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In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (26)

Articles by Melinda Larsen in JoVE

 JoVE Biology

Genetic Modification and Recombination of Salivary Gland Organ Cultures

1Department of Biological Sciences, University at Albany, SUNY


JoVE 50060

A technique to genetically manipulate epithelial cells within whole ex vivo cultured embryonic mouse submandibular glands (SMGs) using viral gene transfer is described. This method takes advantage of the innate ability of SMG epithelium and mesenchyme to spontaneously recombine after separation and infection of epithelial rudiments with adenoviral vectors.

Other articles by Melinda Larsen on PubMed

Cell-cell Adhesion and RhoA-mediated Actin Polymerization Are Independent Phenomena in Microtubule Disrupted Keratinocytes

E-cadherin-mediated adherens junction formation and maintenance are thought to involve actin filament rearrangements through the action of small GTPases. Recently, we demonstrated that microtubule disruption in normal human epidermal keratinocytes grown in low calcium media conditions induces cell-cell adhesion by redistribution of endogenous E-cadherin, and it promotes stress fiber formation. This actin rearrangement was apparently mediated by RhoA activation. This model system therefore provides a tool with which to dissect relationships between cell-cell adhesion and Rho-mediated stress fiber formation. In this study, we have demonstrated in normal human epidermal keratinocytes that disruption of actin structures including stress fibers does not interfere with E-cadherin redistribution during microtubule-induced cell-cell adhesion. Moreover, this cell-cell adhesion could not be blocked by RhoA inactivation at the level for inhibition of stress fiber formation. Additionally, in the immortalized HaCaT keratinocyte cell line, which does not undergo cell-cell adhesion after microtubule disruption in low calcium conditions, expression of dominant-active RhoA could induce stress fiber formation without inducing adhesion. On the other hand, a variant of the HaCaT cell line, HC-R1, showed microtubule-disruption-induced cell-cell adhesion without stress fiber formation. Together, our results suggest that, in keratinocytes, the process of cell adhesion can occur independently of RhoA-mediated stress fiber formation.

Gene Expression Profiles of Mouse Submandibular Gland Development: FGFR1 Regulates Branching Morphogenesis in Vitro Through BMP- and FGF-dependent Mechanisms

Analyses of gene expression profiles at five different stages of mouse submandibular salivary gland development provide insight into gland organogenesis and identify genes that may be critical at different stages. Genes with similar expression profiles were clustered, and RT-PCR was used to confirm the developmental changes. We focused on fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 (FGFR1), as its expression is highest early in gland development. We extended our array results and analyzed the developmental expression patterns of other FGFR and FGF isoforms. The functional significance of FGFR1 was confirmed by submandibular gland organ culture. Antisense oligonucleotides decreased expression of FGFR1 and reduced branching morphogenesis of the glands. Inhibiting FGFR1 signaling with SU5402, a FGFR1 tyrosine kinase inhibitor, reduced branching morphogenesis. SU5402 treatment decreased cell proliferation but did not increase apoptosis. Fgfr, Fgf and Bmp gene expression was localized to either the mesenchyme or the epithelium by PCR, and then measured over time by real time PCR after SU5402 treatment. FGFR1 signaling regulates Fgfr1, Fgf1, Fgf3 and Bmp7 expression and indirectly regulates Fgf7, Fgf10 and Bmp4. Exogenous FGFs and BMPs added to glands in culture reveal distinct effects on gland morphology. Glands cultured with SU5402 were then rescued with exogenous BMP7, FGF7 or FGF10. Taken together, our results suggest specific FGFs and BMPs play reciprocal roles in regulating branching morphogenesis and FGFR1 signaling plays a central role by regulating both FGF and BMP expression.

Microanalysis of Gene Expression in Tissues Using T7-SAGE: Serial Analysis of Gene Expression After High-fidelity T7-based RNA Amplification

In this unit, the authors describe a new technique, T7-SAGE, in which a high-fidelity T7 amplification step is combined with SAGE analysis. In order to avoid extra PCR or other forms of amplification, the authors incorporate only two cycles of T7-based RNA amplification as the initial step. This T7-based amplification step has high accuracy. In addition, T7 RNA polymerase has high processivity and functions effectively even when broad stretches of nucleotides are being amplified. Although no protocol that includes an amplification step can claim to permit determination of absolute transcript number, since slight changes in estimated transcript frequency are always possible, T7 procedures appear to be the safest to date. This new T7-SAGE procedure should facilitate application of SAGE for gene-expression profiling using minimal quantities of starting material, such as from embryonic tissues and microdissected cells from histological sections of tissues.

