Chromatin Landscapes of the Dlx1/2 and Dlx5/6 Bigene Clusters in the Developing Mouse Forebrain

Title: Chromatin Landscapes of the Dlx1/2 and Dlx5/6 Bigene Clusters in the Developing Mouse Forebrain
Authors: Monis, Simon
Date: 2019-11-08
Abstract: The Distal-less (Dlx) homeobox genes of mammals are expressed in many tissues of the developing organism including the limbs, craniofacial skeleton and the forebrain. In the forebrain, Dlx1, Dlx2, Dlx5 and Dlx6 play a critical role in driving tangential migration of GABAergic progenitors from the ventral telencephalon to their final destinations, notably the neocortex and the striatum. These Dlx genes are organised into convergently transcribed clusters with short intergenic regions that contain notable cis regulators elements (CREs) that drive Dlx expression in unique subdomains of the developing ventral telencephalon. Previous studies have characterised Dlx regulation including but not limited to the direct activation of these CREs by effector proteins. However, to date very little work has been done to examine how the forebrain Dlx genes may be regulated at the level of the chromatin. To explore this, I used in silico and in vivo methods to examine some key histone modifications of the Dlx1/2 and Dlx5/6 bigene clusters in the developing forebrain; namely H3K27Ac, H3K4me3, H3K4me1 and H3K27me3. I found that within the Dlx expressing ganglionic eminences (GE), at midgestation, the Dlx loci are marked by bivalent chromatin which is enriched in both permissive H3K4me3 and repressive H3K27me3 marks. By performing ChIP-qPCR on the GE tissue of embryonic mice with targeted deletions of enhancer CREs, I found that these CREs play unique roles in shaping the chromatin. Removal of one of these CREs has widespread effects on the chromatin at both loci. Since these changes in chromatin signatures do not accompany significant changes in expression of histone modifying genes, we believe these CREs play yet-to-be determined roles in recruiting the modifying proteins to the loci, thereby establishing bivalent chromatin to fine-tune Dlx expression.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -