Most organs rely on stem cells to maintain homeostasis during post-embryonic life. Typically, stem cells of independent lineages work coordinately within mature organs to ensure proper ratios of cell types. Little is known, however, on how these different stem cells locate to forming organs during development. Here we show that neuromasts of the posterior lateral line in medaka are composed of two independent life-long lineages with different embryonic origins. Clonal analysis and 4D imaging revealed a hierarchical organisation with instructing and responding roles: an inner, neural lineage induces the formation of an outer, border cell lineage (nBC) from the skin epithelium. Our results demonstrate that the neural lineage is necessary and sufficient to generate nBCs highlighting self-organisation principles at the level of the entire embryo. We hypothesise that induction of surrounding tissues plays a major role during the establishment of vertebrate stem cell niches.
In this study we provide evidence that the spindle matrix protein Skeletor in Drosophila interacts with the human ASCIZ (also known as ATMIN and ZNF822) ortholog, Digitor/dASCIZ. This interaction was first detected in a yeast two-hybrid screen and subsequently confirmed by pull-down assays. We also confirm a previously documented function of Digitor/dASCIZ as a regulator of Dynein light chain/Cut up expression. Using transgenic expression of a mCitrine-labeled Digitor construct, we show that Digitor/dASCIZ is a nuclear protein that is localized to interband and developmental puff chromosomal regions during interphase but redistributes to the spindle region during mitosis. Its mitotic localization and physical interaction with Skeletor suggest the possibility that Digitor/dASCIZ plays a direct role in mitotic progression as a member of the spindle matrix complex. Furthermore, we have characterized a P-element insertion that is likely to be a true null Digitor/dASCIZ allele resulting in complete pupal lethality when homozygous, indicating that Digitor/dASCIZ is an essential gene. Phenotypic analysis of the mutant provided evidence that Digitor/dASCIZ plays critical roles in regulation of metamorphosis and organogenesis as well as in the DNA damage response. In the Digitor/dASCIZ null mutant larvae there was greatly elevated levels of γH2Av, indicating accumulation of DNA double-strand breaks. Furthermore, reduced levels of Digitor/dASCIZ decreased the resistance to paraquat-induced oxidative stress resulting in increased mortality in a stress test paradigm. We show that an early developmental consequence of the absence of Digitor/dASCIZ is reduced third instar larval brain size although overall larval development appeared otherwise normal at this stage. While Digitor/dASCIZ mutant larvae initiate pupation, all mutant pupae failed to eclose and exhibited various defects in metamorphosis such as impaired differentiation, incomplete disc eversion, and faulty apoptosis. Altogether we provide evidence that Digitor/dASCIZ is a nuclear protein that performs multiple roles in Drosophila larval and pupal development.