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Dev Cell. 2019 Jun 17;49(6):852-866.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2019.05.036.

Spatiotemporal Patterning of Zygotic Genome Activation in a Model Vertebrate Embryo.

Author information

1
Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
2
Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA; Department of Bioengineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. Electronic address: mattgood@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.

Abstract

A defining feature of early embryogenesis is the transition from maternal to zygotic control. This transition requires embryo-wide zygotic genome activation (ZGA), but the extent of spatiotemporal coordination of ZGA between individual cells is unknown. Multiple interrelated parameters, including elapsed time, completed cycles of cell division, and cell size may impact ZGA onset; however, the principal determinant of ZGA during vertebrate embryogenesis is debated. Here, we perform single-cell imaging of large-scale ZGA in whole-mount Xenopus embryos. We find a striking new spatiotemporal pattern of ZGA whose onset tightly correlates with cell size but not with elapsed time or number of cell divisions. Further, reducing cell size induces premature ZGA, dose dependently. We conclude that large-scale ZGA is not spatially uniform and that its onset is determined at the single-cell level, primarily by cell size. Our study suggests that spatial patterns of ZGA onset may be a common feature of embryonic systems.

KEYWORDS:

cell size; counter; early embryogenesis; miniature embryo; nascent transcription; single cell; sizer; spatiotemporal pattern; timer; zygotic genome activation

PMID:
31211992
PMCID:
PMC6655562
[Available on 2020-06-17]
DOI:
10.1016/j.devcel.2019.05.036

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