Role of PI 3-kinase and PIP3 in Submandibular Gland Branching Morphogenesis

The mouse submandibular gland (SMG) epithelium undergoes extensive morphogenetic branching during embryonic development as the first step in the establishment of its glandular structure. However, the specific signaling pathways required for SMG branching morphogenesis are not well understood. Using E13 mouse SMG organ cultures, we showed that inhibitors of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-kinase), wortmannin and LY294002, substantially inhibited branching morphogenesis in SMG. Branching morphogenesis of epithelial rudiments denuded of mesenchyme was inhibited similarly, indicating that PI 3-kinase inhibitors act directly on the epithelium. Immunostaining and Western analysis demonstrated that the p85 isoform of PI 3-kinase is expressed in epithelium at levels higher than in the mesenchyme. A target of PI 3-kinase, Akt/protein kinase B (PKB), showed decreased phosphorylation at Ser(473) by Western analysis in the presence of PI 3-kinase inhibitors. The major lipid product of PI 3-kinase, phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate (PIP(3)), was added exogenously to SMG via a membrane-transporting carrier in the presence of PI 3-kinase inhibitors and was found to stimulate cleft formation, the first step of branching morphogenesis. Together, these data indicate that PI 3-kinase plays a role in the regulation of epithelial branching morphogenesis in mouse SMG acting through a PIP(3) pathway.

Fibronectin Requirement in Branching Morphogenesis

Many organs, including salivary glands, lung and kidney, are formed during embryonic development by epithelial branching. In branching morphogenesis, repetitive epithelial cleft and bud formation create the complex three-dimensional branching structures characteristic of many organs. Although the mechanisms are poorly understood, one might involve the site-specific accumulation of some regulatory protein. Here we show that the extracellular matrix protein fibronectin is essential for cleft formation during the initiation of epithelial branching. Fibronectin messenger RNA and fibrils appeared transiently and focally in forming cleft regions of submandibular salivary-gland epithelia, accompanied by an adjacent loss of cadherin localization. Decreasing the fibronectin concentration by using small interfering RNA and inhibition by anti-fibronectin or anti-integrin antibodies blocked cleft formation and branching. Exogenous fibronectin accelerated cleft formation and branching. Similar effects of fibronectin suppression and augmentation were observed in developing lung and kidney. Mechanistic studies revealed that fibrillar fibronectin can induce cell-matrix adhesions on cultured human salivary epithelial cells with a local loss of cadherins at cell-cell junctions. Thus, fibronectin expression is required for cleft formation in branching morphogenesis associated with the conversion of cell-cell adhesions to cell-matrix adhesions.

Phosphatases in Cell-matrix Adhesion and Migration

Many proteins that have been implicated in cell-matrix adhesion and cell migration are phosphorylated, which regulates their folding, enzymatic activities and protein-protein interactions. Although modulation of cell motility by kinases is well known, increasing evidence confirms that phosphatases are essential at each stage of the migration process. Phosphatases can control the formation and maintenance of the actin cytoskeleton, regulate small GTPase molecular switches, and modulate the dynamics of matrix-adhesion interaction, actin contraction, rear release and migratory directionality.

Promotion of Angiogenesis by Ps20 in the Differential Reactive Stroma Prostate Cancer Xenograft Model

Human prostate cancer is associated with a reactive stroma typified by an increase in the proportion of myofibroblast type cells and elevated synthesis of extracellular matrix proteins. Increased vascular density has been identified in the reactive stroma compartment adjacent to both precancerous and cancerous prostate lesions. The differential reactive stroma (DRS) prostate cancer xenograft model has been developed to investigate the role of reactive stroma in prostate cancer progression. Using this model, we have shown that human prostate stromal cells promote angiogenesis and growth of LNCaP human prostate carcinoma cell tumors, and that these increases are transforming growth factor (TGF) beta1 regulated. Our laboratory isolated and identified previously the ps20 protein (WFDC1 gene) as a prostate stromal cell secreted protein. The ps20 protein contains a whey acidic protein-type four-disulfide core domain, which is a functional motif characterized by serine protease inhibition activity in a number of whey acidic protein domain-containing proteins. In the present study, we show ps20 expression by normal human prostate stromal smooth muscle cells and vascular smooth muscle cells indicating a possible role of ps20 in vessel wall biology. Using in vitro assays, we show that ps20 promotes endothelial cell motility but has no effect on endothelial cell proliferation. To address the potential effects of ps20 in a tumor microenvironment, we used the DRS model to evaluate both angiogenesis and tumorigenesis of tumors generated under either ps20 or control conditions. DRS tumors generated with LNCaP and human prostate stromal cells in the presence of ps20 showed a 67% increase in microvessel density compared with control tumors. Elevated DRS tumor growth in the ps20-treated tumors was reflected by a 29% increase in wet weight and a 58% increase in volume compared with controls. Similar tumors composed of GeneSwitch-3T3 cells engineered to express ps20-V5-His under mifepristone regulation showed a 129% increase in microvessel density after induction of ps20-V5-His. GeneSwitch-3T3 cells expressing ps20-V5-His were localized to vessel walls in a mural cell (pericyte) position indicating a possible direct stabilizing interaction with endothelial cells. In addition, we show that ps20 mRNA synthesis is induced by TGF-beta1, a known regulator of endothelial cell-pericyte interactions and of stromal cell-induced angiogenesis in DRS tumors. These findings suggest that ps20 may be a TGF-beta1-induced regulator of angiogenesis that functions by either promoting endothelial cell migration or by contributing to pericyte stabilization of newly formed vascular structures.

Regulation of Rat Prostate Stromal Cell Myodifferentiation by Androgen and TGF-beta1

Myodifferentiation of stromal cells is a key step in prostate development and is a hallmark of reactive stroma in prostate cancer. Little is known about regulatory mechanisms, however, prostate stromal cells are androgen-regulated and TGF-beta1 is a known stimulator of stromal myodifferentiation. The PS-1 rat prostate stromal cell line expresses androgen receptor, and exhibits androgen-regulated gene expression and proliferation. TGF-beta1 inhibits androgen action in PS-1 cells through translocation of androgen receptor from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. The present study was conducted to determine whether myodifferentiation of PS-1 cells is regulated by androgen and TGF-beta1, and how myodifferentiation affects androgen receptor localization and cell proliferation.

FGFR2b Signaling Regulates Ex Vivo Submandibular Gland Epithelial Cell Proliferation and Branching Morphogenesis

Branching morphogenesis of mouse submandibular glands is regulated by multiple growth factors. Here, we report that ex vivo branching of intact submandibular glands decreases when either FGFR2 expression is downregulated or soluble recombinant FGFR2b competes out the endogenous growth factors. However, a combination of neutralizing antibodies to FGF1, FGF7 and FGF10 is required to inhibit branching in the intact gland, suggesting that multiple FGF isoforms are required for branching. Exogenous FGFs added to submandibular epithelial rudiments cultured without mesenchyme induce distinct morphologies. FGF7 induces epithelial budding, whereas FGF10 induces duct elongation, and both are inhibited by FGFR or ERK1/2 signaling inhibitors. However, a PI3-kinase inhibitor also decreases FGF7-mediated epithelial budding, suggesting that multiple signaling pathways exist. We immunolocalized FGF receptors and analyzed changes in FGFR, FGF and MMP gene expression to identify the mechanisms of FGF-mediated morphogenesis. FGFR1b and FGFR2b are present throughout the epithelium, although FGFR1b is more highly expressed around the periphery of the buds and the duct tips. FGF7 signaling increases FGFR1b and FGF1 expression, and MMP2 activity, when compared with FGF10, resulting in increased cell proliferation and expansion of the epithelial bud, whereas FGF10 stimulates localized proliferation at the tip of the duct. FGF7- and FGF10-mediated morphogenesis is inhibited by an MMP inhibitor and a neutralizing antibody to FGF1, suggesting that both FGF1 and MMPs are essential downstream mediators of epithelial morphogenesis. Taken together, our data suggests that FGFR2b signaling involves a regulatory network of FGFR1b/FGF1/MMP2 expression that mediates budding and duct elongation during branching morphogenesis.

