3 years ago

bHLH proneural genes as cell fate determinants of entero-endocrine cells, an evolutionarily conserved lineage sharing a common root with sensory neurons

Entero-endocrine cells involved in the regulation of digestive function form a large and diverse cell population within the intestinal epithelium of all animals. Together with absorptive enterocytes and secretory gland cells, entero-endocrine cells are generated by the embryonic endoderm and, in the mature animal, from a pool of endoderm derived, self-renewing stem cells. Entero-endocrine cells share many structural/functional and developmental properties with sensory neurons, which hints at the possibility of an ancient evolutionary relationship between these two cell types. We will survey in this article recent findings that emphasize the similarities between entero-endocrine cells and sensory neurons in vertebrates and insects, for which a substantial volume of data pertaining to the entero-endocrine system has been compiled. We will then report new findings that shed light on the specification and morphogenesis of entero-endocrine cells in Drosophila. In this system, presumptive intestinal stem cells (pISCs), generated during early metamorphosis, undergo several rounds of mitosis that produce the endocrine cells and stem cells (ISCs) with which the fly is born. Clonal analysis demonstrated that individual pISCs can give rise to endocrine cells expressing different types of peptides. Immature endocrine cells start out as unpolarized cells located basally of the gut epithelium; they each extend an apical process into the epithelium which establishes a junctional complex and apical membrane specializations contacting the lumen of the gut. Finally, we show that the Drosophila homolog of ngn3, a bHLH gene that defines the entero-endocrine lineage in mammals, is expressed and required for the differentiation of this cell type in the fly gut.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0012160617301100

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