Developmentally regulated elimination of damaged nuclei involves a Chk2-dependent mechanism of mRNA nuclear retention.

Iampietro C, Bergalet J, Wang X, Cody NA, Chin A, Lefebvre FA, Douziech M, Krause HM, Lécuyer E.

Dev Cell. 2014 May 27;29(4):468-81

The faithful execution of embryogenesis relies on the ability of organisms to respond to genotoxic stress and to eliminate defective cells that could otherwise compromise viability. In syncytial-stage Drosophila embryos, nuclei with excessive DNA damage undergo programmed elimination through an as-yet poorly understood process of nuclear fallout at the midblastula transition. We show that this involves a Chk2-dependent mechanism of mRNA nuclear retention that is induced by DNA damage and prevents the translation of specific zygotic mRNAs encoding key mitotic, cytoskeletal, and nuclear proteins required to maintain nuclear viability. For histone messages, we show that nuclear retention involves Chk2-mediated inactivation of the Drosophila stem loop binding protein (SLBP), the levels of which are specifically depleted in damaged nuclei following Chk2 phosphorylation, an event that contributes to nuclear fallout. These results reveal a layer of regulation within the DNA damage surveillance systems that safeguard genome integrity in eukaryotes.

Kit and Scl regulation of hematopoietic stem cells.

Rojas-Sutterlin, S., Lécuyer, E., Hoang, T.

Curr Opin Hematol. 2014 Jul;21(4):256-64.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: KIT tyrosine kinase receptor is essential for several tissue stem cells, especially for hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Moderately decreased KIT signaling is well known to cause anemia and defective HSC self-renewal, whereas gain-of-function mutations are infrequently found in leukemias. Thus, maintaining KIT signal strength is critically important for homeostasis. KIT signaling in HSCs involves effectors such as SHP2 and PTPN11. This review summarizes the recent developments on the novel mechanisms regulating or reinforcing KIT signal strength in HSCs and its perturbation in polycythemia vera.

RECENT FINDINGS: Stem cell leukemia (SCL) is a transcription factor that is essential for HSC development. Genetic experiments indicate that Kit, protein tyrosine phosphatase, nonreceptor type 11 (Ptpn11), or Scl control long-term HSC self-renewal, survival, and quiescence in adults. Kit is now shown to be centrally involved in two feedforward loops in HSCs, one with Ptpn11 and the other with Scl

SUMMARY: Knowledge of the regulatory mechanisms that favor self-renewal divisions or a lineage determination process is central to the design of strategies to expand HSCs for the purpose of cell therapy. In addition, transcriptome and phosphoproteome analyses of erythroblasts in polycythemia vera identified lower SCL expression and hypophosphorylated KIT, suggesting that the KIT-SCL loop is relevant to the pathophysiology of human blood disorders as well.

The functions and regulatory principles of mRNA intracellular trafficking.

Bergalet J, Lécuyer E.

The functions and regulatory principles of mRNA intracellular trafficking.

The subcellular localization of RNA molecules is a key step in the control of gene expression that impacts a broad array of biological processes in different organisms and cell types. Like other aspects of posttranscriptional gene regulation discussed in this collection of reviews, the intracellular trafficking of mRNAs is modulated by a complex regulatory code implicating specific cis-regulatory elements, RNA-binding proteins, and cofactors that function combinatorially to dictate precise localization mechanisms. In this review, we first discuss the functional benefits of transcript localization, the regulatory principles involved, and specific molecular mechanisms that have been described for a few well-characterized mRNAs. We also overview some of the emerging genomic and imaging technologies that have provided significant insights into this layer of gene regulation. Finally, we highlight examples of human diseases where defective transcript localization has been documented.

High Resolution Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization in Drosophila

Bergalet, J., Iampietro, C., Chin, A., Oré-Rodriguez, S., Nguyen, X.-T., Cody, N.A., and Lécuyer, E.

Methods in Molecular Biology Volume 714, 2011, pp 31-47

Tissue-specific gene expression is a major determinant in the elaboration of cells with distinctive phenotypes and functions, which is crucial for the development and homeostasis of multicellular organisms. Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) is a powerful method for assessing the expression and localization properties of RNA at subcellular resolution in whole mount organism and tissue specimens. This chapter describes a high-resolution FISH protocol for the detection of RNA expression and localization dynamics in embryos and tissues of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. The approach utilizes tyramide signal amplification (TSA) for enhanced sensitivity and resolution in the detection of coding and noncoding RNAs, for the codetection of different RNA species or of RNA and a protein marker of interest. Furthermore, the protocol outlines details for conducting FISH in microtiter plates, which greatly enhances the throughput, practicality, and economy of the procedure.

The many functions of mRNA localization during normal development and disease: from pillar to post.

Cody NA, Iampietro C, Lécuyer E.

Wiley Interdiscip Rev Dev Biol. 2013 Nov-Dec;2(6):781-96. doi: 10.1002/wdev.113

The regulated intracellular trafficking and localized translation of mRNA molecules represents an important and prevalent mechanism of gene regulation. This process plays a key role in modulating asymmetric protein distribution linked to a wide variety of biological processes in different organisms and cell types. In this review, we begin by discussing the diverse biological functions, advantages, and mechanisms of mRNA localization that have been characterized to date. We then review recent technological innovations in RNA imaging and functional genomics methods that will undoubtedly provide powerful new strategies for the elucidation of mRNA trafficking pathways. Finally, we discuss several examples linking human disease pathogenesis to defects in transcript localization, which further underlines the critical importance of this gene regulatory mechanism.