Xaml1/Runx1 is required for the specification of Rohon-Beard sensory neurons in Xenopus

Byung Yong Park, Chang Soo Hong, Jamie R. Weaver, Elizabeth M. Rosocha, Jean-Pierre Saint-Jeannet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Lower vertebrates develop a unique set of primary sensory neurons located in the dorsal spinal cord. These cells, known as Rohon-Beard (RB) sensory neurons, innervate the skin and mediate the response to touch during larval stages. Here we report the expression and function of the transcription factor Xaml1/Runx1 during RB sensory neurons formation. In Xenopus embryos Runx1 is specifically expressed in RB progenitors at the end of gastrulation. Runx1 expression is positively regulated by Fgf and canonical Wnt signaling and negatively regulated by Notch signaling, the same set of factors that control the development of other neural plate border cell types, i.e. the neural crest and cranial placodes. Embryos lacking Runx1 function fail to differentiate RB sensory neurons and lose the mechanosensory response to touch. At early stages Runx1 knockdown results in a RB progenitor-specific loss of expression of Pak3, a p21-activated kinase that promotes cell cycle withdrawal, and of N-tub, a neuronal-specific tubulin. Interestingly, the pro-neural gene Ngnr1, an upstream regulator of Pak3 and N-tub, is either unaffected or expanded in these embryos, suggesting the existence of two distinct regulatory pathways controlling sensory neuron formation in Xenopus. Consistent with this possibility Ngnr1 is not sufficient to activate Runx1 expression in the ectoderm. We propose that Runx1 function is critically required for the generation of RB sensory neurons, an activity reminiscent of that of Runx1 in the development of the mammalian dorsal root ganglion nociceptive sensory neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-75
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Volume362
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012

Fingerprint

Sensory Receptor Cells
Xenopus
Embryonic Structures
Touch
p21-Activated Kinases
Neural Plate
Gastrulation
Nociceptors
Ectoderm
Neural Crest
Spinal Ganglia
Tubulin
Vertebrates
Spinal Cord
Cell Cycle
Transcription Factors
Skin
Genes

Keywords

  • N-Tub
  • Ngnr1
  • Pak3
  • Rohon-Beard
  • Runx1
  • Sensory neurons
  • Xenopus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology

Cite this

Xaml1/Runx1 is required for the specification of Rohon-Beard sensory neurons in Xenopus. / Park, Byung Yong; Hong, Chang Soo; Weaver, Jamie R.; Rosocha, Elizabeth M.; Saint-Jeannet, Jean-Pierre.

In: Developmental Biology, Vol. 362, No. 1, 01.02.2012, p. 65-75.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Park, Byung Yong ; Hong, Chang Soo ; Weaver, Jamie R. ; Rosocha, Elizabeth M. ; Saint-Jeannet, Jean-Pierre. / Xaml1/Runx1 is required for the specification of Rohon-Beard sensory neurons in Xenopus. In: Developmental Biology. 2012 ; Vol. 362, No. 1. pp. 65-75.
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