Open Collections

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Molecular and cellular characterization of the CYP26b1-null limb phenotype Dranse, Helen 2010

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
24-ubc_2011_spring_dranse_helen.pdf [ 971.66kB ]
Metadata
JSON: 24-1.0071447.json
JSON-LD: 24-1.0071447-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 24-1.0071447-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 24-1.0071447-rdf.json
Turtle: 24-1.0071447-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 24-1.0071447-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 24-1.0071447-source.json
Full Text
24-1.0071447-fulltext.txt
Citation
24-1.0071447.ris

Full Text

MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR CHARACTERIZATION OF THE CYP26B1-NULL LIMB PHENOTYPE  by HELEN DRANSE  A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of  MASTER OF SCIENCE in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Cell and Developmental Biology)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) November 2010  © Helen Dranse, 2010  ABSTRACT Cyp26b1, a retinoic acid (RA)-metabolizing enzyme, is expressed in the developing limb bud and Cyp26b1-/- mice present with severe early limb defects characterized by truncated skeletal elements and oligodactyly. These malformations have previously been attributed to a patterning defect; however, recent reports suggest that RA is dispensable for limb patterning. In this study, we examined the role of endogenous retinoid signalling in skeletogenesis using Cyp26b1-/- mice and transgenic mice in which Cyp26b1 is conditionally deleted under control of the Prrx1 promoter beginning at ~E9.5 (Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl). We found that the limb phenotype in Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl mice was less severe than Cyp26b1-/- animals and that a difference in retinoid signalling contributed to the difference in phenotypes. We systematically examined the role of RA signalling in chondrogenesis and found that Cyp26b1-/- cells are maintained at a pre-chondrogenic stage, exhibit reduced chondroblast differentiation, and exhibit a modest impact on chondrocyte hypertrophy. Furthermore, Cyp26b1-/- mesenchyme exhibited an increase in the expression of Scleraxis and other tendon markers, indicating that increased retinoid signalling in the limb maintains the ability of precursor cells to commit to other mesenchymal lineages. We conclude that RA signalling negatively impacts chondrogenesis before the onset of Ihh signalling, and has a positive impact on chondrocyte hypertrophy. This suggests that the limb phenotype in Cyp26b1-/- animals results from defects in the execution of a patterning program, and not so much in the patterning program itself.  ii  PREFACE A version of this thesis will be submitted for publication: Dranse, H.J., Petkovich, M., and T.M. Underhill. Genetic deletion of Cyp26b1 negatively impacts limb skeletogenesis by inhibiting chondrogenesis.  All of the following were carried out by Helen Dranse and Dr. T. Michael Underhill: identification and design of research program, performing the research, data analyses, and manuscript preparation.  Our collaborator, Dr. Martin Petkovich, was responsible for generating and providing the ScxGFP+ and Cyp26b1-/- mice, respectively.  All animal work was approved by the UBC Animal Care Committee, Certificate #A07-0094.  iii  TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT .............................................................................................................................. ii  PREFACE ................................................................................................................................ iii  TABLE OF CONTENTS ......................................................................................................... iv  LIST OF TABLES ................................................................................................................. viii  LIST OF FIGURES ................................................................................................................. ix  LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................................................................................................... x  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .................................................................................................... xii  CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................. 1  Skeletal Development ................................................................................................... 1  Limb development ............................................................................................ 2  Endochondral ossification ............................................................................................. 3  Cellular commitment to chondrogenesis and condensation formation ............. 4  Chondroblast differentiation ............................................................................. 4  Prehypertrophy and hypertrophy ...................................................................... 5  Chondrocyte terminal differentiation ................................................................ 6  Cartilage growth................................................................................................ 6  Micromass culture ............................................................................................. 7  Mesenchymal cells and the chondrogenic and tendogenic lineages ................. 7  Retinoid signalling ........................................................................................................ 8  Retinoid action .................................................................................................. 9  Retinoid distribution ....................................................................................... 10  RA and limb development .......................................................................................... 11  A potential role for RA in the P-D patterning of the limb .............................. 12  iv  Role of RA in chondrogenesis ........................................................................ 14  Summary and objectives ............................................................................................. 15  CHAPTER 2: MATERIALS AND METHODS ................................................................... 23  Mice ............................................................................................................................ 23  Generation and maintenance of mouse strains................................................ 23  Genotyping ...................................................................................................... 23  Reagents ...................................................................................................................... 24  Skeletal analysis .......................................................................................................... 24  E18.5 embryos ................................................................................................ 24  E15.5 embryos ................................................................................................ 25  Establishment of primary mesenchymal cultures ....................................................... 25  Reporter-based assays ................................................................................................. 26  Plasmid constructs .......................................................................................... 26  Transfection of cultures .................................................................................. 26  Analysis of reporter gene activity ................................................................... 26  Staining of micromass cultures ................................................................................... 27  Peanut agglutinin (PNA) staining ................................................................... 27  Alcian blue staining ........................................................................................ 27  Immunofluorescence ....................................................................................... 27  RNA isolation ............................................................................................................. 28  RNA isolation from primary cell cultures ...................................................... 28  RNA isolation from tissue .............................................................................. 28  RT-qPCR..................................................................................................................... 28  LacZ staining .............................................................................................................. 29  v  Microscopy and image acquisition ............................................................................. 29  Statistical analysis ....................................................................................................... 30  CHAPTER 3: RESULTS ....................................................................................................... 35  Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1-/- mice exhibit limb malformations less severe than Cyp26b1-/mice ............................................................................................................................. 35  Levels of retinoid signaling are increased in Cyp26b1-/- limb buds and to a lesser extent in Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl animals .................................................................... 36  Increased retinoid signalling negatively affects chondrogenesis ................................ 38  Cyp26b1-/- cells do not progress normally through the chondrogenic program .......... 40  Cyp26b1-/- cells are maintained at a pre-chondrogenic stage ......................... 40  Cyp26b1-/- cells exhibit reduced chondroblast differentiation ........................ 41  Deletion of Cyp26b1 has a modest impact on chondrocyte hypertrophy ....... 41  The chondrogenic potential of proximal limb cells is more affected by changes in RA signalling ..................................................................................................................... 43  Increased expression of tendon markers in Cyp26b1-/- animals ................................. 44  CHAPTER 4: DISCUSSION................................................................................................. 62  Regulation of chondrogenesis by RA ......................................................................... 62  RA and chondrocyte hypertrophy ............................................................................... 63  RA and multipotent mesenchymal cells - cell fate lineage decisions ......................... 65  CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION ............................................................................................... 69  Discussion of goals ..................................................................................................... 69  Significance of research .............................................................................................. 70  Developmental biology ................................................................................... 71  Cell science ..................................................................................................... 71  Strengths and limitations............................................................................................. 71  Strengths ......................................................................................................... 71  vi  Limitations ...................................................................................................... 72  Potential applications of research findings ................................................................. 72  Future research directions ........................................................................................... 73  REFERENCES ....................................................................................................................... 76  APPENDIX ............................................................................................................................. 85   vii  LIST OF TABLES Table 1. Generation of embryonic genotypes .............................................................................. 31  Table 2. Genotyping parameters .................................................................................................. 32  Table 3. Primers and probes designed for RT-qPCR ................................................................... 33   viii  LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1. Mouse forelimb development ....................................................................................... 17  Figure 2. Overview of the chondrogenic program ....................................................................... 19  Figure 3. Retinoid action.............................................................................................................. 21  Figure 4. Limb malformations are less severe in Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl mice than Cyp26b1-/mice. .............................................................................................................................................. 46  Figure 5. Retinoid signalling is increased in Cyp26b1-/- limbs and to a lesser extent in Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl limbs......................................................................................................... 48  Figure 6. Chondrogenesis decreases in response to elevated levels of RA signalling. ............... 50  Figure 7. Cells from Cyp26b1-/- limb mesenchyme express/retain markers indicative of precartilaginous condensations .......................................................................................................... 52  Figure 8. Prechondrogenic cells from Cyp26b1-/- animals exhibit reduced differentiation. ........ 54  Figure 9. Cyp26b1-/- cells exhibit little change in hypertrophy. ................................................... 56  Figure 10. Proximally-derived cells are more sensitive to changes in retinoid signalling. ......... 58  Figure 11. Limb mesenchyme from Cyp26b1-/- exhibit increases in the expression of tendon markers. ......................................................................................................................................... 60  Figure 12. A model for the role of RA in regulating mesenchymal cell fate during limb development. ................................................................................................................................. 67 Figure A1. Additional analysis of Cyp26b1 transgenic mice. ..................................................... 86  Figure A2. Changes in gene expression with ketoconazole treatment. ....................................... 88  Figure A3. Ketoconazole and DEAB treatments. ........................................................................ 90  Figure A4. Inhibition of chondrogenesis reflects an increase in tenogenesis. ............................. 92   ix  LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ADH  Alcohol dehydrogenase  AER  Apical ectodermal ridge  ALDH  Aldehyde dehydrogenase  ALP  Alkaline phosphatase  BMP  Bone morphogenetic protein  CRABP  Cellular retinoic acid binding protein  CYP  Cytochrome P450  DEAB  Diethylaminobenzaldehyde  E  Embryonic day  EGFP  Enhanced green fluorescent protein  FD  Forelimb distal  FGF  Fibroblast growth factor  FL  Forelimb  FP  Forelimb proximal  HD  Hindlimb distal  HL  Hindlimb  HP  Hindlimb proximal  IHH  Indian hedgehog  LUC  Luciferase  P  Proximal  P-D  Proximo-distal  PCR  Polymerase chain reaction x  PNA  Peanut agglutinin  PTHr  Parathyroid hormone-related protein receptor  PTHrP  Parathyroid hormone-related protein  q-PCR  Quantitative PCR  RA  Retinoic acid  RAR  Retinoic acid receptor  RARE  Retinoic acid response element  RLU  Relative light units  RXR  Retinoid X receptor  SHH  Sonic hedgehog  SOX  SRY-box containing  TGF  Transforming growth factor  WNT  Wingless  ZPA  Zone of polarizing activity  xi  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS First and foremost, I would like to thank my supervisor, Michael Underhill, for giving me the opportunity to work in his lab and for all of the help and guidance he has given me over the past two years. I would also like to thank Fabio Rossi, Tim O’Connor, and Pamela Hoodless for taking the time to be on my committee and for their helpful insights. A big thank you to all past and present members of the Underhill lab, especially Kerstin Boese, Matt Cowan, Erin Graham, Arthur Sampaio, Alex Scott, and Le Su, as well as many others at the BRC and UBC. I would also like to thank the Petkovich lab for getting me started on Cyp26b1 and for their help over the years. I am grateful for financial support from the Skeletal Regenerative Medicine Team, the Canadian Arthritis Network, and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. Finally, special thanks to the Spears family, L.P., and M.M.  xii  CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION Skeletal Development The musculoskeletal system is critical for providing structure, protection, and mobility to vertebrates and is comprised of a variety of tissues including muscle, bone, cartilage, tendon, and ligaments. The skeletal system, consisting of bone and cartilage, form from multipotent mesenchymal progenitor cells and involves both skeletal patterning to define the size and location of different skeletal elements, and the coordinated differentiation of skeletogenic cells. This occurs through two different processes - intramembranous ossification and endochondral ossification. The first, intramembranous ossification, involves the direct conversion of undifferentiated mesenchymal cells into bone, and elements such as bones of the face and the flat bones of the skull, form through this process. However, the majority of the vertebrate skeleton, including the appendicular and axial skeletons, the sternum, pelvis, components of the craniofacial skeleton, and the base of the skull, form through endochondral ossification. This is a process in which mesenchymal cells differentiate into chondrocytes and produce a cartilage template that is subsequently replaced by bone (Figure 1). In addition to playing an essential role in skeletogenesis, cartilage is a permanent connective tissue that persists into adulthood in airways, joints, and ears, and the formation of cartilage growth plates constitutes the principal mechanism allowing longitudinal body growth (Olsen et al., 2000). However, despite the importance of cartilage in both embryonic development and adulthood, little is known about the underlying mechanisms regulating cartilage formation, or chondrogenesis. This project aims to study the molecular mechanisms that underlie the commitment and subsequent differentiation of mesenchymal cells to a chondrogenic fate, using the mouse limb as a developmental model. 