Department of Biology
Metazoan development demands not only precise cell fate differentiation but also accurate timing of cell division to ensure proper development. How cell divisions are temporally coordinated during development is poorly understood. Caenorhabditis elegans embryogenesis provides an excellent opportunity to study this coordination due to its invariant development and widespread division asynchronies. One of the most pronounced asynchronies is a significant delay of cell division in two endoderm progenitor cells, Ea and Ep, hereafter referred to as E2, relative to its cousins that mainly develop into mesoderm organs and tissues. To unravel the genetic control over the endodermspecific E2 division timing, a total of 822 essential and conserved genes were knocked down using RNAi followed by quantification of cell cycle lengths using in toto imaging of C. elegans embryogenesis and automated lineage. Intriguingly, knockdown of numerous genes encoding the components of general transcription pathway or its regulatory factors leads to a significant reduction in the E2 cell cycle length but an increase in cell cycle length of the remaining cells, indicating a differential requirement of transcription for division timing between the two. Analysis oflineage-specific RNA-seq data demonstrates an earlier onset of transcription in endoderm than in other germ layers, the timing of which coincides with the birth of E2, supporting the notion that the endoderm-specific delay in E2 division timing demands robust zygotic transcription. The reduction in E2 cell cycle length is frequently associated with cell migration defect and gastrulation failure. The results suggest that a tissue-specific transcriptional activation is required to coordinate fate differentiation, division timing, and cell migration to ensure proper development.
The Journal of Biological Chemistry
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
First Page (page number)
Last Page (page number)
Wong, Ming-Kin, Daogang Guan, Kaoru Hon Chun Ng, Xiaomeng An, Runsheng Li, Xiaoliang Ren, and Zhongying Zhao. "Timing of Tissue-specific Cell Division Requires a Differential Onset of Zygotic Transcription during Metazoan Embryogenesis." The Journal of Biological Chemistry 291.24 (2016): 12501-12513.