Cell and Fibronectin Dynamics During Branching Morphogenesis

Branching morphogenesis is a dynamic developmental process shared by many organs, but the mechanisms that reorganize cells during branching morphogenesis are not well understood. We hypothesized that extensive cell rearrangements are involved, and investigated cell migration using two-color confocal time-lapse microscopy to image cell and extracellular-matrix dynamics in developing salivary glands. We labeled submandibular salivary gland (SMG) epithelial cells with green fluorescent protein and matrix with fluorescent fibronectin. Surprisingly, we observed substantial, rapid and relatively random migration of individual epithelial cells during branching morphogenesis. We predicted that cell migration would decrease after formation of acini and, indeed, found that rapid cell movements do not occur in SMG from newborn mice. However, in embryonic SMG epithelial cells, we observed an absence of choreographed cell migration, indicating that patterned cell migration alone cannot explain the highly ordered process of branching morphogenesis. We therefore hypothesized a role for directional fibronection assembly in branching. Washout and pulse-chase experiments revealed that older fibronectin accumulates at the base of the clefts and translocates inwards as a wedge, with newer fibronectin assembling behind it. These findings identify a new mechanism for branching morphogenesis involving directional fibronectin translocation superimposed on individual cell dynamics.

The Matrix Reorganized: Extracellular Matrix Remodeling and Integrin Signaling

Via integrins, cells can sense dimensionality and other physical and biochemical properties of the extracellular matrix (ECM). Cells respond differently to two-dimensional substrates and three-dimensional environments, activating distinct signaling pathways for each. Direct integrin signaling and indirect integrin modulation of growth factor and other intracellular signaling pathways regulate ECM remodeling and control subsequent cell behavior and tissue organization. ECM remodeling is critical for many developmental processes, and remodeled ECM contributes to tumorigenesis. These recent advances in the field provide new insights and raise new questions about the mechanisms of ECM synthesis and proteolytic degradation, as well as the roles of integrins and tension in ECM remodeling.

Self-organization and Branching Morphogenesis of Primary Salivary Epithelial Cells

Embryonic tissues may provide clues about mechanisms required for tissue reassembly and regeneration, but few studies have utilized primary embryonic tissue to study tissue assembly. To test the capacity of tissue fragments to regenerate, we cultured fragments of embryonic day 13 (E13) mouse submandibular gland (SMG) epithelium and found that fragments as small as a quarter-bud retain the ability to branch. Further, we found that completely dissociated SMG epithelial cells self-organize into structures that undergo significant branching. Investigation into the mechanisms involved in tissue self-assembly demonstrated that inhibition of beta(1) integrin prevents cell aggregation, while inhibition of E-cadherin hinders aggregate compaction. Immunostaining showed that the cellular architecture and expression patterns of E-cadherin, beta-catenin, and actin in the reassembled aggregates mirror those seen in intact glands. Adding SMG mesenchymal cells to the epithelial cell cultures facilitates branching and morphological differentiation. Quantitative real-time RT-PCR indicated that the aggregates express the differentiation markers aquaporin-5 (AQP5), prolactin-inducible protein (PIP), and SMG protein C (SMGC). Together, these data show that dissociated SMG epithelial cells self-organize and undergo branching morphogenesis to form tissues with structural features and differentiation markers characteristic of the intact gland. These findings provide insights into self-assembly and branching that will facilitate future regeneration strategies in the salivary gland and other organs.

Reduced Migration, Altered Matrix and Enhanced TGFbeta1 Signaling Are Signatures of Mouse Keratinocytes Lacking Sdc1

We have reported previously that syndecan-1 (Sdc1)-null mice show delayed re-epithelialization after skin and corneal wounding. Here, we show that primary keratinocytes obtained from Sdc1-null mice and grown for 3-5 days in culture are more proliferative, more adherent and migrate more slowly than wt keratinocytes. However, the migration rates of Sdc1-null keratinocytes can be restored to wild-type levels by replating Sdc1-null keratinocytes onto tissue culture plates coated with fibronectin and collagen I, laminin (LN)-332 or onto the matrices produced by wild-type cells. Migration rates can also be restored by treating Sdc1-null keratinocytes with antibodies that block alpha6 or alphav integrin function, or with TGFbeta1. Antagonizing either beta1 integrin function using a function-blocking antibody or TGFbeta1 using a neutralizing antibody reduced wild-type keratinocyte migration more than Sdc1-null keratinocyte migration. Cultures of Sdc1-null keratinocytes accumulated less collagen than wild-type cultures but their matrices contained the same amount of LN-332. The Sdc1-null keratinocytes expressed similar total amounts of eight different integrin subunits but showed increased surface expression of alphavbeta6, alphavbeta8, and alpha6beta4 integrins compared with wild-type keratinocytes. Whereas wild-type keratinocytes increased their surface expression of alpha2beta1, alphavbeta6, alphavbeta8, and alpha6beta4 after treatment with TGFbeta1, Sdc1-null keratinocytes did not. Additional data from a dual-reporter assay and quantification of phosphorylated Smad2 show that TGFbeta1 signaling is constitutively elevated in Sdc1-null keratinocytes. Thus, our results identify TGFbeta1 signaling and Sdc1 expression as important factors regulating integrin surface expression, activity and migration in keratinocyte and provide new insight into the functions regulated by Sdc1.

