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3 Janelia Publications

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    11/27/18 | Temporal control of Drosophila central nervous system development.
    Miyares RL, Lee T
    Current Opinion in Neurobiology. 2018 Nov 27;56:24-32. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2018.10.016

    A complex nervous system requires precise numbers of various neuronal types produced with exquisite spatiotemporal control. This striking diversity is generated by a limited number of neural stem cells (NSC), where spatial and temporal patterning intersect. Drosophila is a genetically tractable model system that has significant advantages for studying stem cell biology and neuronal fate specification. Here we review the latest findings in the rich literature of temporal patterning of neuronal identity in the Drosophila central nervous system. Rapidly changing consecutive transcription factors expressed in NSCs specify short series of neurons with considerable differences. More slowly progressing changes are orchestrated by NSC intrinsic temporal factor gradients which integrate extrinsic signals to coordinate nervous system and organismal development.

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    07/31/18 | High-resolution transcriptional dissection of in vivo Atoh1-mediated hair cell conversion in mature cochleae identifies Isl1 as a co-reprogramming factor.
    Yamashita T, Zheng F, Finkelstein D, Kellard Z, Carter R, Rosencrance CD, Sugino K, Easton J, Gawad C, Zuo J
    PLoS Genetics. 2018 07;14(7):e1007552. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007552

    In vivo direct conversion of differentiated cells holds promise for regenerative medicine; however, improving the conversion efficiency and producing functional target cells remain challenging. Ectopic Atoh1 expression in non-sensory supporting cells (SCs) in mouse cochleae induces their partial conversion to hair cells (HCs) at low efficiency. Here, we performed single-cell RNA sequencing of whole mouse sensory epithelia harvested at multiple time points after conditional overexpression of Atoh1. Pseudotemporal ordering revealed that converted HCs (cHCs) are present along a conversion continuum that correlates with both endogenous and exogenous Atoh1 expression. Bulk sequencing of isolated cell populations and single-cell qPCR confirmed 51 transcription factors, including Isl1, are differentially expressed among cHCs, SCs and HCs. In transgenic mice, co-overexpression of Atoh1 and Isl1 enhanced the HC conversion efficiency. Together, our study shows how high-resolution transcriptional profiling of direct cell conversion can identify co-reprogramming factors required for efficient conversion.

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    05/15/18 | Lineage-guided Notch-dependent gliogenesis by multi-potent progenitors.
    Ren Q, Awasaki T, Wang Y, Huang Y, Lee T
    Development (Cambridge, England). 2018 May 15:. doi: 10.1242/dev.160127

    Macroglial cells in the central nervous system exhibit regional specialization and carry out region-specific functions. Diverse glial cells arise from specific progenitors in specific spatiotemporal patterns. This raises an interesting possibility that there exist glial precursors with distinct developmental fates, which govern region-specific gliogenesis. Here we mapped the glial progeny produced by the type II neuroblasts, which, like vertebrate radial glia cells, yield both neurons and glia via intermediate neural progenitors (INPs). Distinct type II neuroblasts produce different characteristic sets of glia. A single INP can make both astrocyte-like and ensheathing glia, which co-occupy a relatively restrictive subdomain. Blocking apoptosis uncovers further lineage distinctions in the specification, proliferation, and survival of glial precursors. Both the switch from neurogenesis to gliogenesis and the subsequent glial expansion depend on Notch signaling. Taken together, lineage origins preconfigure the development of individual glial precursors with involvement of serial Notch actions in promoting gliogenesis.

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