1  Limb development The vertebrate limb has been used for decades as a model system to investigate the mechanisms that control patterning and cell differentiation during embryogenesis. Limb development involves the morphogenesis of a complex, but systematically reproducible structure, and thus acts as framework to study the factors and cell interactions that regulate these processes. Phenotypic alterations provide an easy “read-out” and the limb can easily be accessed and manipulated for experimental purposes. The murine limb originates as an outgrowth of mesenchyme, encased in ectoderm, that buds from the lateral plate of the embryo. Undifferentiated mesenchymal cells at the distal tip of the limb bud, in what is termed the “progress zone”, give rise to most cell types of the mature limb, including the dermis, perichondrium, cartilage, bone, muscle connective tissue, tendons, and ligaments (Summerbell et al., 1973). Muscle and endothelial cells of the limb originate from a somitic precursor and migrate in to the limb bud during development (Tabin and Wolpert, 2007). Several signalling centres coordinate the patterning and growth of the limb; these include the apical ectodermal ridge (AER) and the zone of polarizing activity (ZPA). The AER is a ridge of ectoderm along the distal edge of the limb bud that secretes fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signals and supports cell survival and outgrowth of the proximal-distal (P-D) axis, while the ZPA secretes SHH and is responsible for patterning the anterior-posterior axis (Saunders, 1948; Niswander et al., 1993; Riddle et al., 1993). Additionally, WNT-7a is secreted from the dorsal ectoderm, which patterns the dorsal-ventral axis (Parr and McMahon, 1995). The interplay between signals from the AER, ZPA, and dorsal ectoderm results in the formation of three skeletal segments – the stylopod (humerus or femur), the zeugopod (radius/ulna and tibia/fibula), 2  and the autopod (wrist/ankle and fingers/toes). There are two models for the patterning of limb segments – the progress zone model and the early specification model. The progress zone model proposes that cell fate is determined by the amount of time spent close to AER, while the early specification model suggests that various limb segments are specified early in limb development, and subsequent development involves expansion of these progenitor populations before differentiation (Tabin and Wolpert, 2007). For both models, limb outgrowth occurs in a P-D sequence, such that the limb segments close to the trunk (stylopod) are specified and differentiate earlier that those located far from it (autopod) (Saunders, 1948; Summerbell et al., 1973). The size and shape of developing skeletal elements relies on this spatio-temporal control of lineagespecific chondroblast differentiation, as it establishes a template for the bone primordia that will form through endochondral ossification (Underhill and Weston, 1998; Weston et al., 2003). Endochondral ossification Endochondral ossification provides the first structural template in the embryo and plays an important role in patterning the head, trunk, and limbs. As described above, the regulation of limb chondrogenesis involves a cascade of factors including members of the wingless (WNT), FGF, bone morphogenetic protein (BMP), sonic hedgehog (SHH), and retinoid signalling families that act together to specify the positional identity and fate of precursor cells and regulate their progression through the chondrogenic program (DeLise et al., 2000; Niswander, 2003; Barna and Niswander, 2007). This results in the appropriate spatio-temporal control of cell commitment to the chondrogenic lineage, condensation of mesenchyme, chondroblast differentiation, chondrocyte maturation, and replacement of cartilage by bone. Each step in this process is characterized by specific histological features, cellular activities, and gene expression profiles, which correspond to changes in cell morphology, proliferation, and extracellular matrix 3  production, and is controlled by a specific set of transcriptional activators, repressors, and associated factors (Figure 2). Cellular commitment to chondrogenesis and condensation formation The first step in endochondral ossification is the formation of cell mass condensations that prefigure the future skeletal elements, which is termed the “membranous skeleton”. Mesenchymal cells migrate into the presumptive sites of limb formation from the lateral plate mesoderm (or from cranial neural crest of paraxial mesoderm for the head and trunk elements, respectively) and cells become tightly packed at these sites (Hall and Miyake, 2000). The process is mediated by a combination of pre-cartilage matrix and cell adhesion molecules, including N-Cadherin, N-CAM (Ncam1), Tenascin C (Tnc), Versican (Vcan), Hyaluronan, and fibronectin (DeLise et al., 2000; Lefebvre and Smits, 2005). Cell condensations can be visualised at the cellular level through peanut agglutinin (PNA) staining, as the PNA lectin binds to cell-surface expressed glycosylated proteins found on condensing mesenchymal cells (Hall and Miyake, 1992). The condensations establish the size and position of each nascent cartilage anlagen (Hall and Miyake, 2000). Commitment to a chondrogenic fate results in a decrease in the expression of Runx2 and other lineage-specific factors, which are expressed in multipotent mesenchymal cells (Lefebvre and Smits, 2005). SRY-box containing (Sox) 9 is expressed in condensed mesenchyme and prechondrocytes, and plays an essential role in the commitment and differentiation of mesenchymal cells towards the chondrogenic lineage (Wright et al., 1995; Healy et al., 1996; Akiyama et al., 2002). Chondroblast differentiation The overt differentiation of prechondrocytes into fully committed and active chondrogenic cells is characterized by a switch from a fibroblast-like morphology to a spherical 4  cell shape and secretion of an abundant extracellular matrix ((Ede, 1983; Solursh, 1983). The cartilage matrix is a collagen-fibre network comprised primarily of type II collagen (Col2a1) and secondarily of type IX and XII. Additionally, Aggrecan (Acan), a very abundant proteoglycan in cartilage, forms large aggregates by binding to the glycosaminoglycan hyaluron, with the help of hyaluronan and proteoglycan link protein 1 (Hapln1). Other molecules present in cartilage include glycoproteins such as cartilage oligomeric protein (Comp), matrilin 1 (Matn1), chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan 4 (Cspg4), Melanoma inhibitory activity 1 (Mia1), and small proteoglycans including fibromodulin and perlecan (Ede, 1983; Solursh, 1983; Xie et al., 1999; de Crombrugghe et al., 2000; Okazaki and Sandell, 2004; Lefebvre and Smits, 2005). Sox9 is highly expressed in addition to L-Sox5 and Sox6, which are critical effectors of chondroblast differentiation, and are termed the “master chondrogenic trio” (Bell et al., 1997; Healy et al., 1999; Lefebvre, 2002; Ikeda et al., 2004). Chondroblast differentiation can be visualised at the cellular level by a reduction in PNA staining, as cells can no longer bind PNA after chondrogenic differentiation, and through visualisation of cartilage nodules with alcian blue stain, which binds to glycosaminoglycans in the extracellular matrix. Prehypertrophy and hypertrophy The cells in diaphyses of future long bones undergo prehypertrophy, and up-regulate extracellular matrix genes such as Acan and Comp and regulatory gene Runx2 (De Crombrugghe and Akiyama, 2009). A major phenotypic switch occurs as cells exit the cell cycle and increase in size. Subsequently, parathyroid hormone-related peptide receptor (Pthr1), Indian hedgehog (Ihh), and Col10a1 are sequentially activated, which regulate chondrocyte maturation and hypertrophy. Patched (Ptch) expression is induced by and necessary for hedgehog signalling. (Colnot et al., 2005). When cells become hypertrophic, they stop expressing early cartilage 5  matrix genes, terminate Pthr1 and Ihh expression, and up-regulate Col10a1 and activate vascular endothelial growth factor (Vegf) (Lefebvre and Smits, 2005). Chondrocyte terminal differentiation As cells progress from hypertrophy to the terminal stage, they lose Col10a1 expression and activate the expression of osteoblast-associated markers such as matrix metalloproteinase-13 (Mmp13), osteopontin (Spp1), and alkaline phosphatase (Alp1). The matrix around hypertrophic chondrocytes becomes mineralized, and cartilage becomes vascularized and osteoblasts are transported in by blood vessels (Colnot and Helms, 2001; Maes et al., 2010). The mineralized matrix serves as a template for deposition of trabecular bone, which is composed of a fibrillar network of collagen type I, II, and V, by incoming osteoblasts, and most of the chondrocytes will ultimately undergo apoptosis (Adams and Shapiro, 2002). Cartilage growth Cartilage growth involves two processes – interstitial growth and appositional growth. The first occurs through the unidirectional proliferation of chondrocytes, which results in parallel columns of dividing cells, an overall increase in internal cartilage mass, and longitudinal growth. However, with maturation, chondrocyte cellular turnover rate is very low, and the majority of cartilage growth occurs appositionally. This is a process in which new cartilage forms on the surface and is achieved through the action of chondrocytes that are derived from the perichondrium, which is a thin layer of mesenchymal cells on the periphery of endochondral skeletal elements and growth plate cartilage (Kronenberg et al., 2009). The perichondrium is a rich source of undifferentiated mesenchyme and has high levels of Twist1 and Fgf18 expression, which contribute to the maintenance of cells in a progenitor state (Hinoi et al., 2006; Reinhold et al., 2006). 6  Micromass culture The chondrogenic process can be studied in vitro using the micromass culture system, in which primary limb mesenchyme (PLM) is dissociated into single cells and plated at a high density. The cells condense and form aggregates that differentiate into cartilage nodules, which accurately and reliably recapitulate the formation and maturation of cartilage during normal embryonic development (Ahrens et al., 1977). The sequence of gene expression in PLM cultures is similar to the chondrogenic differentiation process in vivo, and is useful for defining spatiotemporal differences in limb mesenchyme potential. Mesenchymal cells and the chondrogenic and tenogenic lineages In the limb, chondrocytes are formed from mesenchymal progenitor cells that are derived from the lateral plate mesoderm. These multi-potent cells have the ability to differentiate into several mesodermal lineages including bone, cartilage, tendon, marrow stroma, and fat (Pearse et al., 2007). There is some overlap between the early molecular mechanisms that underlie lineagespecific differentiation, and in particular, a close association between chondrogenesis and tenogenesis exists. During embryonic limb development, mesenchymal condensations express Sox9, Scx, and Runx2. A temporal and spatial relationship between Sox9 and Scx exists in which Sox9 and Scx expression ultimately become restricted to skeletal primordia and tendon, respectively (Asou et al., 2002; Akiyama et al., 2005). Cell fate determination occurs at the condensation stage, and commitment of multi or bi-potent progenitor cells to a chondrogenic lineage results in a decrease in Scx expression, while commitment to a tenocyte fate results in a decrease in Sox9 (Soeda et al., 2010). The differentiated cells have a molecular and cellular phenotype that is characteristic to their function; chondrocytes express Col2a1 and Acan, and are round, while tenocytes express 7  Tenomodulin (Tnmd), Type I collagen (Col1a1), Mohawk (Mkx), Eya2, and Tgfb2, and exhibit an elongated fusiform shape (Xu et al., 1997; Docheva et al., 2005; Pryce et al., 2009; Ito et al., 2010). Similar to chondrogenic differentiation, tenocyte differentiation occurs in a proximaldistal direction that follows the outgrowth of the limb bud (Schweitzer et al., 2001), and is directed by growth factors and signalling molecules. Importantly, changes in both the duration and nature of the signal that direct mesenchymal cells to specific lineages can affect tissue morphogenesis. A signalling molecule that is known to play an important role in regulating cell differentiation is retinoic acid (RA), and the focus of this research is the role of RA in skeletal development and the lineage-specific differentiation of mesenchymal cells. Retinoid signalling It has been known for years that vitamin A and its derivatives, the retinoids, play fundamental roles in the development and homeostasis of many different tissues and organ systems. Early rodent studies shown that vitamin A, or retinol, is important in embryonic development as females maintained in a vitamin A deficient state had increased rates of reproductive failure and embryos exhibited a spectrum of embryonic malformations. Treatment with retinoic acid (RA), was able to reverse the abnormalities, indicating that RA is the active metabolite (Pennimpede et al., 2010a). While animal models have shown that RA is indispensable for embryogenesis and organogenesis, intake of excess RA during pregnancy has also been shown to have teratogenic effects resulting in congenital malformations (Kalter and Warkany, 1961; Lammer et al., 1985; Ross et al., 2000). These studies have demonstrated that RA signalling is involved in the regulation of a wide range of developmental processes including neurogenesis, cardiogenesis, body axis extension, and skeletal, foregut, lung, pancreas, eye, and genitourinary tract development (Duester, 2008). 8  Retinoid action In mammals, vitamin A is obtained from the diet or from maternal sources, and undergoes a series of enzymatic reactions to form its biologically active metabolite, RA. RA is a small lipophilic molecule that is typically associated with intracellular binding proteins such as cellular retinoic acid binding protein 2 (Crabp2) which is important for both sequestration and transportation of RA to nuclear receptors of the steroid receptor superfamily (Sessler and Noy, 2005). RA forms nuclear hormone complexes consisting of retinoic acid receptor (RAR) and retinoid X receptor (RXR) heterodimers (Mark et al., 2006; Niederreither and Dolle, 2008; Mark et al., 2009). In the absence of ligand, RAR-RXR heterodimers bind to retinoic acid response elements (RAREs) and recruit co-repressors, which mediate negative transcriptional effects by recruiting histone deacetylases and methyltransferase complexes, which stabilize the nucleosome structure so that DNA becomes largely inaccessible for transcription. Binding of RA leads to a conformational change of the RAR ligand-binding domain, release of co-repressors, and recruitment of co-activators (Germain et al., 2006). Through this method of ligand activation, the RARs directly control the transcriptional activity of target genes, and hundreds of genes are RA-inducible, either directly or through indirect cascades (Figure 3). Both RARs and RXRs are encoded by three different isoforms – alpha, beta, and gamma. All receptor isoforms are widely expressed throughout the embryo during all stages of development, and while there is some tissue specificity for isoforms, targeted disruption of the RAR genes has shown that they exhibit considerable functional redundancy (Mark et al., 2009). This indicates that while RARs mediate RA signalling, any single receptor does not play a large role in the regulation of RA signalling. However, because the concentration of RA must be within a narrow range to avoid both deficiency and toxicity, the proper distribution of RA, and 9  thus RAR-mediated signalling, must be tightly controlled during embryonic development. This occurs through the coordinated expression of RA-synthetic and RA-catabolic enzymes. Retinoid distribution A reversible reaction catalyzed by retinol-specific alcohol dehydrogenases converts retinol to retinal, and RA is synthesized by a family of retinaldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDH1A1-3) that irreversibly oxidize retinal to form RA. In the developing embryo, regions that express Aldh1a genes generally correspond to regions that are rich in RA. Aldh1a1, 2, and 3 are expressed in restricted temporal-spatial domains throughout embryogenesis, and ALDH1A2 is the most important of the three, being responsible for nearly all of the RA produced in the early embryo (Niederreither et al., 1999; Niederreither et al., 2000; Niederreither et al., 2001). A deficiency of Aldh1a2 affects many developing systems including the forebrain, hindbrain, heart, limbs, and somites (Niederreither et al., 1999). These defects indicate that RA synthesis is required for embryonic patterning and/or development. The degradation of RA is mediated by the action of Cytochrome P450 family members CYP26A1, B1, and C1, which hydroxylate RA to more polar molecules such as 4-hydroxy-RA, 18-hydroxy-RA, and 4-oxo-RA (White et al., 1996; Fujii et al., 1997; Ray et al., 1997). These products do not function as RAR ligands, and are more soluble which facilitates the excretion of RA from the organism. Each CYP26 enzyme exhibits a spatially distinct expression domain during development, with Cyp26a1 being expressed in the tailbud and cervical mesenchyme, Cyp26b1 in the hindbrain, limb buds, branchial arches, and craniofacial structures, and Cyp26c1 in the hindbrain (MacLean et al., 2001; Abu-Abed et al., 2002; Tahayato et al., 2003). Targeted disruption of Cyp26a1 and Cyp26b1 lead to developmental abnormalities that phenocopy the teratogenic effects of RA. Cyp26a1 knockout mice exhibit hindbrain patterning defects and 10  caudal regression (Abu-Abed et al., 2001), while Cyp26b1 null mice have a number of defects including truncated limbs, malformed craniofacial structures, and hypoplastic testes (Yashiro et al., 2004; MacLean et al., 2007; Maclean et al., 2009). A loss of Cyp26c1 does not appear to have any effect on embryonic development, but when lost in conjunction with Cyp26a1 expression, results in a severe phenotype with embryos exhibiting anterior truncation of the brain (Uehara et al., 2007). These defects occur because regions where CYP26 enzymes are expressed are normally devoid of RA. The coordinated expression of ALDH and CYP26 enzymes influences where RA signalling is able to occur in the developing embryo, and correlates with the dynamics of RA signalling. Regions of activated retinoid signalling can be visualised using mice that express an RA-responsive transgene, with the caveat that the reporter may not respond to very low levels of retinoid activity or reflect all regions of activated RA signalling (Rossant et al., 1991). Misregulation of RA signalling leads to a wide spectrum of defects as described above, and one such tissue that is exquisitely sensitive to changes in RA availability is the developing limb. RA and limb development RA has long been implicated in skeletal development as pregnant mice maintained on a vitamin A deficient diet or administered teratological doses of RA resulted in offspring with skeletal defects (Kwasigroch and Kochhar, 1980; Niederreither and Dolle, 2008). Targeted disruption of the RAR isoforms and ALDH/CYP enzymes, alone or in combination, have revealed roles for each of these proteins in controlling RA signalling and skeletal development. Aldh1a2 deficient mice lack limb buds, while genetic inactivation of different combinations of RARa, b, or g, leads to alterations in the axial skeleton, craniofacial skeleton, and limbs (Lohnes et al., 1994; Dupe et al., 1999; Niederreither and Dolle, 2008). Furthermore, Cyp26a1 knockout 11  mice have axial skeleton defects, and Cyp26b1 knockout mice present with severe early limb defects characterized by a truncation of skeletal elements and hypodactyly (Abu-Abed et al., 2001; Yashiro et al., 2004). In the developing limb, RA is produced locally by ALDH1A2 in the trunk mesoderm that lies proximal to the limb, but not in the limb bud itself between E9.5 and E10.5 (Niederreither et al., 1999; Mic et al., 2002; Gibert et al., 2006). High levels of RA metabolism occur through the action of CYP26B1, which is expressed in the distal portion of the newly formed limb bud. As the limb bud grows, Cyp26b1 increases in intensity but remains restricted to the distal region (MacLean et al., 2001; Abu-Abed et al., 2002). Cyp26b1 mRNA is abundant in the ectoderm, but excluded from the AER, and the specific sites of RA synthesis and degradation results in a graded distribution of RA which decreased P-D throughout the limb bud (Mic et al., 2004). This gradient of RA can be visualised using RARE-LacZ transgene-expressing reporter mice (Rossant et al., 1991), and has been hypothesized to play a role in the patterning of the P-D axis in the developing limb bud. A potential role for RA in the P-D patterning of the limb Over three decades of work exists that investigates the role of RA signalling in the instruction of limb bud patterning and development. Studies have shown that RA “proximalizes” the distal blastema of regenerating newt and axolotl limbs, and the extent of proximalization in regenerating limbs increases with the dose of RA (Maden, 1982; Crawford and Stocum, 1988; Brockes, 1997). Furthermore, local administration of synthetic molecules acting as RAR antagonists severely limited limb outgrowth in chick limbs (Helms et al., 1996; Stratford et al., 1996), and the limb defects present in Cyp26b1 null mice have been attributed to a disruption or shortening of the P-D axis. In these mice, an expansion of proximal Meis genes and a down12  regulation of distal Hox genes, both of which are known to regulate limb patterning, is observed (Mercader et al., 2000; Yashiro et al., 2004). Altogether, these studies implicate that RA is playing an instructive role during limb bud patterning by acting as a “proximalizing” morphogenetic factor to active transcription of target genes and provide positional information to developing limb cells. Recent reports, however, have argued that RA does not play an instructive role in limb patterning, but instead acts entirely permissively. An Aldh1a2/3 double knockout that lacks all endogenous RA in the trunk exhibits normal hindlimb development, indicating that RA synthesis is dispensable for limb patterning and development, and is only essential to antagonize early axial FGF signals that would otherwise inhibit induction of the forelimb field (Lewandoski and Mackem, 2009; Zhao et al., 2009). Furthermore, disruption of all isotypes of Rarg in the Cyp26b1 null background rescues the stylopod and some digit formation, while still exhibiting altered P-D gene expression similar to the Cyp26b1 knockout (Pennimpede et al., 2010b). These results allow for the re-interpretation that Cyp26b1 does not act to create a RA gradient across the limb, but rather to eliminate an RA signal from the body axis that would otherwise cause distal RA-induced limb teratogenesis. In other words, there is no clear evidence that a proximal RA signalling centre is required to establish the P-D axis, and that while excess RA can induce limb P-D defects, this may be an effect of increased and inappropriate RA exposure (pharmaceutical effects) rather than a natural, physiological role for RA in limb development. The more likely scenario is that endogenous RA signalling regulates cell differentiation and that inappropriate activation of this pathway inhibits differentiation and results in truncated limbs. Data from the RAR double knockouts are certainly consistent with this premise, in that, loss of Rara and Rarg leads to ectopic cartilage formation within the interdigital region. Interestingly, 13  these animals also present with heterotopic cartilages at a number of other anatomical sites, indicating that retinoid signalling may play a more general role in regulating the expression of the chondrogenic phenotype. In order to address the role of RA in limb patterning and development, it is necessary to understand the role of retinoid action in the formation of developing skeletal elements. Role of RA in chondrogenesis As discussed, it has been known for years that both a deficiency and an excess of RA during embryogenesis results in skeletal abnormalities. In the case of RA teratogenecity, the severity of skeletal defects depends on both the timing and dose of RA, with skeletal malformations being most severe when RA is applied during the early stages of cartilage development (Shenefelt, 1972). This indicates that this time period in chondrogenesis is most sensitive to retinoid signalling. Analysis of gene expression patterns in PLM cultures shows a dynamic expression of Aldh1a2 and Cyp26a1. Aldh1a2 is expressed during mesenchyme condensation and increases in plated cultures for 24 hours before peaking, while the onset of Cyp26a1 expression occurs 12 hours later, but peaks at the same time as Aldh1a2. The expression profile of Rarb, a direct RAR-target gene, follows this same trend, indicating that their up-regulation is in response to RA signalling (unpublished data, TMU). This data demonstrates a transient increase in RA within the precartilaginous condensations, followed by a decrease in RA availability that is concordant with the onset of differentiation. Interfering with this “pulse” of RA signal leads to substantial changes in chondrogenesis, with sustained activation resulting in a reduction of chondroblast markers and inhibition of differentiation. Notably, a dose-dependent decrease in SOX9 reporter activity is observed with increasing doses of RA treatment. Conversely, antagonism of RA 14  signalling results in an increase in Sox9 expression and earlier chondroblast differentiation (Weston et al., 2000; Weston et al., 2002). However, smaller nodules form because cells differentiate prematurely in the condensations (unpublished data, TMU). Altogether, this demonstrates a requirement for RAR-mediated repression for chondroblast differentiation to occur, and that RA regulates skeletal development partly by its control over timing of differentiation. In addition to its inhibitory effect on chondroblast differentiation, RA has been shown to regulate later stages of chondrogenesis by decreasing Sox9 expression to promote chondrocyte maturation and that RAR-mediated repression is necessary for Acan expression (Koyama et al., 1999; Williams et al., 2009; Williams et al., 2010). Consistent with this, very little RA signalling is found in the upper resting/proliferating region of the growth plate, but retinoid activity is observed in the lower growth plate, where maturation and hypertrophy occurs (Williams et al., 2010). By switching from RAR-mediated repression in early stages, to control the timing of condensation and chondroblast differentiation, to RAR-mediated activation at later stages, to coordinate the maturation of chondrocytes and replacement by bone, RA functions to precisely control the step-wise progression of cells through chondrogenesis. Summary and objectives Much of the skeleton, including the limb, forms through endochondral ossification. The precise spatio-temporal control of chondrocyte differentiation from multi-potential mesenchymal cells is required for the proper size and shape of developing skeletal elements and RA signalling has been shown to play an important role in regulating the step-wise progression of cells through different stages of chondrogenesis. While RA signalling has previously been thought to play a role in the P-D patterning of the developing limb, new evidence exists that RA is dispensable for 15  limb patterning. This project aims to re-address the role of RA in cartilage formation and limb development, using the Cyp26b1 knockout mouse as a model. We hypothesize that the limb defects present in Cyp26b1-null mice are due to a defect in the execution of a patterning program and the objectives of this thesis include:  1. Generate and characterize a transgenic mouse with delayed deletion of Cyp26b1 2. Investigate the effect of increased endogenous RA signalling in vivo on different stages of the chondrogenic program 3. Determine the mechanism by which increased levels of RA affect cartilage formation in vivo  16  Figure 1. Mouse forelimb development Mouse forelimb development begins at embryonic day (E) 9.5 with the formation of cell mass condensations that prefigure the future skeletal elements (light blue). Condensed cells differentiate into chondrocytes and produce an abundant extracellular matrix (dark blue). This matrix is subsequently mineralized and acts as a template for deposition of bone (red). Limb outgrowth occurs in a proximal-distal sequence such that elements closest to the trunk are specified and formed first. Hindlimb development follows that of forelimb development by ~0.5 days. Modified from (Weston et al., 2003).  17  18  Figure 2. Overview of the chondrogenic program Mesenchymal progenitor cells are committed to the chondrogenic lineage and form cell mass condensations. Upon formation of precartilaginous condensations, cells overtly differentiate into chondroblasts which secrete an abundant extracellular matrix. As chondrocytes mature, they exit the cell cycle, increase in size, become pre-hypertrophic and then hypertrophic, and acquire the ability to mineralize their extracellular matrix, and ultimately undergo apoptosis. Each step of the chondrogenic program is characterized by a specific gene expression profile as indicated.  19  Mesenchymal Progenitor Runx2 lo Sox9 lo Scx lo  Chondro Progenitor Col2a1lo Sox6 lo Sox9 mid condensation stage commitmentt com  Chondroblast/ Chondrocyte Col2a1hi Sox6 hi Acan hi Sox9 hi  Pre-hypertrophic chondrocyte Col2a1hi Sox9 hi Acan hi Ihh hi  Hypertrophic chondrocyte Runx2 hi Sox9 lo hi Col10a1  20  Figure 3. Retinoid action In mammals, vitamin A (retinol) is obtained from the diet and a reversible reaction catalyzed by retinol-specific alcohol dehydrogenases (ADH) converts retinol to retinal. A family of retinaldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDH1A1-3) irreversibly oxidize retinal to form RA, which activates the transcription of hundreds of target genes involved in a variety of cellular processes. RA is degraded by cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYP26A1, B1, and C1) into inactive metabolites that are eliminated from the organism.  21  Vitamin A (retinol)  ADH  ALDH Retinal  Retinoic Acid  CYP26A1 CYP26B1 CYP26C1  Gene Expression  4-oxo-RA  18-OH-RA  (Inactive)  Differentiation Apopotosis  Proliferation  22  CHAPTER 2: MATERIALS AND METHODS Mice Generation and maintenance of mouse strains Cyp26b1+/-and Cyp26b1fl/fl mice were obtained from Dr. Martin Petkovich (Queen's University, Kingston, ON) and ScxGFP+ mice were obtained from Dr. Ronen Schweitzer (Portland Shriners Research Center, Portland, OR). RARE-LacZ and Prrx1Cre+ mice were obtained from Jackson Laboratory (Bar Harbor, ME, USA). The mice used in the studies described were of a mixed genetic background and timed matings were established by housing females with males overnight and checking females daily for vaginal plugs. Noon of the day that a plug appeared was denoted as embryonic day (E) 0.5, and on the appropriate day, pregnant females were humanely euthanized and embryos collected. Embryonic genotypes were generated as shown in Table 1. Importantly, some germline recombination has been observed to occur in the offspring of female Prrx1Cre+ expressing mice (Logan 2002), so only male Cre+ mice were used in these experiments. Animals were maintained in a facility at the Biomedical Research Centre (UBC) and experimental protocols were conducted in accordance with approved and ethical treatment standards of the University of British Columbia. Genotyping Ear punches (adult mice) or yolk sac tissue (embryos) were collected and digested in proteinase K buffer (50mM Tris pH8.0, 2mM NaCl, 10mM EDTA, 1% SDS, 1 mg/ml proteinase K) at 55°C for 40 minutes. Samples were then boiled at 95°C for 10 minutes and subsequently genotyped using standard PCR conditions (10X PCR buffer (200mM Tris-HCl, pH 8.4, 500mM KCl), 1.5mM MgCl2, 0.4µM of primer 1 and 0.2µM of primer2/3 or forward/reverse primers, 23  0.2mM dNTP, and Taq Polymerase (Invitrogen)). Primer sequences, PCR conditions, and amplicon sizes for genotyping of Cyp26b1, RARE-LacZ, Cre+, and GFP+ transgenic mice are shown in Table 2. Products were run on a 2% agarose gel and visualized using AlphaImager (Alpha Innotech) using AlphaEaseFC software. ScxGFP+ embryos were also genotyped by visualization of GFP expression with fluorescence microscopy. Reagents Ketoconazole and diethylaminobenzaldehyde (DEAB) were obtained from Sigma Aldrich, dissolved in 95% ethanol, and added to media at a concentration of 10µM and 1µM, respectively. BMP4 and TGFb1 were purchased from R&D, resuspended according to manufacturer's instructions in reconstitution buffer (4mM hydrochloric acid and 0.1% bovine serum albumin), and added to media at a final concentration of 20 ng/ml and 2 ng/ml, respectively. Skeletal analysis E18.5 embryos Alcian blue and alizarin red skeletal staining of E18.5 embryos was performed as described with slight modifications (McLeod, 1980). Briefly, E18.5 embryos were dissected and placed in tap water at 4°C for approximately 4-6 hours before being scalded in 70°C water for approximately 30 seconds. The embryos were then skinned and eviscerated through a hole in the abdomen. Embryos were subsequently fixed in 95% ethanol for 5 days, placed in acetone for 2 days, and stained for 3-4 days in staining solution (1 volume 0.3% alcian blue GS in 70% ethanol, 1 volume 0.1% alizarin red S in 95% ethanol, 1 volume acetic acid, 17 volumes 70% ethanol) at 37°C. Following staining, embryos were washed in distilled water, and cleared in a 1% aqueous solution of KOH for ~36 hours or until the skeleton was visible through the 24  surrounding tissue. Embryos were then cleared through 20%, 50%, and 80% glycerol:1% aqueous KOH solutions until the surrounding tissue was removed and the skeleton looked clean. Clearing solution was changed every other day. Skeletons were stored and photographed in 100% glycerol. E15.5 embryos E15.5 embryos were dissected in PBS and fixed in 95% ethanol for 7 days without skinning or evisceration. Embryos were placed in acetone for 7 days and stained for 3 days as described in the preparation of E18.5 skeletons above. After washing with distilled water, embryos were placed in a 20% glycerol: 2% aqueous KOH solution for 2-3 weeks until the skeleton was visible. Embryos were then cleared through a 50% and 80% glycerol: 1% KOH solution, and stored in 100% glycerol as described above. The gut was removed at the midpoint of this procedure to facilitate clearing. Establishment of primary mesenchymal cultures Primary cells were isolated from murine limb buds as previously described (Hoffman et al., 2006). Briefly, whole limbs were removed from E11.5 mouse embryos in ice-cold PBS by squeezing with forceps and torn into small pieces or micro-dissected into proximal and distal regions as indicated in Figure 2 and S1. Cyp26b1+/+ and Cyp26b1+/- limbs were pooled. Limb pieces were proteolytically digested in a dispase solution (10% dispase (Invitrogen, 12mg/ml), 10% FBS, in PSA) with gentle shaking at 37°C. Cells were filtered through a cell strainer (40 µM, Falcon) to obtain a single-cell suspension and were resuspended at a density of 2.0x107 cells/ml. 10µL spots, or “micromasses”, were dispensed onto Nunclon delta SI plates – 1 spot/well in a 24-well plate for PNA and alcian blue staining, luciferase assays, and immunofluorescence, and 4-6 spots/well in a 6-well plate for RNA collection. Cells were 25  incubated at 37°C with 5% CO2 and allowed to adhere for 1 hour before addition of culture medium (40% DMEM, 60% F12, 10% FBS, Invitrogen) with or without addition of factors. Addition of media was considered time 0 and media was changed every other day following establishment of cultures. Reporter-based assays Plasmid constructs To assess chondrogenic activity, a SOX-responsive reporter was used as described (Weston et al., 2002). This reporter contains 4 re-iterated binding sites for SOX5, 6, and 9 (4x48 base pairs derived from the Col2a1 gene) upstream of a minimal type II collagen promoter (-89 to +6) coupled to a firefly luciferase gene. A trimerized RARE upstream of firefly luciferase gene (pGL3-RARE-luciferase) was used to assess RA activity (Hoffman et al., 2006). Transfection of cultures Primary limb mesenchymal cultures were transiently transfected with Effectene (Qiagen) using a modified protocol as described (Karamboulas et al., 2010). In brief, x µg of DNA (3:1 gene of interest: reporter (9:1 plasmid reporter: pRL-SV40 (Promega))) was incubated with 15x µl of EC buffer (supplemented with 0.4M Trehalose for a higher transfection efficiency, as explained in Garcha and Underhill -in preparation) and x µl enhancer for 10 minutes at room temperature. 