Extracellular Matrix Dynamics in Development and Regenerative Medicine

The extracellular matrix (ECM) regulates cell behavior by influencing cell proliferation, survival, shape, migration and differentiation. Far from being a static structure, the ECM is constantly undergoing remodeling--i.e. assembly and degradation--particularly during the normal processes of development, differentiation and wound repair. When misregulated, this can contribute to disease. ECM assembly is regulated by the 3D environment and the cellular tension that is transmitted through integrins. Degradation is controlled by complex proteolytic cascades, and misregulation of these results in ECM damage that is a common component of many diseases. Tissue engineering strives to replace damaged tissues with stem cells seeded on synthetic structures designed to mimic the ECM and thus restore the normal control of cell function. Stem cell self-renewal and differentiation is influenced by the 3D environment within the stem cell niche. For tissue-engineering strategies to be successful, the intimate dynamic relationship between cells and the ECM must be understood to ensure appropriate cell behavior.

The Relative Distribution of Membranous and Cytoplasmic Met is a Prognostic Indicator in Stage I and II Colon Cancer

The association hepatocyte growth factor receptor (Met) tyrosine kinase with prognosis and survival in colon cancer is unclear, due in part to the limitation of detection methods used. In particular, conventional chromagenic immunohistochemistry (IHC) has several limitations including the inability to separate compartmental measurements. Measurement of membrane, cytoplasm, and nuclear levels of Met could offer a superior approach to traditional IHC.

Identification of a Mechanochemical Checkpoint and Negative Feedback Loop Regulating Branching Morphogenesis

Cleft formation is the initial step in submandibular salivary gland (SMG) branching morphogenesis, and may result from localized actomyosin-mediated cellular contraction. Since ROCK regulates cytoskeletal contraction, we investigated the effects of ROCK inhibition on mouse SMG ex vivo organ cultures. Pharmacological inhibitors of ROCK, isoform-specific ROCK I but not ROCK II siRNAs, as well as inhibitors of myosin II activity stalled clefts at initiation. This finding implies the existence of a mechanochemical checkpoint regulating the transition of initiated clefts into progression-competent clefts. Downstream of the checkpoint, clefts are rendered competent through localized assembly of fibronectin promoted by ROCK I/myosin II. Cleft progression is primarily mediated by ROCK I/myosin II-stimulated cell proliferation with a contribution from cellular contraction. Furthermore, we demonstrate that FN assembly itself promotes epithelial proliferation and cleft progression in a ROCK-dependent manner. ROCK also stimulates a proliferation-independent negative feedback loop to prevent further cleft initiations. These results reveal that cleft initiation and progression are two physically and biochemically distinct processes.

Extracellular Matrix and Growth Factors in Salivary Gland Development

The interstitial extracellular matrix (ECM) and epithelial-cell associated basement membrane (BM) play critical roles in the morphogenesis and differentiation of developing salivary glands. Early studies used ex vivo organ culture and tissue recombination methods to identify the importance of the ECM in organ development. Incorporation of transgenic mice and molecular tools has facilitated progress in our understanding of the mechanisms by which ECM proteins influence SMG development. Recent work has identified alterations in the ECM, BM, and associated proteins in salivary gland diseases, including Sjögren's syndrome and salivary gland cancers, but the significance of such changes is not known. Understanding the basic mechanisms controlling morphogenesis and differentiation in mammalian organ development is the first step towards understanding pathogenesis. Molecular characterization of the function of the ECM and BM in cellular processes is critical for future development of therapeutic approaches in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. Here we provide a historical overview of experiments defining the functions of the ECM, ECM receptors, and associated molecules in salivary gland development. We include a discussion of the function of ECM-associated proteases and major growth factor signaling components that are in some way regulated by the ECM or associated molecules. We conclude with a discussion of defects in ECM and BM occurring in salivary gland pathologies and speculation on future areas of research pertaining to further understanding of the function of the ECM in the salivary gland.

