Tissue mechanics have been shown to play a key role in the regulation of morphogenesis in animals [1-4] and may have an equally important role in plants [5-9]. The aerial organs of plants are formed at the shoot apical meristem following a specific phyllotactic pattern . The initiation of an organ from the meristem requires a highly localized irreversible surface deformation, which depends on the demethylesterification of cell wall pectins . Here, we used atomic force microscopy (AFM) to investigate whether these chemical changes lead to changes in tissue mechanics. By mapping the viscoelasticity and elasticity in living meristems, we observed increases in tissue elasticity, correlated with pectin demethylesterification, in primordia and at the site of incipient organs. Measurements of tissue elasticity at various depths showed that, at the site of incipient primordia, the first increases occurred in subepidermal tissues. The results support the following causal sequence of events: (1) demethylesterification of pectin is triggered in subepidermal tissue layers, (2) this contributes to an increase in elasticity of these layers-the first observable mechanical event in organ initiation, and (3) the process propagates to the epidermis during the outgrowth of the organ.
In culture, isogenic mammalian cells typically display enduring phenotypic heterogeneity that arises from fluctuations of gene expression and other intracellular processes. This diversity is not just simple noise but has biological relevance by generating plasticity. Noise driven plasticity was suggested to be a stem cell-specific feature.
The isomerization of all-trans retinol (vitamin A) to 11-cis retinol in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is a key step in the visual process for the regeneration of the visual pigment chromophore, 11-cis retinal. LRAT and RPE65 are recognized as the minimal isomerase catalytic components. However, regulators of this rate-limiting step are not fully identified and could account for the phenotypic variability associated with inherited retinal degeneration (RD) caused by mutations in the RPE65 gene. To identify new RPE65 partners, we screened a porcine RPE mRNA library using a yeast two-hybrid assay with full-length human RPE65. One identified clone (here named FATP1c), containing the cytosolic C-terminal sequence from the fatty acid transport protein 1 (FATP1 or SLC27A1, solute carrier family 27 member 1), was demonstrated to interact dose-dependently with the native RPE65 and with LRAT. Furthermore, these interacting proteins colocalize in the RPE. Cellular reconstitution of human interacting proteins shows that FATP1 markedly inhibits 11-cis retinol production by acting on the production of all-trans retinyl esters and the isomerase activity of RPE65. The identification of this new visual cycle inhibitory component in RPE may contribute to further understanding of retinal pathogenesis.
FATP1 is involved in lipid transport into cells and in intracellular lipid metabolism. We showed previously that this protein interacts with and inhibits the limiting-step isomerase of the visual cycle RPE65. Here, we aimed to analyze the effect of Fatp1-deficiency in vivo on the visual cycle, structure and function, and on retinal aging. Among the Fatp family members, we observed that only Fatp1 and 4 are expressed in the control retina, in both the neuroretina and the retinal pigment epithelium. In the neuroretina, Fatp1 is mostly expressed in photoreceptors. In young adult Fatp1(-/-) mice, Fatp4 expression was unchanged in retinal pigment epithelium and reduced two-fold in the neuroretina as compared to Fatp1(+/+) mice. The Fatp1(-/-) mice had a preserved retinal structure but a decreased electroretinogram response to light. These mice also displayed a delayed recovery of the b-wave amplitude after bleaching, however, visual cycle speed was unchanged, and both retinal pigment epithelium and photoreceptors presented the same fatty acid pattern compared to controls. In 2 year-old Fatp1(-/-) mice, transmission electron microscopy studies showed specific abnormalities in the retinas comprising choroid vascularization anomalies and thickening of the Bruch membrane with material deposits, and sometimes local disorganization of the photoreceptor outer segments. These anomalies lead us to speculate that the absence of FATP1 accelerates the aging process.
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