5x µl of Effectene was then added, mixed, and incubated for 10 minutes at room temperature, before transferring 15x µl of this mixture to 70x µl of cell suspension. Cells and transfection mix were gently triturated and micromasses plated as described. Analysis of reporter gene activity Analysis of reporter gene activity was performed using the Dual Luciferase Reporter Assay System (Promega), according to manufacturer's instructions. Extracts for luciferase were 26  collected on day 1, 2, 3, or 8, as indicated; cells were washed with PBS, lysed in 100µl of Passive Lysis buffer for 20 minutes, and frozen at -80°C overnight. Firefly and renilla luciferase activity were determined using 20µl of lysate in a 96-well plate reading luminometer (Molecular devices) and firefly luciferase was normalized against Renilla luciferase activity to control for differences in transfection efficiency and to generate relative light units (RLU). Staining of micromass cultures Peanut agglutinin (PNA) staining Primary cultures were washed with PBS and fixed in 4% PFA for 30 minutes at 4°C. Cells were washed with PBS and rhodamine-labeled PNA (Vector Labs, 10µg/ml in PBS) was added to cultures and incubated overnight at 4°C. The following morning, cultures were washed with PBS and the distribution of PNA bound cells was visualized with fluorescence microscopy. Alcian blue staining Alcian blue staining of micromass cultures was performed as described in (Weston et al., 2000). Micromasses were washed with PBS and fixed in 95% ethanol at -20°C overnight. Ethanol was removed and cells were washed first with PBS and then with 0.2M HCl for 5 minutes before addition of stain (4 volumes 0.2M HCl, 1 volume alcian blue (0.5% alcian blue 8 GS in 95% ethanol, filtered)). Micromasses were stained overnight, rinsed with 70% ethanol, and stored and photographed in 70% ethanol. Immunofluorescence Primary cultures were washed with PBS and fixed in 4% PFA for 30 minutes at 4°C. Cells were washed with PBS, rinsed with distilled water, and antigen retrieval was performed via PK digestion (20µg pK/ml in TE buffer (50mM tris base, 1mM EDTA, 0.5% tritonX-100, pH 8.0) for 10 minutes at 37°C). Cells were then rinsed in PBST, blocked in 1% BSA with 0.3M 27  glycine, and incubated with an anti-MMP13 antibody (Abcam, ab39012, 1:500, Cambridge, MA) overnight in 1% BSA at 4°C. The following day, cells were rinsed in PBS, incubated with Alexa fluor 488 (Molecular Probes, A11034, 1:1000) in PBS for 1 hour at 4°C, rinsed in PBS, and MMP13 distribution was visualised and photographed using fluorescence microscopy. Control consisted of incubation with the secondary antibody alone. RNA isolation RNA isolation from primary cell cultures RNA was harvested from primary cultures using RNeasy (Qiagen) as per manufacturer's instructions. Cells were washed twice with PBS and the media was aspirated from each well before the addition of 350µL lysis buffer/well of a 6-well plate. After isolation, RNA was resuspended in 30µL of DEPC-treated water and the quality and amount of RNA was assessed using a NanoDrop ND-1000 spectrophotometer. RNA isolation from tissue RNA was isolated directly from mouse limbs using Trizol (Invitrogen). The tissue was mixed with 1:10 ratio of tissue volume: Trizol, 20% volume of chloroform added to samples, spun, and the aqueous phase transferred to a new tube. At this point, an equal volume of 70% ethanol was added and the mixture was transferred to the RNAeasy column and procedures followed as described above. RT-qPCR Total RNA was isolated as described above and was reverse transcribed to cDNA using the High Capacity cDNA Reverse Transcription kit (Applied Biosystems) as per manufacturer's instructions. Approximately 2µg or the maximum amount of RNA was transcribed in a 20µl reaction volume. To follow the expression of various gene transcripts, quantitative real-time 28  PCR was carried out using the 7500 Fast Real-Time PCR System (Applied Biosystems). Some primers and TaqMan minor-groove-binding probes were designed using Primer Designer 2.0 (Applied Biosystems) as previously described (Weston et al., 2002; Hoffman et al., 2006; Scott et al., 2010). The primer and probe concentrations were optimized according to the manufacturer's instructions. Other primer and probe sets were designed using IDT RealTime PCR Assay Design Tool or purchased from the TaqMan gene expression collection (Applied Biosystems). Primer and probe sequences that were custom-made are listed in Table 3. Quantification was carried out using ~10 ng of total RNA using the standard curve method and expression of all genes relative to endogenous rRNA was determined using TaqMan Ribosomal Control Reagents (Applied Biosystems). LacZ staining E11.5-E14.5 embryos were dissected in PBS and fixed in 0.2% glutaraldehyde in PBS for 30 minutes at room temperature. Fixative was removed, embryos were washed in PBS, and covered in staining solution (2mM MgCl2, 0.02% NP40, 0.01% deoxycholate, 5mM potassium ferrocyanide, 5mM potassium ferricyanide, 0.1% X-gal). Embryos were incubated in staining solution for 4-6 hours at 37°C in a humidified chamber, following which the staining solution was removed, embryos washed in PBS, and fixed overnight in 10% formalin at 4°C. The following day, embryos were washed with PBS, photographed, and stored in 70% ethanol at 4°C. Microscopy and image acquisition Images were acquired with a Q-imaging Retiga 1300i camera using Openlab5 Software, through either a dissecting microscope (Stemi SVII, Carl Zeiss Microimaging, Inc.) or an inverted microscope (Axiovert S100, Carl Zeiss MicroImaging, Inc). The Cyp26b1-/-/ScxGFP+ 29  fluorescence images were obtained with a Leica MZFLIII (Richmond Hill, ON), using Qimaging Retiga 2000R and Q-Capture Pro (Q-Imaging, Surrey, BC) software. Images were edited using Adobe Photoshop CS4 (Adobe Systems Incorporated, San Jose, CA) and all images in one panel were adjusted equally. Statistical analysis Luciferase assays, immunofluorescence, and alcian blue and PNA staining of micromass cultures were performed in triplicate or quadruplicate and repeated using at least three distinct preparations of cells. RT-qPCR of cultured cells was carried out in duplicate and repeated a minimum of three times with independent RNA samples. RT-qPCR using RNA isolated from tissues was performed on single embryos and repeated with similar results for a minimum of n=3. For studies involving LacZ or skeletal staining of embryos, n=3. One representative experiment is shown for all results. Data was analysed using a student’s t-test with unequal variance or one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), followed by Tukey post-test for multiple comparisons, using GraphPad Prism, version 5 (GraphPad Software, Inc., La Jolla, CA). Significance is represented as follows: *p<0.05, **p<0.01, #p<0.001.  30  Table 1. Generation of embryonic genotypes Embryonic genotype  Father genotype  Mother genotype  Cyp26b1-/-  Cyp26b1 +/-  Cyp26b1 +/-  Cyp26b1-/-/ Prrx1Cre+  Cyp26b1 fl/+ / Prrx1Cre +  Cyp26b1fl/fl  Cyp26b1-/- /RARE-LacZ+  Cyp26b1+/- / RARELacZ +  Cyp26b1+/-  Cyp26b1fl/fl/Prrx1Cre+/RARELacZ+  Cyp26b1fl/+ /Prrx1Cre+/RARELacZ+  Cyp26b1fl/fl  Cyp26b1-/-/ScxGFP+  Cyp26b1+/-/ScxGFP+  Cyp26b1 +/-  31  Table 2. Genotyping parameters Gene  Primers (5’…3’)  Amplicon sizes (bp) PCR Conditions  Cyp26b1 (MacLean et al., 2007)  Primer 1  Wildtype 223  CAGTAGATGTTTGAGTGACACAGCC  Primer 2 GAGGAAGTGTCAGGAGAAGTGG  94°C 2 min 94°C 20 sec 58°C 50 sec 72°C 45 sec X35 72°C 2 min  Floxed  284  Null  364  Cre+  100  94°C 3 min 94°C 20 sec 51°C 1 min 72°C 40 sec X35 72°C 3 min  LacZ+  315  94°C 3 min 94°C 20 sec 58°C 30 sec 72°C 35 sec X 25 72°C 2 min  GFP+  173  94°C 3 min 94°C 30 sec 60°C 1 min 72°C 1 min X 35 72°C 2 min  Primer 3 GGGCCACCAAGGAAGATGCTGAGG  Cre Modified from Jax  Forward GCGGTCTGGCAGTAAAAACTATC  Reverse GTGAAACAGCATTGCTGTCACTT  LacZ Modified from Jax  Forward ATCCTCTGCATGGTCAGGTC  Reverse CGTGGCCTGATTCATTCC  GFP Modified from Jax  Forward AAGTTCATCTGCACCACCG  Reverse TCCTTGAAGAAGATGGTGCG  32  Table 3. Primers and probes designed for RT-qPCR Gene  Forward primer (5’-3’)  Reverse primer (5’-3’)  Probe (5’-3’)  System  Acan  AGGTTGCTATGGTGA CAAGG  TGGAAGGTGAATTTCT CTGGG  6FAM/TCGCTGAGG/ZEN/AGATGGAGG GTGA/IABkFQ  IDT  Col1a1  CTTCACCTACAGCAC CCTTGTG  TTGGTGGTTTTGTATTC GATGACT  6FAM/ACACCGGAACTTGGG/MGBNFQ  ABI  Col2a1  GGCTCCCAACACCGC TAAC  GATGTTCTGGGAGCCC TCAGT  6FAM/CAGATGACTTTCCTCCGTC/MGB NFQ  ABI  Comp  CCAGAAAGATAACCC AGACCAG  GTGACCATCCCCATCC TG  6FAM/ACAGGCATC/ZEN/ACCCACAAAG TCGT/IABkFQ  IDT  Cspg4  CCTTCACGATCACCA TCCTTC  AATCATTGTCTGTTCC CCTGAG  6FAM/ATGACCAAC/ZEN/CCCCTGTTCT CACC/IABkFQ  IDT  Cyp26a1  CTCCAACCTGCACGA TTCCT  CGGCTGAAGGCCTGCA T  6FAM/CAGCGAAAGAAGGTG/MGBNFQ  ABI  Cyp26b1  CCTGAGGCCATCAAT GTATATCAG  CACACGCACGGCCATT C  6FAM/CCCAGCGACTTACCT/MGBNFQ  ABI  Hapln1  GTGAGGTGATTGAAG GGCTAG  CAGTCGTGGAAAGTAA GGGAA  6FAM/TGGCATTGG/ZEN/AGTTACAAGG TGTGGT/IABkFQ  IDT  Ihh  CCCAACTACAATCCC GACATC  TCACCCGCAGTTTCAC AC  6FAM/CCGACCGCC/ZEN/TCATGACCCA/ IABkFQ  IDT  Matn1  GATAGCCTCAGTCTT GTCCC  CCTTCACCTTCTCAAA CTCCAC  6FAM/AAACACCAG/ZEN/GTCCGTGGGT CG/IABkFQ  IDT  Mkx  ACGTTCAGTGGTTTC CTGG  CTTATGCCTTACCTTCC CTCC  6FAM/CGCCCCTCA/ZEN/AGGACAACCT CA/IABkFQ  IDT  Ptch1  CTGCCTGTCCTCTTAT CCTTC  AGACCCATTGTTCGTG TGAC  6FAM/CTGCCCACT/ZEN/CCTTCGCCTG A/IABkFQ  IDT  Pth1r  ATGCTCTTCAACTCC TTCCAG  ACTCCCACTTCGTGCT TTAC  6FAM/CGGCTCCAA/ZEN/GACTTCCTAA TCTCTGC/IABkFQ  IDT  Rarb  ATTAAGATCGTGGAG TTCGCC  AGTCATGGTGTCTTGC TCTG  6FAM/AGGGTGATC/ZEN/TGGTCTGCGA TGG/IABkFQ  IDT  Runx2  TCCCCGGGAACCAAG AA  GCGATCAGAGAACAA ACTAGGTTTAGA  6FAM/CACAGACAGAAGCTTGATGA/M GBNFQ  ABI  Sox5  TGCTTACTGACCCTG ATTTACC  TCTCCATCTGTCTCCCC ATAC  6FAM/ATGTCTTCC/ZEN/AAGCGACCAG CCT/IABkFQ  IDT  Sox9  CATCACCCGCTCGCA ATAC  CCGGCTGCGTGACTGT AGTA  6FAM/ACCATCAGAACTCCGGCT/MGBN FQ  ABI  33  Gene  Forward primer (5’-3’)  Reverse primer (5’-3’)  Probe (5’-3’)  System  Spp1  GTGATTTGCTTTTGC CTGTTTG  GAGATTCTGCTTCTGA GATGGG  6FAM/CCCTCCCGG/ZEN/TGAAAGTGAC TGATT/IABkFQ  IDT  Tnc  ATAGCCAACATCACA GACTCAG  GCTCGTACTCCACTGT ATTTCC  6FAM/TGTAACTTC/ZEN/TGGCACTCTCT CCCCT/IABkFQ  IDT  Vcan  ACCTCACAAGCATCC TTTCTC  GGGTCTCCAGTTCTCA TATTGC  6FAM/TCATGGCCC/ZEN/ACACGATTCA CAAAC/IABkFQ  IDT  34  CHAPTER 3: RESULTS Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1-/- mice exhibit limb malformations less severe than Cyp26b1-/- mice Cyp26b1 is the primary RA-metabolizing enzyme in the developing limb bud. To further examine the role of endogenous retinoid signalling in skeletogenesis, both conventional and conditional Cyp26b1 knockout mice were analyzed. Cyp26b1fl/fl mice were crossed with PcxNLSCre+ transgenic mice in order to achieve deletion of Cyp26b1 in the germline and to generate Cyp26b1 null animals. These animals exhibited marked developmental malformations as previously described (Yashiro et al., 2004; Pennimpede et al., 2010b). Cyp26b1fl/fl mice were also crossed with a line of transgenic mice that express Cre under direction of the Prrx1 promoter, which is expressed as early as E9.5 in the developing limb bud, parts of the head, and sternum (Logan et al., 2002; Kimura et al., 2010). By external observation, both Cyp26b1-/- and Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl mice exhibited truncated limbs and abnormal digit formation at E18.5, although the limbs of Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl mice were not as severely truncated and presented with more digits than age-matched Cyp26b1-/- animals (Figure 4A). Wildtype littermates in Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl and Cyp26b1-/- lines were both morphologically normal and comparable for experimental purposes (Appendix 1A). At E18.5, Cyp26b1-/- mice exhibit a greatly reduced stylopod and zeugopod, a loss of carpal bones, and oligodactyly, with only 2 or 3 digits forming per autopod. Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl animals present with a slightly longer stylopod and zeugopod than null animals, recognizable wrist elements, and the formation of 4 digits (Figure 4B). In both lines, the scapula and ilium appear morphologically normal, and nail-like structures are formed at the digit tips (data not shown). The clavicle is missing in Cyp26b1-/- but this structure is not deleted in Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl animals. 35  While the fore- and hindlimb have a similar phenotype in null animals, the hindlimb appears to be more severely affected in Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl animals, as the radius and ulna can be identified in the forelimb zeugopod, but the fibula/tibia are not distinguishable in the hindlimb zeugopod. In addition, both the stylopod and zeugopod in the forelimb are not as severely truncated as in null animals, but this is only true for the stylopod in Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl animals. Furthermore, while both fore- and hindlimbs have the formation of 4 digits, those that form in the forelimb appear morphologically normal, whereas the hindlimb digits are partially fused together. The defects described at E18.5 are apparent as early as E15.5, and notably, areas of alizarin red staining in wild-type skeletons are not present in either the Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl or Cyp26b1-/- animals at E15.5 (Figure 4C). These areas of staining are observable at E18.5, indicating a delay in the mineralization of skeletal elements in both Cyp26b1 conditional and null mutants. Furthermore, Prrx1-Cre driven deletion of Cyp26b1 partially rescues both the autopod and to a lesser extent the stylopod defects, whereas the zeugopod is substantially impacted in both transgenic lines. Levels of retinoid signaling are increased in Cyp26b1-/- limb buds and to a lesser extent in Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl animals The limbs of the Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl mice were less severely affected than Cyp26b1-/- limbs, and to determine if differences in RA signalling contributed to these phenotypes, both lines were crossed with an RA reporter transgenic mouse. Limbs from Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl and Cyp26b1-/- animals expressing the RARE-LacZ transgene, which harbours a trimerized repeat of RARb2 RARE linked to the hsp68 minimal promoter (Rossant 1991), were stained for X-gal to allow visualization of activated retinoid signalling. Fore- and 36  hindlimbs exhibited similar patterns of retinoid signalling. At E11.5, very little staining is observed in the limbs of wild-type mice, but is present proximally in Cyp26b1-/- limbs (Appendix 1B). By E12.5, activated RA signaling can be observed in the interdigital region of wild-type limbs; however, in null animals, areas showing activated retinoid signalling extend almost throughout the entire proximal-distal axis of the limb bud (Figure 5A). In Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl animals, aberrant retinoid signalling is observed proximally, but this is not as intense, and does not expand as far distally, as in the null animals. At E13.5 and E14.5, retinoid signalling continues to be observed interdigitally in wildtype limbs, while the only area free of activated retinoid signalling in Cyp26b1-/- limbs is the very distal tip, where Cyp26a1 is expressed (AbuAbed et al., 2002) (Figure 5A and Appendix 1B). Again, Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl limbs exhibit “intermediate” levels (in terms of both distribution pattern and intensity) of activated retinoid signaling between wild-type and Cyp26b1-/- limbs. In order to further investigate changes in RA signalling in the mutant limbs, fore- and hindlimb buds were microdissected into proximal and distal regions for analysis of Cyp26b1 and Rarb expression. Quantitative RT-PCR (qPCR) demonstrated that Cyp26b1 is more highly expressed in the distal region of the developing limb bud at E11.5 and E12.5, as previously reported (Yashiro et al., 2004; Pennimpede et al., 2010b), and revealed that while Cyp26b1 expression is completely absent in Cyp26b1-/- animals, Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl animals have a small amount of Cyp26b1 expression remaining in the distal regions of the limb (Figure 5B and Appendix 1C). Cyp26b1 is absent in the proximal regions of Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl limbs. Rarb expression in the proximal and distal regions of fore- and hindlimbs was analysed to determine quantitative increases in retinoid signalling in these tissue populations, as Rarb is a direct RAR target gene and is expressed in proximal limb mesenchyme and later in interdigital regions 37  (Mollard et al., 2000). Large increases in Rarb expression were observed in both proximal and distal regions of Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl and Cyp26b1-/- fore- and hindlimbs, although increases in the Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl limb were not as large, particularly in the distal regions where small amounts of Cyp26b1 expression was observed. To further assess retinoid status in the limb mesenchyme, PLM cultures were established from E11.5 wild-type and Cyp26b1-/- limbs (Ahrens et al., 1977). These cultures allow for the effects on mesenchyme versus ectoderm to be separated. qPCR analysis revealed that in the absence of Cyp26b1, Cyp26a1 and Crabp2 expression increased, and Aldh1a2 expression decreased, likely to compensate for increased levels of RA (Figure 5C and Appendix 1D). Additionally, the expression of direct RAR-target genes Rarb and Fgf18 increased ~ 3-fold at 3 days, indicating increased retinoid signalling occurs in culture (Figure 5C and Appendix 1D). Furthermore, the activity of a retinoid-responsive reporter, RARE-LUC, which consists of a trimerized RARE upstream of the firefly luciferase gene, increased significantly in Cyp26b1-/PLM cultures. Treatment with an ALDH1 inhibitor, diethylaminobenzaldehyde (DEAB) at