Syndecan-1 Regulates Cell Migration and Fibronectin Fibril Assembly

Corneal scarring is a major cause of blindness worldwide and can result from the deposition of abnormal amounts of collagen fibers lacking the correct size and spacing required to produce a clear cornea. Collagen fiber formation requires a preformed fibronectin (FN) matrix. We demonstrate that the loss of syndecan1 (sdc1) in corneal stromal cells (CSC) impacts cell migration rates, the sizes and composition of focal and fibrillar adhesions, the activation of integrins, and the assembly of fibronectin into fibrils. Integrin and fibronectin expression are not altered on sdc1-null CSCs. Cell adhesion, spreading, and migration studies using low compared to high concentrations of FN and collagen I (CNI) or vitronectin (VN) with and without activation of integrins by manganese chloride show that the impact of sdc1 depletion on integrin activation varies depending on the integrin-mediated activity evaluated. Differences in FN fibrillogenesis and migration in sdc1-null CSCs are reversed by addition of manganese chloride but cell spreading differences remain. To determine if our findings on sdc1 were specific to the cornea, we compared the phenotypes of sdc1-null dermal fibroblasts with those of CSCs. We found that without sdc1, both cell types migrate faster; however, cell-type-specific differences in FN expression and its assembly into fibrils exist between these two cell types. Together, our data demonstrate that sdc1 functions to regulate integrin activity in multiple cell types. Loss of sdc1-mediated integrin function results in cell-type specific differences in matrix assembly. A better understanding of how different cell types regulate FN fibril formation via syndecans and integrins will lead to better treatments for scarring and fibrosis.

Systems Analysis of Salivary Gland Development and Disease

Branching morphogenesis is a crucial developmental process in which vertebrate organs generate extensive epithelial surface area while retaining a compact size. In the vertebrate submandibular salivary gland, branching morphogenesis is crucial for the generation of the large surface area necessary to produce sufficient saliva. However, in many salivary gland diseases, saliva-producing acinar cells are destroyed, resulting in dry mouth and secondary health conditions. Systems-based approaches can provide insights into understanding salivary gland development, function, and disease. The traditional approach to understanding these processes is the identification of molecular signals using reductionist approaches; we review current progress with such methods in understanding salivary gland development. Taking a more global approach, multiple groups are currently profiling the transcriptome, the proteome, and other 'omes' in both developing mouse tissues and in human patient samples. Computational methods have been successful in deciphering large data sets, and mathematical models are starting to make predictions regarding the contribution of molecules to the physical processes of morphogenesis and cellular function. A challenge for the future will be to establish comprehensive, publicly accessible salivary gland databases spanning the full range of genes and proteins; plans are underway to provide these resources to researchers in centralized repositories. The greatest challenge for the future will be to develop realistic models that integrate multiple types of data to both describe and predict embryonic development and disease pathogenesis.

Novel Modeling Approach to Generate a Polymeric Nanofiber Scaffold for Salivary Gland Cells

BACKGROUND: Electrospun nanofibers have been utilized in many biomedical applications as biomimetics of extracellular matrix proteins that promote self-organization of cells into 3D tissue constructs. As progress towards an artificial salivary gland tissue construct, we prepared nanofiber scaffolds using PLGA, a biodegradable and biocompatible material. METHOD OF APPROACH: We used electrospinning to prepare nanofiber scaffolds using PLGA with both DMF and HFIP as solvents. Using a design of experiment (DOE) approach, system and process parameters were optimized concurrently and their effects on the diameter of the resulting fibers were computed into a single model. A transfer function was used to reproducibly produce nanofibers of a defined diameter, which was confirmed by SEM. The mouse salivary gland epithelial cell line, SIMS, was seeded on the nanofiber scaffolds, and morphology, cell proliferation, and viability were assayed. RESULTS: Varying two or more parameters simultaneously yielded trends diverging from the linear response predicted by previous studies. Comparison of two solvents revealed that the diameter of PLGA nanofibers generated using HFIP is less sensitive to changes in the system and process parameters than are fibers generated using DMF. Inclusion of NaCl reduced morphological inconsistencies and minimized process variability. The resulting nanofiber scaffolds supported attachment, survival and cell proliferation of a mouse salivary gland epithelial cell line. In comparison with glass and flat PLGA films, the nanofibers promoted self-organization of the salivary gland cells into 3D cell clusters, or aggregates. CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that nanofiber scaffolds promote salivary gland cell organization, and suggest that a nanofiber scaffold could provide a platform for engineering of an artificial salivary gland tissue construct. This study additionally provides a method for efficient production of nanofiber scaffolds for general application in tissue engineering.

