Zebrafish Klf4 maintains the ionocyte progenitor population by regulating epidermal stem cell proliferation and lateral inhibition.

08:00 EDT 1st April 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Zebrafish Klf4 maintains the ionocyte progenitor population by regulating epidermal stem cell proliferation and lateral inhibition."

In the skin and gill epidermis of fish, ionocytes develop alongside keratinocytes and maintain body fluid ionic homeostasis that is essential for adaptation to environmental fluctuations. It is known that ionocyte progenitors in zebrafish embryos are specified from p63+ epidermal stem cells through a patterning process involving DeltaC (Dlc)-Notch-mediated lateral inhibition, which selects scattered dlc+ cells into the ionocyte progenitor fate. However, mechanisms by which the ionocyte progenitor population is modulated remain unclear. Krüppel-like factor 4 (Klf4) transcription factor was previously implicated in the terminal differentiation of mammalian skin epidermis and is known for its bifunctional regulation of cell proliferation in a tissue context-dependent manner. Here, we report novel roles for zebrafish Klf4 in the ventral ectoderm during embryonic skin development. We found that Klf4 was expressed in p63+ epidermal stem cells of the ventral ectoderm from 90% epiboly onward. Knockdown or knockout of klf4 expression reduced the proliferation rate of p63+ stem cells, resulting in decreased numbers of p63+ stem cells, dlc-p63+ keratinocyte progenitors and dlc+ p63+ ionocyte progenitor cells. These reductions subsequently led to diminished keratinocyte and ionocyte densities and resulted from upregulation of the well-known cell cycle regulators, p53 and cdkn1a/p21. Moreover, mutation analyses of the KLF motif in the dlc promoter, combined with VP16-klf4 or engrailed-klf4 mRNA overexpression analyses, showed that Klf4 can bind the dlc promoter and modulate lateral inhibition by directly repressing dlc expression. This idea was further supported by observing the lateral inhibition outcomes in klf4-overexpressing or knockdown embryos. Overall, our experiments delineate novel roles for zebrafish Klf4 in regulating the ionocyte progenitor population throughout early stem cell stage to initiation of terminal differentiation, which is dependent on Dlc-Notch-mediated lateral inhibition.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: PLoS genetics
ISSN: 1553-7404
Pages: e1008058


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