culture initiation was able to reduce RARE-LUC reporter activity in Cyp26b1-/- cultures, but not to wild-type levels (Figure 5D). Altogether, these results indicate increased and sustained endogenous retinoid signalling in Cyp26b1-/- limb mesenchyme. Increased retinoid signalling negatively affects chondrogenesis It has previously been reported that increased levels of RA negatively affect skeletal development by inhibiting chondrogenesis (Cash et al., 1997; Weston et al., 2000; Weston et al., 2002); however, the role of RA signalling in cartilage formation has not been fully investigated using in vivo models. qPCR analysis of microdissected E11.5 and E12.5 limbs from wildtype and Cyp26b1-/- embryos demonstrated little change in the expression of chondrogenic marker 38  Sox9, but Acan expression was significantly decreased (Figure 6A). A Col2-LUC reporter, which is based on the SOX5, SOX6, and SOX 9 binding site from the first intron of Col2a1 upstream of the firefly luciferase gene (Lefebvre et al., 1997; Lefebvre et al., 1998) was used to follow chondoblast differentiation. This reporter has been shown to tightly correlate with chondroblast differentiation and cartilage formation (Weston et al., 2000; Hoffman et al., 2006; Muramatsu et al., 2007). Col2-LUC reporter activity was 7.4-fold less in Cyp26b1-/- cultures when compared to wild-type after only 1 day of culture (Figure 6B). Treatment with DEAB was able to increase Col2-LUC activity in both wild-type and null cultures, however, even “rescued” Cyp26b1-/- cultures had significantly lower Col2-LUC reporter activity than untreated wild-type cultures (Figure 6B). Notably, Col2-LUC reporter activity is tightly correlated with RA reporter activity, as overexpression of Cyp26a1, which degrades RA, leads to a 2-fold decrease in RA reporter activity and a 2-fold increase in Col2-LUC (Figure 6C). BMPs have been shown to play an essential role in limb skeletogenesis, both in specifying limb mesenchymal cells to a chondrocytic fate and in enhancing their subsequent differentiation into chondroblasts (Yoon and Lyons, 2004; Pogue and Lyons, 2006; Wu et al., 2007). To determine if the “chondrogenic” defect of the Cyp26b1-/- mesenchyme could be rescued by BMP addition, null and wild-type PLM cultures were established and treated with or without BMP4. As reported previously, BMP4 reduced the activity of a retinoid responsive reporter gene in wild-type cells and this was also observed albeit to a lesser extent in the Cyp26b1 null mesenchyme (Figure 6D) (Hoffman et al., 2006). Interestingly, BMP4 exhibited negligible pro-chondrogenic activity in cultures derived from Cyp26b1 null embryos, whereas BMP4 promoted chondrogenesis in wild-type cultures—determined by following Col2-LUC  39  reporter activity and alcian blue staining (Figure 6D). These results further demonstrate that the Cyp26b1 null mesenchyme exhibits a defect in chondrogenesis. Cyp26b1-/- cells do not progress normally through the chondrogenic program Previous work has shown a requirement for RAR-mediated repression in chondroblast differentiation in vitro (Weston et al., 2000; Weston et al., 2002) and that RA promotes chondrocyte hypertrophy (Koyama et al., 1999). Herein Cyp26b1 deficient mice have been used as a model to systematically examine the role of endogenous RA signalling in chondrogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Cyp26b1-/- cells are maintained at a pre-chondrogenic stage The first step in chondrogenesis is the aggregation of pre-chondrogenic cells into precartilaginous condensations. To normalize for potential differences in cell density which would impact chondrogenesis, Cyp26b1+ and Cyp26b1-/- cultures were plated at similar densities and under these conditions no overt increase in cell death was observed. Following culture of limb mesenchymal cells, peanut agglutinin (PNA) staining was used to identify prechondrogenic condensations. These analyses revealed very little difference between the ability of wild-type and Cyp26b1-/- cultures to form prechondrogenic condensations following 1 day of culture (Figure 7A). With increased culture time, cells within the condensations typically exhibit reduced PNA staining as they differentiate and this is not observed in the Cyp26b1-/- derived cultures, in which PNA staining intensity is maintained. The addition of DEAB had little impact on the condensation of both wild-type and Cyp26b1-/- cells (Figure 7A). qPCR analysis revealed that while there is little change in Sox9 expression between wild-type and Cyp26b1-/- cultures, the expression of condensation markers Vcan and Tnc is maintained or increased in null cultures  40  (Figure 7B). These results indicate that Cyp26b1-/- cells form discrete prechondrogenic condensations that do not progress beyond this stage. Cyp26b1-/- cells exhibit reduced chondroblast differentiation To further address the impact of Cyp26b1 loss on chondrogenesis and specifically chondroblast differentiation and the associated production of a cartilaginous extracellular matrix, PLM cultures were stained with alcian blue. Consistent with the Col2-LUC reporter gene findings in Cyp26b1-/- cells (Figure 8A), a marked decrease in alcian blue staining of cartilage nodules is observed in Cyp26b1-/- cultures. This is obvious as early as day 4 of culture, and is much more pronounced by day 8. Addition of DEAB results in a small increase in cartilage formation in Cyp26b1-/- cultures (Figure 8A). qPCR analysis of Cyp26b1-/- cultures demonstrates that L-Sox5 and Sox6 expression is reduced ~ 60%. Similarly, the expression of extracellular matrix molecules such as Col2a1, Acan, Hapln1, Comp, Matn1, and to a lesser extent, Cspg4 and Mia1, were significantly decreased (Figure 8B). These findings are congruent with the analysis of Sox9 and Acan in vivo (Fig. 6A) and are also consistent with the severe defects in the cartilaginous elements in the Cyp26b1-/- limbs. Altogether, these results indicate that markers associated with chondroblast differentiation are appreciably decreased in the limb mesenchyme of Cyp26b1-/- mice. Deletion of Cyp26b1-/- has a modest impact on chondrocyte hypertrophy In contrast to the negative role of RAR activation in chondroblast differentiation, RA signalling has been shown to be important in chondrocyte hypertrophy. There was little change in expression of the hypertrophic markers Pthr1, Vegfa, and Runx2 in Cyp26b1-/- cells compared to wild-type, however, an increase in Spp1 and a decrease in Col10a1, Mmp13 and Alp1 were observed after 8 days of culture (Figure 9A). Notably, the expression of Ihh was substantially 41  down-regulated at all time points in Cyp26b1-/- cultures. Consistent with this, the hedgehog target gene Ptch1 was also decreased. Furthermore, IHH impacts Pthrp expression, and Pthrp was also found to be significantly down-regulated. Cyp26b1 null mesenchyme-derived cultures produce fewer cartilage nodules, and as such it might be expected that chondrogenic stages subsequent to chondroblast differentiation such as chondrocyte hypertrophy would be negatively impacted. To determine if the nodules that did form underwent chondrocyte hypertrophy, immunofluorescence was performed to examine the distribution of MMP13 expression. This analysis revealed that there is little change in protein distribution of MMP13 (Figure 9B). These findings suggest that the decrease in many of the hypertrophy-associated genes such as Mmp13 likely reflects a decrease in number of cartilage nodules, rather than a decrease in hypertrophy.  The impact of manipulation of endogenous retinoid signalling on chondrogenesis and chondrocyte hypertrophy was further explored in PLM cultures treated with ketoconazole, a CYP inhibitor. Analysis of gene expression in wild-type cells treated with ketoconazole demonstrates similar changes in gene expression as observed with Cyp26b1-/- cultures (Appendix 2). As ketoconazole inhibits both CYP26A1 and CYP26B1 activity, this highlights the role of Cyp26a1 expression in the Cyp26b1-/- limb. Changes in expression of components of the retinoid signalling indicate increased retinoid signalling, and analysis of genes involved in the chondrogenic program reflect little change in condensation and decreased chondroblast differentiation. More importantly, as observed in the Cyp26b1-/- cultures, treatment with ketoconazole leads to a substantial decrease in Ihh expression, whereas hypertrophic markers are modestly increased.  42  The chondrogenic potential of proximal limb cells is more affected by changes in RA signalling To investigate the effect of modulation of RA signalling on the chondrogenic potential of cells from different regions of the limb, PLM cultures were established from the proximal or distal region of E11.5 wild-type limbs and treated with ketoconazole, a CYP450 inhibitor, or DEAB. This allows for a comparison between the timing of CYP inhibition in the two limb regions. Treatment with ketoconazole results in a decrease in Col2-LUC reporter activity and a correlated increase in RARE-LUC reporter activity. Conversely, treatment with DEAB has the opposite effect. Concentrations of ketoconazole and DEAB were chosen such that treatment would have a pronounced effect on reporter activity and cartilage formation (Appendix 3A). Treatment on day 0 or day 1 had a similar effect on cartilage formation as assessed by alcian blue staining and reporter activity (Appendix 3B and 3C). Alcian blue staining of differentiated cartilage nodules demonstrated that treatment with ketoconazole results in decreased cartilage formation in both proximal and distal cultures. However, this decrease is observed to a greater extent in the proximally-derived cultures, which are at a different stage within the chondrogenic program. Conversely, treatment with DEAB increases cartilage formation, and also has a more pronounced effect in proximal cultures (Figure 10a). This correlates with the activity of Col2-LUC and RARE-LUC reporters, in which a decrease in Col2-LUC reporter activity and increase in RARE-LUC reporter activity was observed with ketoconazole treatment, and the opposite with DEAB treatment (Figure 10B). Treatment with ketoconazole had a much greater effect in proximally-derived cultures, with a 6.3 versus 2.0-fold change in Col2-LUC reporter activity and a 5.0 versus 2.7-fold change in RARELUC reporter activity in proximal and distal cultures, respectively. Treatment with DEAB had similar effects on RARE-LUC activity in proximal and distal cultures, however, proximal 43  cultures exhibited a greater difference in Col2-LUC reporter activity versus distal cultures (2.6 versus 1.2-fold change). qPCR analysis demonstrates that Cyp26b1 increased with ketoconazole treatment and decreased with DEAB treatment, consistent with previous reports (Hoffman et al., 2006) (Figure 10C). This occurs in both proximal and distal regions of the limb, with greater changes observed in proximally-derived cultures. Analysis of chondrogenic marker expression in proximally-derived cultures mimics that seen in Cyp26b1-/- cultures, with little change in Sox9 expression, but a decrease in markers associated with chondroblast differentiation. Increased expression of tendon markers in Cyp26b1-/- animals The decrease in chondrogenic markers in Cyp26b1-/- cultures and the relatively small decreases in Sox genes led to the hypothesis that mesenchymal cells in Cyp26b1-/- animals are being maintained as chondroprogenitors, multi-potent progenitors or are being specified to an alternate cell fate. To address this possibility we examined the expression of other mesenchymal lineage markers, such as those associated with tendogenesis, as the Sox factors are expressed in this lineage (Soeda et al., 2010). Analysis of tendon markers in Cyp26b1-/- PLM culture by qPCR revealed an increase in Scx, Tnmd, and Col1a1 expression, and other markers of tendon development, in null cultures (Figure 11A and Appendix 4A) (Xu et al., 1997; Schweitzer et al., 2001; Docheva et al., 2005)). Visualisation of Scx expression, which is expressed in tendon progenitors, in Cyp26b1-/- animals expressing the ScxGFP+ transgene (Schweitzer et al., 2001; Pryce et al., 2007) demonstrates that Scx expression is increased in the forelimb of null animals when compared to wild-type littermates (Figures 11B and 11C). qPCR analysis of Scx expression in fore- and hindlimbs microdissected into proximal and distal regions also demonstrates that Scx expression is modestly increased in Cyp26b1-/- animals (Figure 11D).  44  To further examine the effect of retinoid signalling on tendon marker expression, PLM cultures established from the limbs of ScxGFP+ mice were treated with ketoconazole or DEAB in order to assess the distribution of Scx expression following modulation of endogenous RA signalling. Scx is excluded from developing cartilage nodules as reported previously (Asou et al., 2002) and a notable increase in EGFP expression is apparent in ketoconazole treated cultures. Conversely, treatment with DEAB leads to a reduction in EGFP expression (Figure 10E). Consistent with these findings, qPCR analysis of wild-type PLM cultures treated with ketoconazole demonstrate a significant increase in Scx expression after 1 and 3 days of culture; however, this is only apparent in cultures derived from the proximal region of the limb (Figure 10F). Conversely, treatment with DEAB leads to a reduction in Scx, Col1a1, and Tnmd expression in proximal cultures after 3 days (Figure 10F and Appendix 4B). TGF is a potent inducer of Scx expression, while BMPs negatively regulate the induction of tendon primordium in the limb (Schweitzer et al., 2001; Pryce et al., 2007). Treatment of PLM cultures established from ScxGFP+ embryos with TGF1 or BMP4 resulted in an increase and decrease, respectively, in EGFP expression. Notably, treatment with both TGF1 and BMP4 results in little EGFP expression, while treatment with both ketoconazole increased the ability of TGF1 to induce Scx expression (Figure 10G). Alcian blue staining demonstrates that cultures treated with compounds promoting Scx expression result in less cartilage formation, and vice versa (Appendix 4C). Together, these results indicate that increased retinoid signalling in the limb mesenchyme positively influences tendogenesis.  45  Figure 4. Limb malformations are less severe in Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl mice than Cyp26b1-/mice. A) External appearance of E18.5 embryos. B) Alcian blue and alizarin red staining of E18.5 skeletons. C) Alcian blue and alizarin red staining of E15.5 skeletons. The left limb is shown in all cases. Scale bar, 3.5mm. FL, forelimb; HL, hindlimb.  46  A E18.5  E18.5  Cyp26b1-/-  Cyp26b1+/+  Prrx1Cre+/ Cyp26b1fl/fl  Cyp26b1-/-  Cyp26b1+/+  Prrx1Cre+/ Cyp26b1fl/fl  Cyp26b1-/-  HL  FL  B  Cyp26b1+/+  Prrx1Cre+/ Cyp26b1fl/fl  FL  E15.5  HL  C  47  Figure 5. Retinoid signalling is increased in Cyp26b1-/- limbs and to a lesser extent in Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl limbs. A) X-gal staining of E12.5 and E14.5 limbs from wildtype, Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl, and Cyp26b1-/- mice heterozygous for the RARE-LacZ transgene. A dorsal view of the left limb is shown. B) Schematic representation an E12.5 limb bud showing the cuts made to generate forelimb proximal (FP) and distal (FD) and hindlimb proximal (HP) and distal (HD) regions. Analysis of Cyp26b1 and Rarb expression in these four regions of E12.5 limb buds by qPCR. Analysis was performed on single embryos and repeated with similar results. C) qPCR analysis of Cyp26a1, Aldh1a2, and Rarb expression in PLM cultures after 1 or 3 days of culture. D) RARE-LUC reporter activity in PLM cultures after 1, 3, or 8 days of culture, in the presence or absence of DEAB (10µM). Control was set as 100% for Cyp26b1+ on day 1. Scale bar, 2mm. Error bars represent 1 s.d. Significance was evaluated in comparison to wildtype untreated controls on the same day and is represented as follows: *p<0.05; **p<0.01; #p<0.001. FL, forelimb; HL, hindlimb; P, proximal; D, distal. Nd, 40 cycles of qPCR and transcript not detected; Rel. Express., relative expression; RLU, relative light units.  48  A Cyp26b1  +/+  + Prrx1Cre / fl/fl Cyp26b1  Cyp26b1  B  -/-  FP FD HP HD  Cyp26b1  HL  E12.5  Rel. Express. (%)  FL  250 P  200 150 100 50  nd  0  HL  E14.5  Rel. Express. (%)  FL  Cyp26b1  +/+  600 400  Cyp26a1 * *  Aldh1a2 120 80  +  Cyp26b1  *  40  0 Day 1  Day 3  Day 1  Day 3  0  + Prrx1Cre fl/fl /Cyp26b1  Cyp26b1  + Prrx1Cre fl/fl /Cyp26b1  Cyp26b1  +/+  -/-  Cyp26b1 Cyp26b1  * **  150  + -/-  **  *  250 200  -/-  *  #  300  120  *  nd nd nd nd  RARE-LUC #  Rarb  40 0  D  160  80  200  -/-  RLU (%)  Rel. Express. (%)  Cyp26b1  nd  Rarb  600 500 400 300 200 100 0  Cyp26b1  C  D  *  100  # #  50 0 Day 1  Day 3  -  +  Day 1  -  +  Day 3  -  + Day 8  DEAB  49  Figure 6. Chondrogenesis decreases in response to elevated levels of RA signalling. A) qPCR analysis of Sox9 and Acan expression in FP, FD, HP, and HD regions of E11.5 and E12.5 limb buds. B) A Col2a1-derived reporter gene (Col2-LUC) was used to follow SOX5, 6, and 9 activity in PLM cultures after 1, 3, or 8 days of culture with or without DEAB treatment (10µM). Control was set as 100% for Cyp26b1+ on day 1. C) Col2-LUC and RARE-LUC reporter activity after two days of culture following transient transfection of Cyp26a1 in PLM cultures. D) Col2-LUC and RARE-LUC reporter activity following treatment with BMP4 (B4, 20 ng/ml). Luciferase extracts were collected on day 3. Alcian blue staining of 4 day-old PLM cultures treated with BMP4. Error bars represent 1 s.d. Significance was evaluated in comparison to wildtype untreated controls on the same day and is represented as follows: *p<0.05; **p<0.01; #p<0.001.  50  Cyp26b1  Sox9  100  100  50  50  300 250 200 150 100 50 0  Col2-LUC RARE-LUC  *  ** Control  Cyp26a1  0 FP  FD  HP  HD  FP  Acan  250 Rel. Express. (%)  C  FD  HP  HD  Acan  300  D  Cyp26b1  +  Cyp26b1  200 RARE-LUC  200  150 100  100  #  50 0  0  FP  FD  HP  #  RLU (%)  Rel. Express. (%)  150  -/-  Sox9  200  150  0  Cyp26b1  E12.5  E11.5 200  +  RLU (%)  A  0  HD  FP  FD  HP  HD  500  400  400  B  Col2-LUC 500 RLU (%)  400  #  300  Cyp26b1  **  300  200  100  #  **  -  0  -  *  #  #  +  Day 1  -  +  Day 3  -  (-) * +  Day 8  -  -/-  **  **  0  B4  +  200 100  100  #  Cyp26b1  #  #  300  200  0 Cyp26b1  Col2-LUC  500  DEAB  B4  +/+  Cyp26b1  -/-  B4  -/-  51  Figure 7. Cells from Cyp26b1-/- limb mesenchyme express/retain markers indicative of precartilaginous condensations A) Peanut agglutinin (PNA) staining of PLM cultures treated with or without DEAB (10µM) for 1 or 5 days. Day 1 cultures were photographed with a higher exposure than day 5 cultures. B) qPCR analysis of condensation markers Sox9, Vcan, Tnc, and Twist1 in PLM cultures after 1 or 3 days of culture. Scale bar, 200µm. Error bars represent 1 s.d. Significance was evaluated in comparison to wildtype controls on the same day and is represented as follows: *p<0.05; **p<0.01; #p<0.001.  52  A  Control +  Cyp26b1  -/-  Cyp26b1  +  Cyp26b1  -/-  Day 5  Day 1  Cyp26b1  DEAB  B  Cyp26b1  Rel. Express. (%)  Sox9  Vcan  Tnc  120  300  80  80  200  80  40  40  100  40  Day 3  *  0  0 Day 1  Day 1  Day 3  Cyp26b1  Twist1  120  0  +  **  120  0 Day 1  Day 3  Day 1  Day 3  -/-  53  Figure 8. Prechondrogenic cells from Cyp26b1-/- animals exhibit reduced differentiation. A) Alcian blue staining of 4 and 8 day-old PLM cultures with or without DEAB treatment (10µM). B) qPCR analysis of differentiation markers Sox5, Sox6, Col2a1, Acan, Hapln1, Comp, Mia1, Matn1, and Cspg4 in PLM cultures after 1 or 3 days of culture. Scale bar, 1mm. Error bars represent 1 s.d. Significance was evaluated in comparison to wildtype controls on the same day and is represented as follows: *p<0.05; **p<0.01; #p<0.001. nd, 40 cycles of qPCR and transcript not detected.  54  A  B Control  Cyp26b1  DEAB  Sox5  Sox6  Rel. Express. (%)  + Cyp26b1  Day 4  180 120  80  40  -/-  Rel. Express. (%)  Cyp26b1 + Cyp26b1  Day 3  Day 3  Hapln1  Day 1  120  Day 3  Comp  800 800  80  600 400  400  * 0 Day 1  Day 3  Mia1 Rel. Express. (%)  **  0 Day 1  Acan  *  40  0  *  400 200 0 Day 1  200 0  10000  600  -/-  120 80  40  Day 1  Cyp26b1  160  80  0  Day 8  Cyp26b1  Col2a1  120  1200  +  Day 3  * Day 1  #  40  Day 3  0  Matn1  Day 1  nd Day 3  Cspg4 300  8000  *  400 300 200 100 0  *  nd nd  *  200 100 0  Day 1  Day 3  Day 1  Day 3  -/-  55  Figure 9. Cyp26b1-/- cells exhibit little change in hypertrophy. A) qPCR analysis of hypertrophic and osteoblast markers Pthrp, Ihh, Ptch1, Col10a1, Runx2, Alp1, Spp1, and Mmp13 in PLM cultures after 1 or 3 days of culture. B) The distribution of MMP13 was evaluated using immunofluorescence. A control with no primary antibody shows that staining is specific for MMP13 expression. For both cultures, the image was taken from the centre of the culture where cartilage nodules are present. Scale bar, 200µm. Error bars represent 1 s.d. Significance was evaluated in comparison to wildtype controls on the same day and is represented as follows: *p<0.05; **p<0.01; #p<0.001.  56  A  Cyp26b1  Pthrp  Rel. Express. (%)  250 200 150 100 50 0  *  *  Day 1 Day 3 Day 8  Rel. Express. (%)  Runx2 160  Ihh  Day 1 Day 3 Day 8  140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0  Alp1  1000  **  *  **  500 400  80  300  *  100  Cyp26b1  +  0  Ptch1  Day 1 Day 3 Day 8  Cyp26b1  -/-  2500  -/-  Col10a1  1500 1000  * Day 1 Day 3 Day 8  Spp1  *  0  2000  1200 800  200  400 Day 1 Day 3 Day 8  Day 1 Day 3 Day 8  Mmp13  1600  400  Secondary only  **  500  600  0  Cyp26b1  2000  800  200  40 Day 1 Day 3 Day 8  MMP13  600  120  0  B  140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0  +  0  * Day 1 Day 3 Day 8  57  Figure 10. Proximally-derived cells are more sensitive to changes in retinoid signalling. A) Alcian blue staining of 4 and 8 day-old PLM cultures established from the proximal (P) or distal (D) regions of wildtype limbs and treated with ketoconazole (keto, 1µM) or DEAB (10µM). B) Col2-LUC and RARE-LUC reporter activity in PLM cultures derived from P and D limb regions after 1, 3, or 8 days of culture with or without ketoconazole or DEAB treatment. C) qPCR analysis of chondroblast markers in the P and D cell populations after treatment with ketoconzaole or DEAB. RNA was collected after 3 days of culture. Scale bar, 2mm. Error bars represent 1 s.d. Numbers above each bar represent the fold-change from untreated control for each cell population. Significance was evaluated in comparison to untreated proximal or distal controls on the same day and is represented as follows: *p<0.05; **p<0.01; #p<0.001.  58  B  -  Day 1  *  2.6  + -  3.1  +  -  Day 3  + 10.0  2.7  2.0  **  -  + -  +  -  Day 1  *  + -  3.1  *  2.7  2.0  **  **  #  2.1  5.1  5.9  1.8  **  +  -  Day 3  + -  *  +  Keto DEAB  Day 8  C  Proximal  0  0 (-)  Keto  DEAB  0 (-)  Keto  DEAB  (-)  * Keto  DEAB  1000  **  0 (-)  Keto  *  2000  * DEAB  5.0  2000  1000 0  1.1  3000  ** 1.6  3000  2.8  400  40  4000  1.1  1.3 1.2  80  4000  4.3  40  2.6  2.2  80  800 1.2  **  120  1.3  120  1200 1.8  160  Hapln1  Acan  1600  2.3  *  1.4  *  1.1  1.6  2.2  160  Col2a1  200  Distal  1.2  Sox9  Cyp26b1 Rel. Express. (%)  Keto DEAB  *  4.7  RLU (%)  Distal Proximal  Day 8  #  #  +  Day 8  RARE-LUC 2500 2000 1500 1000 800 600 400 200 0  1.1  2.7  2.0  +  1.3  + -  **  *  2.8  -  2.7  1.2 1.6  **  ** * #  Distal  * *  **  *  6.3  Distal Proximal  Day 4  Col2-LUC  700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0  1.2  DEAB  2.0  Keto  RLU (%)  Control  Proximal  4.8  A  * (-)  Keto  DEAB  59  Figure 11. Limb mesenchyme from Cyp26b1-/- exhibit increases in the expression of tendon markers. A) qPCR analysis of tendon markers Scx, Tnmd, and Col1a1 in PLM cultures derived from wildtype and Cyp26b1-/- mice after 1 or 3 days of culture. B) Visualization of EGFP expression in E12.5 Cyp26b1+/+ and Cyp26b1-/- mice expressing the ScxGFP+ transgene. Scale bar, 1.25mm. C) Visualization of EGFP expression in limbs from E12.5 Cyp26b1+/+ and Cyp26b1-/mice expressing the ScxGFP+ transgene. Scale bar, 1.25mm. D) qPCR analysis of Scx expression in microdissected limbs from Cyp26b1+/+ and Cyp26b1-/- mice. E) PLM cultures derived from ScxGFP+ mice were treated with ketoconazole (keto, 1µM) or DEAB (10µM) and EGFP expression was visualized after 1, 3, and 8 days of culture. Scale bar, 200µm. F) qPCR analysis of Scx expression in PLM cultures treated with ketoconazole or DEAB and cultured for 1, 3, or 8 days. G) PLM cultures established from ScxGFP+ mice were treated with Tgfb1 (Tb1, 2 ng/ml), BMP4 (B4, 20 ng/ml), and/or ketoconazole (1µM), and EGFP expression was visualised after 8 days. Scale bar, 200µm. Note that EGFP expression was exposed to different intensities in panels E and G. Error bars represent 1 s.d. Significance was evaluated in comparison to untreated proximal or distal controls from the same day and is represented as follows: *p<0.05; **p<0.01; #p<0.001.  60  Cyp26b1  200 100  Col1a1  600 500  Tnmd  *  400  400  300  300  200  200  *  D Forelimb  Day 3  Day 1  Day 3  Day 1  C Hindlimb  Cyp26b1  E12.5  +  Cyp26b1  +/+  Rel. Express. (%)  E12.5  -/-  -/-  150 100 50  Scx  *  *  120  Distal  FD  HP  *  40  - + - Day 1  +  - + - - +  - + - - +  Day 3  Day 8  Keto DEAB  Day 1  Day 3  Day 8  HD  Keto  Tb1 +Keto  Tb1 +B4  G Control  80  0  Proximal  FP  Day 8 Day 1  Rel. Express. (%)  160  E  200  0  F  -/-  Scx  250  +/+  + -/ScxGFP /Cyp26b1  0  0 Day 3  Day 1  + +/+ ScxGFP /Cyp26b1  100  100 0  B  -/-  (-)  Rel. Express. (%)  *  Cyp26b1  E12.5  Scx  300  +  DEAB Keto  A  Tb1  B4  61  CHAPTER 4: DISCUSSION The limb defects observed in Cyp26b1-/- and Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl mice are characteristic of RA teratogenecity. For many years it has been believed that RA plays an instructive role in limb patterning by acting as a “proximalizing” morphogenetic factor, and that the limb malformations in Cyp26b1-/- mice result from a shortening of the proximo-distal axis (Yashiro et al., 2004). However, new evidence suggests that RA is dispensable for early limb patterning, as Aldh1a2/3 double knockout mice have normal hindlimb development and disruption of Rarg partially rescues the Cyp26b1-/- limb phenotype despite altered P-D gene expression (Zhao et al., 2009; Pennimpede et al., 2010b). In this work, we demonstrate that the severity of limb malformations in Cyp26b1-/- mice is tightly correlated to levels of retinoid signalling, and that a lack of Cyp26b1 negatively impacts chondogenesis before the onset of Ihh signalling, and positively afterwards. Similar to recent reports on X-irradiation induced phocomelia in chicks, in which the pre-chondrogenic mesenchyme is depleted, the impact of RA on chondrogenesis results in an insufficient number of chondrocytes and subsequent defects in the proper formation of skeletal elements (Galloway et al., 2009). This suggests that the limb phenotype in Cyp26b1-/- animals is not due to changes in patterning, but as a result of defects in the execution of a patterning program. In this study, we have used the Cyp26b1-/- limb as a model to examine the precise role of endogenous RA signalling in chondrogenesis. Regulation of chondrogenesis by RA The first step in the chondrogenic program is the migration of mesenchymal cells from the lateral plate mesoderm to presumptive sites of limb formation, where committed prechondrogenic cells become tightly packed and form precartilaginous condensations (Hall and Miyake, 2000). Cyp26b1-/- cells express early condensation markers such as Sox9, which is 62  essential for the commitment of mesenchymal cells towards the chondrogenic lineage, and appear to form condensations. However, Cyp26b1-/- cells exhibit a significant decrease in differentiation. Previous studies have demonstrated a requirement for RAR-mediated repression for chondroblast differentiation, and this work demonstrates for the first time that this requirement is also necessary in vivo (Weston et al., 2000; Weston et al., 2002). As Aldh1a2 is expressed in regions that do not form cartilage (Hoffman et al., 2006), it is likely that levels of RA decrease in the centre of condensations where RA cannot diffuse to, allowing some cells to escape the effects of increased RA in Cyp26b1-/- condensations and differentiate. Fewer, but much larger, cartilage nodules form, indicating that cells remain and expand in the condensation stage for a long time before their eventual differentiation. Treatment with DEAB is not able to rescue Cyp26b1-/- cells, demonstrating that short-term exposure to RA is sufficient to interfere with differentiation. Furthermore, while all limb mesenchyme is very sensitive to changes in endogenous retinoid signalling, proximally-derived cells from the limb, which differentiate before more distal cells, are most affected. Altogether, these results indicate that RA affects prechondrogenic cells at the timing of differentiation and blocks their progression to becoming differentiated chondrocytes. RA and chondrocyte hypertrophy Previous studies have demonstrated that retinoids act to promote the transition from prehypertrophy to hypertrophy during endochondral ossification in the developing limb (Koyama et al., 1999). Concurrent with this, we have demonstrated that Cyp26b1-/- cells, with the exception of Ptrhp and Ihh, exhibit modest changes in the expression of hypertrophic-associated markers. The small decrease in Col10, Alp1, and Mmp13 expression and the delay in  63  mineralization likely result from the decrease in chondrogenic differentiation and the formation of fewer, although larger, cartilage nodules. Growth plates sustain skeletal growth through the proliferation of chondrocytes, matrix synthesis and accumulation, and chondrocyte hypertrophy. The growth plate is divided into two zones, the upper zone which contains immature chondrocytes, maintained by PTHrP signalling, and the lower zone, which contains Ihh-expressing prehypertrophic and maturing hypertrophic chondrocytes. PTHrP regulates the expression of Ihh, which controls chondrocyte proliferation, and Ihh in turn regulates Pthrp expression, creating a feedback system that controls the growth of skeletal elements (Kronenberg, 2006). The hypertrophic portions of the growth plate have been shown to contain higher levels of endogenous retinoid signalling than the upper, immature zones and a requirement for RAR-mediated repression in the upper growth plate zone has been shown to maintain chondrocyte function and prevent hypertrophy (Williams et al., 2009; Williams et al., 2010). Previous studies have suggested that RA-mediated repression of target gene expression in the upper zone is necessary to maintain physiologic Ihh expression levels (Koyama et al., 1999). We demonstrate in this study that an increase in retinoid signalling substantially decreases Ihh expression. Consequently, hypertrophic chondrocytes emerge earlier, with less growth having occurred, and this may partly explain the observed truncation of skeletal elements. The role of RA upstream of Ihh is further exemplified by the striking resemblance between Cyp26b1-/- and Ihh-/- limbs (St-Jacques et al., 1999). Our findings indicate that RA has a negative impact on chondrogenesis before activation of Ihh signalling, and a positive impact on chondrocyte hypertrophy.  64  RA and multipotent mesenchymal cells - cell fate lineage decisions Multi-potent mesenchymal cells derived from the lateral plate mesoderm have the ability to contribute to lineages such as cartilage, bone, fat, and tendon. We investigated whether Cyp26b1-/- cells have the potential to contribute to lineages other than chondogenic, and chose to focus on the tenogenic lineage, with the reasoning that tenocyte differentiation is most closely associated to chondrocyte differentiation. The two lineages share early molecular mechanisms during mesenchyme condensation and close interactions between cartilage and tendon exist during development. An up-regulation of tendon markers was observed in Cyp26b1-/- cells, indicating that the decrease in chondrogenesis reflects an increase in commitment to tenogenesis, and potentially other lineages. Notably, cells from the proximally-derived region of the limb were most affected, similar to what was observed with the decrease in chondrogenesis. It is unlikely that functional tenocytes are forming as previous studies have shown that the presence of excess tendon progenitors did not lead to the production of additional or longer tendons, indicating that additional signals are required for the development of a tendon, or because of a reliance on muscle formation (Schweitzer et al., 2001). It appears that Cyp26b1-/- cells maintain the ability to commit to mesenchymal lineages other than chondrogenic. This is not due to the inhibition of cartilage differentiation because treatment with BMP4, which would normally drive chondrocyte differentiation, had little impact. This is consistent with earlier reports that RA is operating downstream of BMPs to impact chondrogenesis (Hoffman et al., 2006). This suggests that RA is actively promoting the maintenance of an undifferentiated progenitor state. It is likely that this is a normal physiological role of RA, as very high levels of retinoids are found in the perichondrium, which is an important source of undifferentiated skeletal precursors during skeletal development, 65  growth and homeostasis (Koyama et al., 1999). RA is likely maintaining the potential of mesenchymal cells through the up-regulation of both Twist1 and Fgf18, a direct RAR-target gene, both of which repress chondrocyte differentiation, are expressed in the perichondrium, and were found to be significantly elevated in Cyp26b1-/- cells (Hinoi et al., 2006; Delacroix et al., 2010). A similar mechanism is observed in the adult and developing forebrain, in which a precursor population of cells in the subventricular zone has been shown to exhibit activated RA signalling (Haskell and LaMantia, 2005). Collectively, these findings highlight an important role for endogenous RA signalling in regulating expression of the chondroblastic phenotype and in maintenance of progenitor cell plasticity (Figure 12).  66  Figure 12. A model for the role of RA in regulating mesenchymal cell fate during limb development. Retinoid signalling maintains the potential of mesenchymal cells and inhibits chondroblast differentiation. RA signalling has a negative impact on chondrogenesis before activation of Ihh signalling, after which RA signalling has a positive impact on chondrocyte hypertrophy.  67  Mesenchymal Progenitor Runx2 lo Sox9 lo Scx lo  Chondro Progenitor Col2a1lo Sox6 lo Sox9 mid  Chondroblast/ Chondrocyte Col2a1hi Sox6 hi Acan hi Sox9 hi  Pre-hypertrophic chondrocyte Col2a1hi Sox9 hi Acan hi Ihh hi  RA RA Tendon Sox9 lo Progenitor Scx mid  Scx hi Tenocyte Tnmd hi hi Col1a1  R RA  Hypertrophic chondrocyte Runx2 hi Sox9 lo hi Col10a1  68  CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION In this thesis, I have shown that limb defects resulting from increased retinoid signalling are likely due to a defect in the execution of a patterning program, but not in the patterning program per se. Using Cyp26b1-/- and Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl animals, I have shown that limb defects are more severe with increased levels of retinoid signalling, which acts to inhibit chondroblast differentiation. This results in an insufficient number of skeletal precursor cells and defects in the proper formation of skeletal elements. The decrease in chondrogenesis likely reflects the maintenance of an undifferentiated state, and cells appear to have the ability to contribute to several lineages. Discussion of goals 1. Generation and characterization of a transgenic mouse with delayed deletion of Cyp26b1: A Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl mouse, in which Cyp26b1 is deleted under the direction of the Prrx1 promoter, was generated. Analysis demonstrated that a very small amount of Cyp26b1 expression remained at E11.5-12.5. When compared to Cyp26b1-/- embryos, RA signalling was increased to a lesser extent, and limb defects were less severe, in Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl animals.  2. Investigate the effect of increased RA signalling on different stages of the chondrogenic program PLM cultures were established from wildtype and Cyp26b1-/- cells in order to investigate the impact of increased retinoid signalling on the chondrogenic program.  69  Cyp26b1-/- cells formed prechondrogenic condensations, but exhibited a large decrease in chondroblast differentiation. There was a minimal impact on hypertrophy, which likely resulted from the decrease in chondrocyte differentiation. Cells from the proximal region of the limb bud were more affected by modulation of endogenous retinoid signalling when compared to distally-derived cells. The in vitro culture analysis was further validated in vivo with qPCR, and a good correlation was found between the two systems.  