Single-cell analysis of cell fate bifurcation in the chordate Ciona [article]

Konner M Winkley, Wendy M Reeves, Michael T Veeman
2020 bioRxiv   pre-print
Inductive signaling interactions between different cell types are a major mechanism for the further diversification of embryonic cell fates. Most blastomeres in the model chordate Ciona robusta become restricted to a single predominant fate between the 64-cell and mid-gastrula stages. We used single-cell RNAseq spanning this period to identify 53 distinct cell states, 25 of which are dependent on a MAPK-mediated signal critical to early Ciona patterning. Divergent gene expression between newly
more » ... ifurcated sibling cell types is dominated by upregulation in the induced cell type. These upregulated genes typically include numerous transcription factors and not just one or two key regulators. The Ets family transcription factor Elk1/3/4 is upregulated in almost all the putatively direct inductions, indicating that it may act in an FGF-dependent feedback loop. We examine several bifurcations in detail and find support for a 'broad-hourglass' model of cell fate specification in which many genes are induced in parallel to key tissue-specific transcriptional regulators via the same set of transcriptional inputs.
doi:10.1101/2020.10.19.346213 fatcat:xsx4tnqd5zcdvehxokswqebsnq