, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 198-211

Heat shock and the role of the HSPs during neural plate induction in early mammalian CNS and brain development

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We have investigated the early development expressional of the heat shock protein genes (hsps) and HSP synthesis and their role during neuroectoderm induction, differentiation and early CNS formation. The expression and kinetics of 90, 73/71, 47 and 27 HSPs on neuroectoderm differentiation was compared under normal and stressed conditions. The role of HSPs on neuroectoderm cell fate including thermotolerance and apoptosis using a whole in vitro embryo culture system was studied. Hsp expression appears closely linked in early mammalian development to critical differentiation and proliferation stages in early brain and heart formation. The hsps are developmentally activated around blastula stage and HSPs are constitutively expressed at high levels during neural tube closure and are heat shock responsive. Using both Northern analysis, confocal microscopy and whole mount in situ hybridisation we have identified the mRNA hsp transcripts and HSPs during organogenesis. HSPs were detected during neuroectoderm cell induction and differentiation with the hsp mRNA being tightly regulated during the cell cycle of neuroectoderm especially at early fore-, mid-, hindbrain and heart formation. The ‘chaperone’ functions of the HSPs are well known, recently during gastrulation the HSP47 and 27 have been shown to specifically bind and fold to nascent collagen and actin molecules respectively. This role is essential for the formation of the basement membrane, extra cellular matrix and neural crest migration during neural plate development. HSP function was observed by using anti-sense strategy, short ‘5 anti-sense cDNA’ hsp oligonucle otides inhibited hsp expression during gastrulation in the whole embryo cultures. The developmental activation of the heat shock element (HSE) is essential to our understanding of the HSPs role in neuronal cell fate. Using specific polyclonal antibodies to HSF1 and 2 (Dr Nakai, Kyoto University) the expression of heat shock factors (HSFs) during neuroectoderm differentiation was examined. Using Western analysis, confocal microscopy and flow cytometry HSF1 and 2 were identified and studied under both normal and heat shocked conditions. During gastrulation higher levels of HSF1 and 2 were identified in the neuroectoderm layer especially in regions of the fore-, mid- and hindbrain. The heat shock response and activation of the HSPs 90, 70, 47 and 27 families have been correlated with HSF1 and 2. The HSF1 appears to be present in all early embryonic cells but appears not to bind to the HSE untill early head fold stage at gastrulation when the presence of HSF2 is observed. During neuroectoderm differentiation the activation of HSF1 and 2 appears to correlate with high constitutive expression of many of the hsps specificially hsp90, 73, 71, 47 and 27 being tightly regulated by the cell cycle at neurulation.