Morphogens are signaling molecules that are known for their prominent role in pattern formation within developing tissues. In addition to patterning, morphogens also control tissue growth. However, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. We studied the role of morphogens in regulating tissue growth in the developing vertebrate neural tube. In this system, opposing morphogen gradients of Shh and BMP establish the dorsoventral pattern of neural progenitor domains. Perturbations in these morphogen pathways result in alterations in tissue growth and cell cycle progression, however, it has been unclear what cellular process is affected. To address this, we analysed the rates of cell proliferation and cell death in mouse mutants in which signaling is perturbed, as well as in chick neural plate explants exposed to defined concentrations of signaling activators or inhibitors. Our results indicated that the rate of cell proliferation was not altered in these assays. By contrast, both the Shh and BMP signaling pathways had profound effects on neural progenitor survival. Our results indicate that these pathways synergise to promote cell survival within neural progenitors. Consistent with this, we found that progenitors within the intermediate region of the neural tube, where the combined levels of Shh and BMP are the lowest, are most prone to cell death when signaling activity is inhibited. In addition, we found that downregulation of Shh results in increased apoptosis within the roof plate, which is the dorsal source of BMP ligand production. This revealed a cross-interaction between the Shh and BMP morphogen signaling pathways that may be relevant for understanding how gradients scale in neural tubes with different overall sizes. We further studied the mechanism acting downstream of Shh in cell survival regulation using genetic and genomic approaches. We propose that Shh transcriptionally regulates a non-canonical apoptotic pathway. Altogether, our study points to a novel role of opposing morphogen gradients in tissue size regulation and provides new insights into complex interactions between Shh and BMP signaling gradients in the neural tube.
Kuzmicz-Kowalska K. Regulation of neural progenitor survival by Shh and BMP in the developing spinal cord. 2023. doi:10.15479/at:ista:14323
Kuzmicz-Kowalska, K. (2023). Regulation of neural progenitor survival by Shh and BMP in the developing spinal cord. Institute of Science and Technology Austria. https://doi.org/10.15479/at:ista:14323
Kuzmicz-Kowalska, Katarzyna. “Regulation of Neural Progenitor Survival by Shh and BMP in the Developing Spinal Cord.” Institute of Science and Technology Austria, 2023. https://doi.org/10.15479/at:ista:14323.
K. Kuzmicz-Kowalska, “Regulation of neural progenitor survival by Shh and BMP in the developing spinal cord,” Institute of Science and Technology Austria, 2023.
Kuzmicz-Kowalska K. 2023. Regulation of neural progenitor survival by Shh and BMP in the developing spinal cord. Institute of Science and Technology Austria.
Kuzmicz-Kowalska, Katarzyna. Regulation of Neural Progenitor Survival by Shh and BMP in the Developing Spinal Cord. Institute of Science and Technology Austria, 2023, doi:10.15479/at:ista:14323.
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