Localization of AQP5 During Development of the Mouse Submandibular Salivary Gland

Aquaporin 5 (AQP5) is known to be central for salivary fluid secretion. A study of the temporal-spatial distribution of AQP5 during submandibular gland (SMG) development and in adult tissues might offer further clues to its unknown role during development. In the present work, SMGs from embryonic day (E) 14.5-18.5 and postnatal days (P) 0, 2, 5, 25, and 60 were immunostained for AQP5 and analyzed using light microscopy. Additional confocal and transmission electron microscopy were performed on P60 glands. Our results show that AQP5 expression first occurs in a scattered pattern in the late canalicular stage and becomes more prominent and organized in the terminal tubuli/pro-acinar cells towards birth. Additional apical membrane staining in the entire intralobular duct is found just prior to birth. During postnatal development, AQP5 is expressed in both the luminal and lateral membrane of pro-acinar/acinar cells. AQP5 is also detected in the basal membrane of acinar cells at P25 and P60. In the intercalated ducts at P60, the male glands show apical staining in the entire segment, while only the proximal region is positive in the female glands. These results demonstrate an evolving distribution of AQP5 during pre- and postnatal development in the mouse SMGs.

A Focal Adhesion Protein-based Mechanochemical Checkpoint Regulates Cleft Progression During Branching Morphogenesis

Cleft formation is the initial step of branching morphogenesis in many organs. We previously demonstrated that ROCK 1 regulates a nonmuscle myosin II-dependent mechanochemical checkpoint to transition initiated clefts to progressing clefts in developing submandibular salivary glands. Here, we report that ROCK-mediated integrin activation and subsequent formation of focal adhesion complexes comprise this mechanochemical checkpoint. Inhibition of ROCK1 and nonmuscle myosin II activity decreased integrin β1 activation in the cleft region and interfered with localization and activation of focal adhesion complex proteins, such as focal adhesion kinase (FAK). Inhibition of FAK activity also prevented cleft progression, by disrupting recruitment of the focal adhesion proteins talin and vinculin and subsequent fibronectin assembly in the cleft region while decreasing ERK1/2 activation. These results demonstrate that inside-out integrin signaling leading to a localized recruitment of active FAK-containing focal adhesion protein complexes generates a mechanochemical checkpoint that facilitates progression of branching morphogenesis.

ROCK1-directed Basement Membrane Positioning Coordinates Epithelial Tissue Polarity

The basement membrane is crucial for epithelial tissue organization and function. However, the mechanisms by which basement membrane is restricted to the basal periphery of epithelial tissues and the basement membrane-mediated signals that regulate coordinated tissue organization are not well defined. Here, we report that Rho kinase (ROCK) controls coordinated tissue organization by restricting basement membrane to the epithelial basal periphery in developing mouse submandibular salivary glands, and that ROCK inhibition results in accumulation of ectopic basement membrane throughout the epithelial compartment. ROCK-regulated restriction of PAR-1b (MARK2) localization in the outer basal epithelial cell layer is required for basement membrane positioning at the tissue periphery. PAR-1b is specifically required for basement membrane deposition, as inhibition of PAR-1b kinase activity prevents basement membrane deposition and disrupts overall tissue organization, and suppression of PAR-1b together with ROCK inhibition prevents interior accumulations of basement membrane. Conversely, ectopic overexpression of wild-type PAR-1b results in ectopic interior basement membrane deposition. Significantly, culture of salivary epithelial cells on exogenous basement membrane rescues epithelial organization in the presence of ROCK1 or PAR-1b inhibition, and this basement membrane-mediated rescue requires functional integrin β1 to maintain epithelial cell-cell adhesions. Taken together, these studies indicate that ROCK1/PAR-1b-dependent regulation of basement membrane placement is required for the coordination of tissue polarity and the elaboration of tissue structure in the developing submandibular salivary gland.