3. Determine the mechanism by which increased levels of RA affect skeletal development Cyp26b1-/- cells exhibited an increase in the expression of tendon markers (Scx, Col1a1, Tnmd) both in culture and in vivo. Modulation of endogenous retinoid signalling with ketoconazole or DEAB in wildtype micromass cultures also affected the expression of tenocyte markers, and to a greater extent in proximal cultures, where chondrogenesis was found to be most impacted. This indicates that retinoid signalling blocks differentiation and maintains cells in an undifferentiated state with the potential to contribute to multiple lineages.  The research presented in this thesis provides evidence that supports our hypothesis that the limb defects resulting from increased retinoid signalling are due to defects in the execution of a patterning program. Significance of research This work is the first to demonstrate that RAR-mediated repression is necessary for chondroblast differentiation in vivo, and that retinoid signalling can impact tenocyte fate determination. This research provides a valuable contribution to several fields, most notably: 70  Developmental biology This work contributes to the debate on the role of RA in skeletal patterning and provides further evidence that RA is likely dispensable for limb patterning. Importantly, this work reinterprets the mechanisms underlying the limb defects present in Cyp26b1-/- mice, which were previously attributed to a shortening of the P-D axis. Additionally, this research contributes to furthering our understanding of how limb morphogenesis is organized and provides insights into the role of RA in cartilage and tendon development. Cell science This work contributes to our understanding of the functional potential of cells and the mechanisms that underlie their differentiation. We have demonstrated that the presence of excess RA can affect the development of chondrocytes and tenocytes and this work highlights the role of RA in achieving specific cell fates in the developing limb. Strengths and limitations Strengths This research is technically strong in that it involves a thorough analysis of chondrogenesis at the molecular and cellular level using well-established, accurate, and reliable methods such as the micromass system and encompasses a wide variety of techniques. Several assays were used to demonstrate the same findings; for example, reporter assays, qPCR, and RARE-LacZ analysis was used to analysed activated retinoid signalling, while reporter assays, qPCR, and a variety of cell staining techniques were used to analyse chondrogenesis. Importantly, this work utilizes in vivo models (conventional and conditional knockout mice, as well as transgenic GFP expressing mice), which are invaluable to furthering our understanding of the mechanisms that underlie development. 71  Limitations There were very few significant limitations while performing this research. One potential weakness is that ketoconazole is not a specific CYP26B1 inhibitor, but also inhibits the activity of CYP26A1 and other P450 enzymes that may be playing a compensatory role in Cyp26b1-/animals. However, ketoconazole has been used in previous studies successfully and was sufficient for my experiments (Hoffman et al., 2006). It was difficult to properly assess the impact of increased levels of retinoid signalling on hypertrophy as defects in earlier stages of the chondrogenic program affected accurate evaluation of later stages. For example, it was difficult to assess changes in gene expression with confidence when fewer nodules were present in Cyp26b1-/- cultures compared to wildtype, as fewer nodules will result in less transcript production. However, this was circumvented by immunostaining of hypertrophic markers, and qualitative comparison of expression levels between the nodules that did form. Finally, it would be ideal to repeat some of the experiments, such as reporter assays and qPCR, in this thesis with PLM cultures from Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl mice to demonstrate that a smaller increase in levels of retinoid signalling (compared to Cyp26b1-/- mice) results in a greater amount of chondroblast differentiation occurring in vivo. It would also be interesting to cross the Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl mice to ScxGFP+ mice to visualise Scx expression. Potential applications of research findings During development, cartilage provides a foundation for most of the skeleton, and elucidating the network of events that underlie chondrogenesis will improve our current understanding of diseases associated with chondrogenic and skeletal abnormalities. In adults, remnants of embryonic cartilage are found at the articular surfaces of bones, and approximately 72  10% of the Canadian population suffers from osteoarthritis, a disease in which the articular cartilage is destroyed. This causes a reduction in joint mobility and pain, and the regenerative capacity of cartilage is very limited. Many of the reparative processes in the adult involve recapitulation of the embryonic program and therefore a better understanding of how RA regulates cartilage formation will enable the development of treatments aimed at stimulating cartilage repair and/or regeneration in the adult. Additionally, Crabp2, a RA-responsive gene, has been shown to be up-regulated in cases of osteoarthritis and it has been proposed that retinoid signalling may play a central role in osteoarthritis (Davies et al., 2009; Welch et al., 2009). This gives further therapeutic cause for understanding the role of RA in cartilage formation because components of the retinoid signalling pathway may provide potential targets for therapeutic intervention. The ultimate goal is directed cellular regeneration or repair of damaged and diseased musculoskeletal tissue. The information gained from these studies will aid our understanding of the basic processes that regulate cartilage and tendon formation. This will impact efforts to enhance repair and also in directing the differentiation of multi-potential progenitor or stem cells towards a chondrocyte or tenocyte fate for cartilage and tendon repair. Future research directions There are several different directions for future work. Firstly, the expression of patterning genes was not addressed in theses studies. Determining whether segment specification is altered between Prrx1Cre+/Cyp26b1fl/fl and Cyp26b1-/- mice, despite the difference in severity of limb defects, would provide further insights as to the role of RA in limb patterning. In future experiments, in situ hybridization and qPCR could be used to examine the  73  expression of markers such as Meis1, Meis2 and Shox2 (stylopod), Hoxa11 (zeugopod), and Hoxa13 and Hoxd13 (autopod). Another potential line of work could be focused on examining the role of RA in tenogenesis. Very little is known about the molecular mechanisms that underlie tenogenesis, and we have demonstrated for the first time that the anti-chondrogenic properties of RA reflect a positive effect on tenocyte differentiation. Future experiments would focus on elucidating the role of retinoid signalling in tenocyte formation – whether RA is promoting a fully developed tenocyte fate, or simply maintaining mesenchymal cells in an undifferentiated state with the potential to contribute to multiple lineages. Additionally, future experiments could examine the impact on other lineages such as osteogenic and adipogenic. The role of RA in skeletogenesis could be further examined by generating a temporal knockout of Cyp26b1 to assess the role of Cyp26b1 at later stages in development. By crossing Cyp26b1fl/fl mice to Rosa26CreERT2 transgenic mice, Cyp26b1 can be deleted at any time with tamoxifen injections that activate Cre recombinase. This could be performed at E10-11, when patterning has been specified, in order to validate that RA is dispensable for patterning, or to properly assess the impact of a lack of Cyp26b1 expression on hypertrophy after differentiation has occurred. In addition, conditional deletion of Cyp26b1 using transgenic Col2- and Col10Cre expressing mice would allow for analysis of the role of Cyp26b1 before and after hypertrophy, respectively. As Cyp26b1-/- mice are embryonic lethal, generation of these conditional knockout mouse strains would be crucial to evaluate of the role of Cyp26b1 in adult bone metabolism. Finally, another transgenic mouse that would provide valuable insights as to the role of RA signalling in skeletogenesis, is a Cyp26b1 over-expression transgenic. I predict that this 74  mouse would present with increased cartilage formation and ectopic cartilage in the limb, and characterizing the phenotype of a Cyp26b1 over-expressing mouse would compliment the lossof-function approach already taken. This would allow us to directly test the effect of a deficiency of RA in chondrogenesis. Ultimately, identification of the downstream targets of retinoid signalling, using both Cyp26b1 knockout and over-expression transgenic mice, will provide insights as to the role of retinoid signalling in chondrogenesis and skeletal development.  75  REFERENCES Abu-Abed S, Dolle P, Metzger D, Beckett B, Chambon P, Petkovich M. 2001. The retinoic acidmetabolizing enzyme, CYP26A1, is essential for normal hindbrain patterning, vertebral identity, and development of posterior structures. Genes Dev 15:226-240. Abu-Abed S, MacLean G, Fraulob V, Chambon P, Petkovich M, Dolle P. 2002. Differential expression of the retinoic acid-metabolizing enzymes CYP26A1 and CYP26B1 during murine organogenesis. Mech Dev 110:173-177. Adams CS, Shapiro IM. 2002. The fate of the terminally differentiated chondrocyte: evidence for microenvironmental regulation of chondrocyte apoptosis. Crit Rev Oral Biol Med 13:465-473. Ahrens PB, Solursh M, Reiter RS. 1977. Stage-related capacity for limb chondrogenesis in cell culture. Dev Biol 60:69-82. Akiyama H, Chaboissier MC, Martin JF, Schedl A, de Crombrugghe B. 2002. The transcription factor Sox9 has essential roles in successive steps of the chondrocyte differentiation pathway and is required for expression of Sox5 and Sox6. Genes Dev 16:2813-2828. Akiyama H, Kim JE, Nakashima K, Balmes G, Iwai N, Deng JM, Zhang Z, Martin JF, Behringer RR, Nakamura T, de Crombrugghe B. 2005. Osteo-chondroprogenitor cells are derived from Sox9 expressing precursors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 102:14665-14670. Asou Y, Nifuji A, Tsuji K, Shinomiya K, Olson EN, Koopman P, Noda M. 2002. Coordinated expression of scleraxis and Sox9 genes during embryonic development of tendons and cartilage. J Orthop Res 20:827-833. Barna M, Niswander L. 2007. Visualization of cartilage formation: insight into cellular properties of skeletal progenitors and chondrodysplasia syndromes. Dev Cell 12:931-941. Bell DM, Leung KK, Wheatley SC, Ng LJ, Zhou S, Ling KW, Sham MH, Koopman P, Tam PP, Cheah KS. 1997. SOX9 directly regulates the type-II collagen gene. Nat Genet 16:174178. Brockes JP. 1997. Amphibian limb regeneration: rebuilding a complex structure. Science 276:81-87. Cash DE, Bock CB, Schughart K, Linney E, Underhill TM. 1997. Retinoic acid receptor alpha function in vertebrate limb skeletogenesis: a modulator of chondrogenesis. J Cell Biol 136:445-457.  76  Colnot C, de la Fuente L, Huang S, Hu D, Lu C, St-Jacques B, Helms JA. 2005. Indian hedgehog synchronizes skeletal angiogenesis and perichondrial maturation with cartilage development. Development 132:1057-1067. Colnot CI, Helms JA. 2001. A molecular analysis of matrix remodeling and angiogenesis during long bone development. Mech Dev 100:245-250. Crawford K, Stocum DL. 1988. Retinoic acid coordinately proximalizes regenerate pattern and blastema differential affinity in axolotl limbs. Development 102:687-698. Davies MR, Ribeiro LR, Downey-Jones M, Needham MR, Oakley C, Wardale J. 2009. Ligands for retinoic acid receptors are elevated in osteoarthritis and may contribute to pathologic processes in the osteoarthritic joint. Arthritis Rheum 60:1722-1732. De Crombrugghe B, Akiyama H, editors. 2009. Transcriptional control of chondrocyte differentiation. Cold Spring Harbour: Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory Press. 147-170 pp. de Crombrugghe B, Lefebvre V, Behringer RR, Bi W, Murakami S, Huang W. 2000. Transcriptional mechanisms of chondrocyte differentiation. Matrix Biol 19:389-394. Delacroix L, Moutier E, Altobelli G, Legras S, Poch O, Choukrallah MA, Bertin I, Jost B, Davidson I. 2010. Cell-specific interaction of retinoic acid receptors with target genes in mouse embryonic fibroblasts and embryonic stem cells. Mol Cell Biol 30:231-244. DeLise AM, Fischer L, Tuan RS. 2000. Cellular interactions and signaling in cartilage development. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 8:309-334. Docheva D, Hunziker EB, Fassler R, Brandau O. 2005. Tenomodulin is necessary for tenocyte proliferation and tendon maturation. Mol Cell Biol 25:699-705. Duester G. 2008. Retinoic acid synthesis and signaling during early organogenesis. Cell 134:921-931. Dupe V, Ghyselinck NB, Thomazy V, Nagy L, Davies PJ, Chambon P, Mark M. 1999. Essential roles of retinoic acid signaling in interdigital apoptosis and control of BMP-7 expression in mouse autopods. Dev Biol 208:30-43. Ede D, editor. 1983. Cellular condensations and chondrogenesis. New York: Academic Press. 143-185 pp. Fujii H, Sato T, Kaneko S, Gotoh O, Fujii-Kuriyama Y, Osawa K, Kato S, Hamada H. 1997. Metabolic inactivation of retinoic acid by a novel P450 differentially expressed in developing mouse embryos. EMBO J 16:4163-4173. 77  Galloway JL, Delgado I, Ros MA, Tabin CJ. 2009. A reevaluation of X-irradiation-induced phocomelia and proximodistal limb patterning. Nature 460:400-404. Germain P, Chambon P, Eichele G, Evans RM, Lazar MA, Leid M, De Lera AR, Lotan R, Mangelsdorf DJ, Gronemeyer H. 2006. International Union of Pharmacology. LX. Retinoic acid receptors. Pharmacol Rev 58:712-725. Gibert Y, Gajewski A, Meyer A, Begemann G. 2006. Induction and prepatterning of the zebrafish pectoral fin bud requires axial retinoic acid signaling. Development 133:26492659. Hall BK, Miyake T. 1992. The membranous skeleton: the role of cell condensations in vertebrate skeletogenesis. Anat Embryol (Berl) 186:107-124. Hall BK, Miyake T. 2000. All for one and one for all: condensations and the initiation of skeletal development. Bioessays 22:138-147. Haskell GT, LaMantia AS. 2005. Retinoic acid signaling identifies a distinct precursor population in the developing and adult forebrain. J Neurosci 25:7636-7647. Healy C, Uwanogho D, Sharpe PT. 1996. Expression of the chicken Sox9 gene marks the onset of cartilage differentiation. Ann N Y Acad Sci 785:261-262. Healy C, Uwanogho D, Sharpe PT. 1999. Regulation and role of Sox9 in cartilage formation. Dev Dyn 215:69-78. Helms JA, Kim CH, Eichele G, Thaller C. 1996. Retinoic acid signaling is required during early chick limb development. Development 122:1385-1394. Hinoi E, Bialek P, Chen YT, Rached MT, Groner Y, Behringer RR, Ornitz DM, Karsenty G. 2006. Runx2 inhibits chondrocyte proliferation and hypertrophy through its expression in the perichondrium. Genes Dev 20:2937-2942. Hoffman LM, Garcha K, Karamboulas K, Cowan MF, Drysdale LM, Horton WA, Underhill TM. 2006. BMP action in skeletogenesis involves attenuation of retinoid signaling. J Cell Biol 174:101-113. Ikeda T, Kamekura S, Mabuchi A, Kou I, Seki S, Takato T, Nakamura K, Kawaguchi H, Ikegawa S, Chung UI. 2004. The combination of SOX5, SOX6, and SOX9 (the SOX trio) provides signals sufficient for induction of permanent cartilage. Arthritis Rheum 50:3561-3573. Ito Y, Toriuchi N, Yoshitaka T, Ueno-Kudoh H, Sato T, Yokoyama S, Nishida K, Akimoto T, Takahashi M, Miyaki S, Asahara H. 2010. The Mohawk homeobox gene is a critical regulator of tendon differentiation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107:10538-10542. 78  Kalter H, Warkany J. 1961. Experimental production of congenital malformations in strains of inbred mice by maternal treatment with hypervitaminosis A. Am J Pathol 38:1-21. Karamboulas K, Dranse HJ, Underhill TM. 2010. Regulation of BMP-dependent chondrogenesis in early limb mesenchyme by TGFbeta signals. J Cell Sci 123:2068-2076. Kimura A, Inose H, Yano F, Fujita K, Ikeda T, Sato S, Iwasaki M, Jinno T, Ae K, Fukumoto S, Takeuchi Y, Itoh H, Imamura T, Kawaguchi H, Chung UI, Martin JF, Iseki S, Shinomiya K, Takeda S. 2010. Runx1 and Runx2 cooperate during sternal morphogenesis. Development 137:1159-1167. Koyama E, Golden EB, Kirsch T, Adams SL, Chandraratna RA, Michaille JJ, Pacifici M. 1999. Retinoid signaling is required for chondrocyte maturation and endochondral bone formation during limb skeletogenesis. Dev Biol 208:375-391. Kronenberg HM. 2006. PTHrP and skeletal development. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1068:1-13. Kronenberg HM, McMahon AP, Tabin C, editors. 2009. Growth Factors and Chondrogenesis. Cold Spring Harbour: Cold Spring Harbour University Press. Kwasigroch TE, Kochhar DM. 1980. Production of congenital limb defects with retinoic acid: phenomenological evidence of progressive differentiation during limb morphogenesis. Anat Embryol (Berl) 161:105-113. Lammer EJ, Chen DT, Hoar RM, Agnish ND, Benke PJ, Braun JT, Curry CJ, Fernhoff PM, Grix AW, Jr., Lott IT, et al. 1985. Retinoic acid embryopathy. N Engl J Med 313:837-841. Lefebvre V. 2002. Toward understanding the functions of the two highly related Sox5 and Sox6 genes. J Bone Miner Metab 20:121-130. Lefebvre V, Huang W, Harley VR, Goodfellow PN, de Crombrugghe B. 1997. SOX9 is a potent activator of the chondrocyte-specific enhancer of the pro alpha1(II) collagen gene. Mol Cell Biol 17:2336-2346. Lefebvre V, Li P, de Crombrugghe B. 1998. A new long form of Sox5 (L-Sox5), Sox6 and Sox9 are coexpressed in chondrogenesis and cooperatively activate the type II collagen gene. EMBO J 17:5718-5733. Lefebvre V, Smits P. 2005. Transcriptional control of chondrocyte fate and differentiation. Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today 75:200-212. Lewandoski M, Mackem S. 2009. Limb development: the rise and fall of retinoic acid. Curr Biol 19:R558-561.  79  Logan M, Martin JF, Nagy A, Lobe C, Olson EN, Tabin CJ. 2002. Expression of Cre Recombinase in the developing mouse limb bud driven by a Prxl enhancer. Genesis 33:77-80. Lohnes D, Mark M, Mendelsohn C, Dolle P, Dierich A, Gorry P, Gansmuller A, Chambon P. 1994. Function of the retinoic acid receptors (RARs) during development (I). Craniofacial and skeletal abnormalities in RAR double mutants. Development 120:27232748. MacLean G, Abu-Abed S, Dolle P, Tahayato A, Chambon P, Petkovich M. 2001. Cloning of a novel retinoic-acid metabolizing cytochrome P450, Cyp26B1, and comparative expression analysis with Cyp26A1 during early murine development. Mech Dev 107:195-201. Maclean G, Dolle P, Petkovich M. 2009. Genetic disruption of CYP26B1 severely affects development of neural crest derived head structures, but does not compromise hindbrain patterning. Dev Dyn 238:732-745. MacLean G, Li H, Metzger D, Chambon P, Petkovich M. 2007. Apoptotic extinction of germ cells in testes of Cyp26b1 knockout mice. Endocrinology 148:4560-4567. Maden M. 1982. Vitamin A and pattern formation in the regenerating limb. Nature 295:672-675. Maes C, Kobayashi T, Selig MK, Torrekens S, Roth SI, Mackem S, Carmeliet G, Kronenberg HM. 2010. Osteoblast precursors, but not mature osteoblasts, move into developing and fractured bones along with invading blood vessels. Dev Cell 19:329-344. Mark M, Ghyselinck NB, Chambon P. 2006. Function of retinoid nuclear receptors: lessons from genetic and pharmacological dissections of the retinoic acid signaling pathway during mouse embryogenesis. Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol 46:451-480. Mark M, Ghyselinck NB, Chambon P. 2009. Function of retinoic acid receptors during embryonic development. Nucl Recept Signal 7:e002. McLeod MJ. 1980. Differential staining of cartilage and bone in whole mouse fetuses by alcian blue and alizarin red S. Teratology 22:299-301. Mercader N, Leonardo E, Piedra ME, Martinez AC, Ros MA, Torres M. 2000. Opposing RA and FGF signals control proximodistal vertebrate limb development through regulation of Meis genes. Development 127:3961-3970. Mic FA, Haselbeck RJ, Cuenca AE, Duester G. 2002. Novel retinoic acid generating activities in the neural tube and heart identified by conditional rescue of Raldh2 null mutant mice. Development 129:2271-2282.  80  Mic FA, Sirbu IO, Duester G. 2004. Retinoic acid synthesis controlled by Raldh2 is required early for limb bud initiation and then later as a proximodistal signal during apical ectodermal ridge formation. J Biol Chem 279:26698-26706. Mollard R, Viville S, Ward SJ, Decimo D, Chambon P, Dolle P. 2000. Tissue-specific expression of retinoic acid receptor isoform transcripts in the mouse embryo. Mech Dev 94:223-232. Muramatsu S, Wakabayashi M, Ohno T, Amano K, Ooishi R, Sugahara T, Shiojiri S, Tashiro K, Suzuki Y, Nishimura R, Kuhara S, Sugano S, Yoneda T, Matsuda A. 2007. Functional gene screening system identified TRPV4 as a regulator of chondrogenic differentiation. J Biol Chem 282:32158-32167. Niederreither K, Dolle P. 2008. Retinoic acid in development: towards an integrated view. Nat Rev Genet 9:541-553. Niederreither K, Subbarayan V, Dolle P, Chambon P. 1999. Embryonic retinoic acid synthesis is essential for early mouse post-implantation development. Nat Genet 21:444-448. Niederreither K, Vermot J, Messaddeq N, Schuhbaur B, Chambon P, Dolle P. 2001. Embryonic retinoic acid synthesis is essential for heart morphogenesis in the mouse. Development 128:1019-1031. Niederreither K, Vermot J, Schuhbaur B, Chambon P, Dolle P. 2000. Retinoic acid synthesis and hindbrain patterning in the mouse embryo. Development 127:75-85. Niswander L. 2003. Pattern formation: old models out on a limb. Nat Rev Genet 4:133-143. Niswander L, Tickle C, Vogel A, Booth I, Martin GR. 1993. FGF-4 replaces the apical ectodermal ridge and directs outgrowth and patterning of the limb. Cell 75:579-587. Okazaki K, Sandell LJ. 2004. Extracellular matrix gene regulation. Clin Orthop Relat Res:S123128. Olsen BR, Reginato AM, Wang W. 2000. Bone development. Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol 16:191220. Parr BA, McMahon AP. 1995. Dorsalizing signal Wnt-7a required for normal polarity of D-V and A-P axes of mouse limb. Nature 374:350-353. Pearse RV, 2nd, Scherz PJ, Campbell JK, Tabin CJ. 2007. A cellular lineage analysis of the chick limb bud. Dev Biol 310:388-400. Pennimpede T, Cameron DA, Maclean GA, Li H, Abu-Abed S, Petkovich M. 2010a. The role of CYP26 enzymes in defining appropriate retinoic acid exposure during embryogenesis. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. 81  Pennimpede T, Cameron DA, MacLean GA, Petkovich M. 2010b. Analysis of Cyp26b1/Rarg compound-null mice reveals two genetically separable effects of retinoic acid on limb outgrowth. Dev Biol 339:179-186. Pogue R, Lyons K. 2006. BMP signaling in the cartilage growth plate. Curr Top Dev Biol 76:148. Pryce BA, Brent AE, Murchison ND, Tabin CJ, Schweitzer R. 2007. Generation of transgenic tendon reporters, ScxGFP and ScxAP, using regulatory elements of the scleraxis gene. Dev Dyn 236:1677-1682. Pryce BA, Watson SS, Murchison ND, Staverosky JA, Dunker N, Schweitzer R. 2009. Recruitment and maintenance of tendon progenitors by TGFbeta signaling are essential for tendon formation. Development 136:1351-1361. Ray WJ, Bain G, Yao M, Gottlieb DI. 1997. CYP26, a novel mammalian cytochrome P450, is induced by retinoic acid and defines a new family. J Biol Chem 272:18702-18708. Reinhold MI, Kapadia RM, Liao Z, Naski MC. 2006. The Wnt-inducible transcription factor Twist1 inhibits chondrogenesis. J Biol Chem 281:1381-1388. Riddle RD, Johnson RL, Laufer E, Tabin C. 1993. Sonic hedgehog mediates the polarizing activity of the ZPA. Cell 75:1401-1416. Ross SA, McCaffery PJ, Drager UC, De Luca LM. 2000. Retinoids in embryonal development. Physiol Rev 80:1021-1054. Rossant J, Zirngibl R, Cado D, Shago M, Giguere V. 1991. Expression of a retinoic acid response element-hsplacZ transgene defines specific domains of transcriptional activity during mouse embryogenesis. Genes Dev 5:1333-1344. Saunders JW, Jr. 1948. The proximo-distal sequence of origin of the parts of the chick wing and the role of the ectoderm. J Exp Zool 108:363-403. Schweitzer R, Chyung JH, Murtaugh LC, Brent AE, Rosen V, Olson EN, Lassar A, Tabin CJ. 2001. Analysis of the tendon cell fate using Scleraxis, a specific marker for tendons and ligaments. Development 128:3855-3866. Scott A, Sampaio A, Abraham T, Duronio C, Underhill TM. 2010. Scleraxis expression is coordinately regulated in a murine model of patellar tendon injury. J Orthop Res. Sessler RJ, Noy N. 2005. A ligand-activated nuclear localization signal in cellular retinoic acid binding protein-II. Mol Cell 18:343-353. 82  Shenefelt RE. 1972. Morphogenesis of malformations in hamsters caused by retinoic acid: relation to dose and stage at treatment. Teratology 5:103-118. Soeda T, Deng JM, de Crombrugghe B, Behringer RR, Nakamura T, Akiyama H. 2010. Sox9expressing precursors are the cellular origin of the cruciate ligament of the knee joint and the limb tendons. Genesis. Solursh M, editor. 1983. Cell-cell interactions and chondrogenesis. New York: Academic Press. 121-141 pp. St-Jacques B, Hammerschmidt M, McMahon AP. 1999. Indian hedgehog signaling regulates proliferation and differentiation of chondrocytes and is essential for bone formation. Genes Dev 13:2072-2086. Stratford T, Horton C, Maden M. 1996. Retinoic acid is required for the initiation of outgrowth in the chick limb bud. Curr Biol 6:1124-1133. Summerbell D, Lewis JH, Wolpert L. 1973. Positional information in chick limb morphogenesis. Nature 244:492-496. Tabin C, Wolpert L. 2007. Rethinking the proximodistal axis of the vertebrate limb in the molecular era. Genes Dev 21:1433-1442. Tahayato A, Dolle P, Petkovich M. 2003. Cyp26C1 encodes a novel retinoic acid-metabolizing enzyme expressed in the hindbrain, inner ear, first branchial arch and tooth buds during murine development. Gene Expr Patterns 3:449-454. Uehara M, Yashiro K, Mamiya S, Nishino J, Chambon P, Dolle P, Sakai Y. 2007. CYP26A1 and CYP26C1 cooperatively regulate anterior-posterior patterning of the developing brain and the production of migratory cranial neural crest cells in the mouse. Dev Biol 302:399-411. Underhill TM, Weston AD. 1998. Retinoids and their receptors in skeletal development. Microsc Res Tech 43:137-155. Welch ID, Cowan MF, Beier F, Underhill TM. 2009. The retinoic acid binding protein CRABP2 is increased in murine models of degenerative joint disease. Arthritis Res Ther 11:R14. Weston AD, Chandraratna RA, Torchia J, Underhill TM. 2002. Requirement for RAR-mediated gene repression in skeletal progenitor differentiation. J Cell Biol 158:39-51. Weston AD, Hoffman LM, Underhill TM. 2003. Revisiting the role of retinoid signaling in skeletal development. Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today 69:156-173.  83  Weston AD, Rosen V, Chandraratna RA, Underhill TM. 2000. Regulation of skeletal progenitor differentiation by the BMP and retinoid signaling pathways. J Cell Biol 148:679-690. White JA, Guo YD, Baetz K, Beckett-Jones B, Bonasoro J, Hsu KE, Dilworth FJ, Jones G, Petkovich M. 1996. Identification of the retinoic acid-inducible all-trans-retinoic acid 4hydroxylase. J Biol Chem 271:29922-29927. Williams JA, Kane M, Okabe T, Enomoto-Iwamoto M, Napoli JL, Pacifici M, Iwamoto M. 2010. Endogenous retinoids in mammalian growth plate cartilage: analysis and roles in matrix homeostasis and turnover. J Biol Chem. Williams JA, Kondo N, Okabe T, Takeshita N, Pilchak DM, Koyama E, Ochiai T, Jensen D, Chu ML, Kane MA, Napoli JL, Enomoto-Iwamoto M, Ghyselinck N, Chambon P, Pacifici M, Iwamoto M. 2009. Retinoic acid receptors are required for skeletal growth, matrix homeostasis and growth plate function in postnatal mouse. Dev Biol 328:315-327. Wright E, Hargrave MR, Christiansen J, Cooper L, Kun J, Evans T, Gangadharan U, Greenfield A, Koopman P. 1995. The Sry-related gene Sox9 is expressed during chondrogenesis in mouse embryos. Nat Genet 9:15-20. Wu X, Shi W, Cao X. 2007. Multiplicity of BMP signaling in skeletal development. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1116:29-49. Xie WF, Zhang X, Sakano S, Lefebvre V, Sandell LJ. 1999. Trans-activation of the mouse cartilage-derived retinoic acid-sensitive protein gene by Sox9. J Bone Miner Res 14:757763. Xu PX, Cheng J, Epstein JA, Maas RL. 1997. Mouse Eya genes are expressed during limb tendon development and encode a transcriptional activation function. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 94:11974-11979. Yashiro K, Zhao X, Uehara M, Yamashita K, Nishijima M, Nishino J, Saijoh Y, Sakai Y, Hamada H. 2004. Regulation of retinoic acid distribution is required for proximodistal patterning and outgrowth of the developing mouse limb. Dev Cell 6:411-422. Yoon BS, Lyons KM. 2004. Multiple functions of BMPs in chondrogenesis. J Cell Biochem 93:93-103. Zhao X, Sirbu IO, Mic FA, Molotkova N, Molotkov A, Kumar S, Duester G. 2009. Retinoic acid promotes limb induction through effects on body axis extension but is unnecessary for limb patterning. Curr Biol 19:1050-1057.  84  APPENDIX The appendix contains supplemental figures.  85  Figure A1. Additional analysis of Cyp26b1 transgenic mice. A) Alcian blue and alizarin red skeletal staining of E18.5 Cyp26b1+/+ and Prrx1Cre-/Cyp26b1fl/fl embryos demonstrates that there is no difference between wildtype controls in the two transgenic mouse lines. Scale bar, 25mm. B) X-gal staining of E11.5 and E13.5 limbs from wildtype and Cyp26b1-/- mice expressing the RARE-LacZ transgene. Scale bar, 2mm. C) qPCR analysis of Cyp26b1 and Rarb expression in forelimb proximal (FP) and distal (FD) and hindlimb proximal (HP) and distal (HD) regions from E11.5 limbs. Single embryos were analyzed and repeated with similar results. D) qPCR analysis of Cyp26b1, Crabp2, Fgf18, Pthr1, and Vegfa expression in PLM cultures after 1, 3, or 8 days of culture. Error bars represent 1 s.d. Significance was evaluated in comparison to wildtype controls on the same day and is represented as follows: *p<0.05; **p<0.01; #p<0.001. nd, 40 cycles of qPCR and transcript not detected.  86  B  Cyp26b1  Cyp26b1+/+  +/+  Cyp26b1  C  -/-  600 FL HL  E11.5  500  P  300 200 100  nd  nd nd nd nd  +/+  nd  + Prrx1Cre fl/fl /Cyp26b1  Cyp26b1  +/+  + Prrx1Cre fl/fl /Cyp26b1  Cyp26b1  0  Rel. Express. (%)  HL  E13.5  FL  Prrx1Cre-/ Cyp26b1fl/fl  D  400  Cyp26b1  500 400 300 200 100 0  D  Cyp26b1  Rel. Express. (%)  Crabp2  Cyp26b1  Fgf18 300  120 80  *  80 40  #  #  nd  nd  Day 1  Day 3  0  *  100  40 0  200  *  0 Day 1  Day 3  Day 1  Day 3  Pthr1 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0  -/-  Rarb  Cyp26b1  120  FP FD HP HD  Cyp26b1 Rel. Express. (%)  A  Day 1 Day 3 Day 8  +  -/-  Cyp26b1  -/-  Vegfa 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0  * Day 1 Day 3 Day 8  87  Figure A2. Changes in gene expression with ketoconazole treatment. PLM cultures established from the whole limb buds of wildtype mice and treated with ketoconazole (keto, 1µM) on day 0 exhibit similar changes in gene expression, evaluated by qPCR, as cultures established from Cyp26b1-/- mice. Error bars represent 1 s.d. Significance was evaluated in comparison to wildtype controls on the same day and is represented as follows: *P<0.05, **P<0.01, #P<0.001.  88  Rel. Express. (%)  Rel. Express. (%)  Rel. Express. (%)  Control 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 120  Acan  *  **  Crabp2  *  **  Ihh  100 80 60 40  #  20  #  Rel. Express. (%)  140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0  Rel. Express. (%)  0  600  Pthrp  * Spp1  500  *  *  400 300 200  *  100 0  Day 1 Day 3  140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 8000 7000 6000 5000 4000 3000 2000 1000 0 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0  Aldh1a2  *  200 160  Alp1  **  600 400  **  80  Cspg4  40  *  2500  Cyp26a1  **  2000  *  500 0  Matn1  *  ** Rarb  #  # Tgfb2  *  Day 1 Day 3  700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0  #  #  200  Mkx  150 100 50 0  Runx2  Tnc  **  * Day 1 Day 3  180 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0  *  200 150  140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0  200  *  #  50 0  250  **  Eya2  100  100  300  300 250  0  Mia1  **  50 0  300  1000  200  100  ** Cyp26b1  400  1500  *  200  250  Col2a1  150  300 100 0  0 3000  **  500  120  *  Col1a1  Scx  **  *  120  Mmp13  60 40 20  Day 1 Day 3  180 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0  120  **  * Fgf18  *  **  Ptch1  ** Twist1  Day 1 Day 3  120 100 80  **  140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0  Keto  Comp  *  *  Hapln1  # Pth1r  60  **  0  #  800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0  80  20  Sox5  3500 3000 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0  100  40  0  Tnmd  350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0  60  100 80  1600 1400 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0  Col10a1  40 20 0  Sox6  120 100 80 60  **  40 20  Sox9  * **  0  Vcan  Day 1 Day 3  350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0  Vegfa  **  Day 1 Day 3  89  Figure A3. Ketoconazole and DEAB treatments. A) Increasing doses of DEAB increases the activity of a Col2-LUC reporter and decreases the activity of a RARE-LUC reporter. Conversely, increasing doses of ketoconazole decreases the activity of a Col2-LUC reporter and increases the activity of a RARE-LUC reporter. Cells were treated with DEAB or ketoconzaole at the initiation of culture (day 0) and lysed for collection of luciferase extracts on day 2. B) Treatment of wildtype PLM cultures with ketoconazole (keto, 1µM) or DEAB (10µM) on day 0 or day 1 has similar effects on the chondrogenic program, as demonstrated by alcian blue staining of 4 and 8 day-old cultures. C) Treatment of wildtype PLM cultures established from proximal and distal regions of the limb with ketoconazole or DEAB on day 0 or day 1 has a similar effect on both Col2-LUC and RARE-LUC reporter activity. Reporter activity was measured after 3 days of culture. Scale bar, 2mm. Error bars represent 1 s.d. Significance was evaluated in comparison to wildtype controls of the same limb region (P or D) and is represented as follows: *p<0.05; **p<0.01; #p<0.001.  90  A Keto  800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0  200 150 100 50 0 0  B  RARE-LUC  DEAB  250 RLU (%)  RLU (%)  Col2-LUC  0.1  0.2  0.5  1  5  M  10  Keto day 0  0  Keto day 1  0.1  0.2  0.5  DEAB day 0  1  2  5  10  M  DEAB day 1  Col2-LUC RLU (%)  C  700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0  # -  #  day 0 -  #  #  #  day 1 -  ** day 0  # ** day 1  RLU (%)  Day 8  Day 4  Control  2  Keto DEAB  3000 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0  RARE-LUC #  # -  day 0 -  Proximal  Distal  #  # day 1 -  #  #  day 0  ## day 1  Keto DEAB  91  Figure A4. Inhibition of chondrogenesis reflects an increase in tenogenesis. A) qPCR analysis of tendon markers Eya2, Mkx, and Tgfb2 in PLM cultures after 1 or 3 days of culture. B) Rarb, Col1a1, Tnmd expression were evaluated by qPCR in PLM cultures derived from proximal and distal limb regions of wildtype mice and treated with DEAB (10µM) or ketoconazole (keto, 1µM) for 1 or 3 days. C) Alcian blue staining of PLM cultures established from ScxGFP+ mice treated with ketoconazole, DEAB, TGFb1 (Tb1, 2 ng/ml), and/or BMP4 (B4, 20 ng/ml) after 8 days of culture. Scale bar, 2mm. Error bars represent 1 s.d. Significance was evaluated in comparison to untreated controls of the same limb region on the same day and is represented as follows: *P<0.05, **P<0.01, #P<0.001.  92  Cyp26b1  Rel. Express. (%)  120  +  Cyp26b1  Eya2  *  80 40  -/-  B 500 Rel. Express. (%)  A  300  Day 3 Rel. Express. (%)  Rel. Express. (%)  *  200 100  Mkx  150 100  900 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0  50 0 Day 3  Tgfb2 *  120 80 40  Rel. Express. (%)  Day 1  Rel. Express. (%)  Control  Keto -  200  160  C  0  Day 1  200  Distal  400  0  250  Proximal  Col1a1  1400 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0  Day 1  Day 3  +  -  + -  +  Keto DEAB  Tnmd  DEAB * Tb1  -  + -  +  -  + -  +  Keto DEAB  B4  Rarb * *  Tb1+Keto  **  *  * -  0  + -  + Day 1  +  -  + Day 3  * +  Keto DEAB  Tb1+B4  93  

Cite

Citation Scheme:

        

Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics

Share

Embed

Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                        
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            src="{[{embed.src}]}"
                            data-item="{[{embed.item}]}"
                            data-collection="{[{embed.collection}]}"
                            data-metadata="{[{embed.showMetadata}]}"
                            data-width="{[{embed.width}]}"
                            async >
                            </script>
                            </div>
                        
                    
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:
http://iiif.library.ubc.ca/presentation/dsp.24.1-0071447/manifest

Comment

Related Items