RRC ID 80820
Author Cole AG, Hashimshony T, Du Z, Yanai I.
Title Gene regulatory patterning codes in early cell fate specification of the C. elegans embryo.
Journal Elife
Abstract Pattern formation originates during embryogenesis by a series of symmetry-breaking steps throughout an expanding cell lineage. In Drosophila, classic work has shown that segmentation in the embryo is established by morphogens within a syncytium, and the subsequent action of the gap, pair-rule, and segment polarity genes. This classic model however does not translate directly to species that lack a syncytium - such as Caenorhabditis elegans - where cell fate is specified by cell-autonomous cell lineage programs and their inter-signaling. Previous single-cell RNA-Seq studies in C. elegans have analyzed cells from a mixed suspension of cells from many embryos to study late differentiation stages, or individual early stage embryos to study early gene expression in the embryo. To study the intermediate stages of early and late gastrulation (28- to 102-cells stages) missed by these approaches, here we determine the transcriptomes of the 1- to 102-cell stage to identify 119 embryonic cell states during cell fate specification, including 'equivalence-group' cell identities. We find that gene expression programs are modular according to the sub-cell lineages, each establishing a set of stripes by combinations of transcription factor gene expression across the anterior-posterior axis. In particular, expression of the homeodomain genes establishes a comprehensive lineage-specific positioning system throughout the embryo beginning at the 28-cell stage. Moreover, we find that genes that segment the entire embryo in Drosophila have orthologs in C. elegans that exhibit sub-lineage-specific expression. These results suggest that the C. elegans embryo is patterned by a juxtaposition of distinct lineage-specific gene regulatory programs each with a unique encoding of cell location and fate. This use of homologous gene regulatory patterning codes suggests a deep homology of cell fate specification programs across diverse modes of development.
Volume 12
Published 2024-1-29
DOI 10.7554/eLife.87099
PII 87099
PMID 38284404
PMC PMC10945703
MeSH Animals Body Patterning / genetics Caenorhabditis elegans* / metabolism Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins* / genetics Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins* / metabolism Cell Differentiation / genetics Cell Lineage / genetics Drosophila / genetics Embryo, Nonmammalian / metabolism Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
C.elegans tm4063