the ME contribute to its function in the NES as the interface between the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. We also highlight avenues of future research which promise to uncover additional functions of the ME and the glia, stem and progenitor cells it contains

    SOX3 promotes generation of committed spermatogonia in postnatal mouse testes

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    SOX3 is a transcription factor expressed within the developing and adult nervous system where it mostly functions to help maintain neural precursors. Sox3 is also expressed in other locations, notably within the spermatogonial stem/progenitor cell population in postnatal testis. Independent studies have shown that Sox3 null mice exhibit a spermatogenic block as young adults, the mechanism of which remains poorly understood. Using a panel of spermatogonial cell marker genes, we demonstrate that Sox3 is expressed within the committed progenitor fraction of the undifferentiated spermatogonial pool. Additionally, we use a Sox3 null mouse model to define a potential role for this factor in progenitor cell function. We demonstrate that Sox3 expression is required for transition of undifferentiated cells from a GFRα1+ self-renewing state to the NGN3 + transit-amplifying compartment. Critically, using chromatin immunoprecipitation, we demonstrate that SOX3 binds to a highly conserved region in the Ngn3 promoter region in vivo, indicating that Ngn3 is a direct target of SOX3. Together these studies indicate that SOX3 functions as a pro-commitment factor in spermatogonial stem/progenitor cells.</p

    A New Understanding, Guided by Single-Cell Sequencing, of the Establishment and Maintenance of the Ovarian Reserve in Mammals

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    Background: Oocytes are a finite and non-renewable resource that are maintained in primordial follicle structures. The ovarian reserve is the totality of primordial follicles, present from birth, within the ovary and its establishment, size, and maintenance dictates the duration of the female reproductive lifespan. Understanding the cellular and molecular dynamics relevant to the establishment and maintenance of the reserve provides the first steps necessary for modulating both individual human and animal reproductive health as well as population dynamics. Summary: This review details the key stages of establishment and maintenance of the ovarian reserve, encompassing germ cell nest formation, germ cell nest breakdown, and primordial follicle formation and activation. Furthermore, we spotlight several formative single-cell sequencing studies that have significantly advanced our knowledge of novel molecular regulators of the ovarian reserve, which may improve our ability to modulate female reproductive lifespans. Key Messages: The application of single-cell sequencing to studies of ovarian development in mammals, especially when leveraging genetic and environmental models, offers significant insights into fertility and its regulation. Moreover, comparative studies looking at key stages in the development of the ovarian reserve across species has the potential to impact not just human fertility, but also conservation biology, invasive species management, and agriculture

    High SOX9 Maintains Glioma Stem Cell Activity through a Regulatory Loop Involving STAT3 and PML

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    Glioma stem cells (GSCs) are critical targets for glioma therapy. SOX9 is a transcription factor with critical roles during neurodevelopment, particularly within neural stem cells. Previous studies showed that high levels of SOX9 are associated with poor glioma patient survival. SOX9 knockdown impairs GSCs proliferation, confirming its potential as a target for glioma therapy. In this study, we characterized the function of SOX9 directly in patient-derived glioma stem cells. Notably, transcriptome analysis of GSCs with SOX9 knockdown revealed STAT3 and PML as downstream targets. Functional studies demonstrated that SOX9, STAT3, and PML form a regulatory loop that is key for GSC activity and self-renewal. Analysis of glioma clinical biopsies confirmed a positive correlation between SOX9/STAT3/PML and poor patient survival among the cases with the highest SOX9 expression levels. Importantly, direct STAT3 or PML inhibitors reduced the expression of SOX9, STAT3, and PML proteins, which significantly reduced GSCs tumorigenicity. In summary, our study reveals a novel role for SOX9 upstream of STAT3, as a GSC pathway regulator, and presents pharmacological inhibitors of the signaling cascade.P.A. and A.S.-A. were recipients of predoctoral fellowships from the AECC foundation and Carlos III Institute (ISCIII), respectively. M.a.-S. holds a Sara Borrell postdoctoral contract from the ISCIII (CD19/00154). E.C.-G. was a recipient of a Stop Fuga de Cerebros postdoctoral fellowship and holds a Miguel Servet contract from the ISCIII (CP19/00085). We thank the Histology Platform of the Biodonostia Health Research Institute, The Neuro-Oncology Committee of Donostia University Hospital, and Basque Biobank for their help. This research was supported by grants from ISCIII and FEDER Funds (CP16/00039, DTS16/00184, PI16/01580, DTS18/00181, PI18/01612, CP19/00085), and the Industry and Health Departments of the Basque Country

    SOX9 Triggers Different Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition States to Promote Pancreatic Cancer Progression.

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    BACKGROUND Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most lethal cancers mainly due to spatial obstacles to complete resection, early metastasis and therapy resistance. The molecular events accompanying PDAC progression remain poorly understood. SOX9 is required for maintaining the pancreatic ductal identity and it is involved in the initiation of pancreatic cancer. In addition, SOX9 is a transcription factor linked to stem cell activity and is commonly overexpressed in solid cancers. It cooperates with Snail/Slug to induce epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) during neural development and in diseases such as organ fibrosis or different types of cancer. METHODS We investigated the roles of SOX9 in pancreatic tumor cell plasticity, metastatic dissemination and chemoresistance using pancreatic cancer cell lines as well as mouse embryo fibroblasts. In addition, we characterized the clinical relevance of SOX9 in pancreatic cancer using human biopsies. RESULTS Gain- and loss-of-function of SOX9 in PDAC cells revealed that high levels of SOX9 increased migration and invasion, and promoted EMT and metastatic dissemination, whilst SOX9 silencing resulted in metastasis inhibition, along with a phenotypic reversion to epithelial features and loss of stemness potential. In both contexts, EMT factors were not altered. Moreover, high levels of SOX9 promoted resistance to gemcitabine. In contrast, overexpression of SOX9 was sufficient to promote metastatic potential in K-Ras transformed MEFs, triggering EMT associated with Snail/Slug activity. In clinical samples, SOX9 expression was analyzed in 198 PDAC cases by immunohistochemistry and in 53 patient derived xenografts (PDXs). SOX9 was overexpressed in primary adenocarcinomas and particularly in metastases. Notably, SOX9 expression correlated with high vimentin and low E-cadherin expression. CONCLUSIONS Our results indicate that SOX9 facilitates PDAC progression and metastasis by triggering stemness and EMT