The Regulation of Focal Adhesion Complex Formation and Salivary Gland Epithelial Cell Organization by Nanofibrous PLGA Scaffolds

Nanofiber scaffolds have been useful for engineering tissues derived from mesenchymal cells, but few studies have investigated their applicability for epithelial cell-derived tissues. In this study, we generated nanofiber (250 nm) or microfiber (1200 nm) scaffolds via electrospinning from the polymer, poly-l-lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA). Cell-scaffold contacts were visualized using fluorescent immunocytochemistry and laser scanning confocal microscopy. Focal adhesion (FA) proteins, such as phosphorylated FAK (Tyr397), paxillin (Tyr118), talin and vinculin were localized to FA complexes in adult cells grown on planar surfaces but were reduced and diffusely localized in cells grown on nanofiber surfaces, similar to the pattern observed in adult mouse salivary gland tissues. Significant differences in epithelial cell morphology and cell clustering were also observed and quantified, using image segmentation and computational cell-graph analyses. No statistically significant differences in scaffold stiffness between planar PLGA film controls compared to nanofibers scaffolds were detected using nanoindentation with atomic force microscopy, indicating that scaffold topography rather than mechanical properties accounts for changes in cell attachments and cell structure. Finally, PLGA nanofiber scaffolds could support the spontaneous self-organization and branching of dissociated embryonic salivary gland cells. Nanofiber scaffolds may therefore have applicability in the future for engineering an artificial salivary gland.

Multiscale Feature Analysis of Salivary Gland Branching Morphogenesis

Pattern formation in developing tissues involves dynamic spatio-temporal changes in cellular organization and subsequent evolution of functional adult structures. Branching morphogenesis is a developmental mechanism by which patterns are generated in many developing organs, which is controlled by underlying molecular pathways. Understanding the relationship between molecular signaling, cellular behavior and resulting morphological change requires quantification and categorization of the cellular behavior. In this study, tissue-level and cellular changes in developing salivary gland in response to disruption of ROCK-mediated signaling by are modeled by building cell-graphs to compute mathematical features capturing structural properties at multiple scales. These features were used to generate multiscale cell-graph signatures of untreated and ROCK signaling disrupted salivary gland organ explants. From confocal images of mouse submandibular salivary gland organ explants in which epithelial and mesenchymal nuclei were marked, a multiscale feature set capturing global structural properties, local structural properties, spectral, and morphological properties of the tissues was derived. Six feature selection algorithms and multiway modeling of the data was performed to identify distinct subsets of cell graph features that can uniquely classify and differentiate between different cell populations. Multiscale cell-graph analysis was most effective in classification of the tissue state. Cellular and tissue organization, as defined by a multiscale subset of cell-graph features, are both quantitatively distinct in epithelial and mesenchymal cell types both in the presence and absence of ROCK inhibitors. Whereas tensor analysis demonstrate that epithelial tissue was affected the most by inhibition of ROCK signaling, significant multiscale changes in mesenchymal tissue organization were identified with this analysis that were not identified in previous biological studies. We here show how to define and calculate a multiscale feature set as an effective computational approach to identify and quantify changes at multiple biological scales and to distinguish between different states in developing tissues.

Selective Functionalization of Nanofiber Scaffolds to Regulate Salivary Gland Epithelial Cell Proliferation and Polarity

Epithelial cell types typically lose apicobasal polarity when cultured on 2D substrates, but apicobasal polarity is required for directional secretion by secretory cells, such as salivary gland acinar cells. We cultured salivary gland epithelial cells on poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanofiber scaffolds that mimic the basement membrane, a specialized extracellular matrix, and examined cell proliferation and apicobasal polarization. Although cells proliferated on nanofibers, chitosan-coated nanofiber scaffolds stimulated proliferation of salivary gland epithelial cells. Although apicobasal cell polarity was promoted by the nanofiber scaffolds relative to flat surfaces, as determined by the apical localization of ZO-1, it was antagonized by the presence of chitosan. Neither salivary gland acinar nor ductal cells fully polarized on the nanofiber scaffolds, as determined by the homogenous membrane distribution of the mature tight junction marker, occludin. However, nanofiber scaffolds chemically functionalized with the basement membrane protein, laminin-111, promoted more mature tight junctions, as determined by apical localization of occludin, but did not affect cell proliferation. To emulate the multifunctional capabilities of the basement membrane, bifunctional PLGA nanofibers were generated. Both acinar and ductal cell lines responded to signals provided by bifunctional scaffolds coupled to chitosan and laminin-111, demonstrating the applicability of such scaffolds for epithelial cell types.

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