• Foxm1 regulates neural progenitor fate during spinal cord regeneration

      Pelzer, Diane; orcid: 0000-0001-6906-2451; Phipps, Lauren S; orcid: 0000-0001-9324-5469; Thuret, Raphael; Gallardo‐Dodd, Carlos J; orcid: 0000-0002-6086-0550; Baker, Syed Murtuza; orcid: 0000-0002-6633-333X; Dorey, Karel; orcid: 0000-0003-0846-5286; email: karel.dorey@manchester.ac.uk (2021-08-24)
      Abstract: Xenopus tadpoles have the ability to regenerate their tails upon amputation. Although some of the molecular and cellular mechanisms that globally regulate tail regeneration have been characterised, tissue‐specific response to injury remains poorly understood. Using a combination of bulk and single‐cell RNA sequencing on isolated spinal cords before and after amputation, we identify a number of genes specifically expressed in the spinal cord during regeneration. We show that Foxm1, a transcription factor known to promote proliferation, is essential for spinal cord regeneration. Surprisingly, Foxm1 does not control the cell cycle length of neural progenitors but regulates their fate after division. In foxm1−/− tadpoles, we observe a reduction in the number of neurons in the regenerating spinal cord, suggesting that neuronal differentiation is necessary for the regenerative process. Altogether, our data uncover a spinal cord‐specific response to injury and reveal a new role for neuronal differentiation during regeneration.
    • Generation of anisotropic strain dysregulates wild-type cell division at the interface between host and oncogenic tissue.

      Moruzzi, Megan; Nestor-Bergmann, Alexander; Goddard, Georgina K; Tarannum, Nawseen; Brennan, Keith; Woolner, Sarah; email: sarah.woolner@manchester.ac.uk (2021-06-03)
      Epithelial tissues are highly sensitive to anisotropies in mechanical force, with cells altering fundamental behaviors, such as cell adhesion, migration, and cell division. It is well known that, in the later stages of carcinoma (epithelial cancer), the presence of tumors alters the mechanical properties of a host tissue and that these changes contribute to disease progression. However, in the earliest stages of carcinoma, when a clonal cluster of oncogene-expressing cells first establishes in the epithelium, the extent to which mechanical changes alter cell behavior in the tissue as a whole remains unclear. This is despite knowledge that many common oncogenes, such as oncogenic Ras, alter cell stiffness and contractility. Here, we investigate how mechanical changes at the cellular level of an oncogenic cluster can translate into the generation of anisotropic strain across an epithelium, altering cell behavior in neighboring host tissue. We generated clusters of oncogene-expressing cells within otherwise normal in vivo epithelium, using Xenopus laevis embryos. We find that cells in kRas , but not cMYC, clusters have increased contractility, which introduces radial stress in the tissue and deforms surrounding host cells. The strain imposed by kRas clusters leads to increased cell division and altered division orientation in neighboring host tissue, effects that can be rescued by reducing actomyosin contractility specifically in the kRas cells. Our findings indicate that some oncogenes can alter the mechanical and proliferative properties of host tissue from the earliest stages of cancer development, changes that have the potential to contribute to tumorigenesis. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.]