How tissue patterns are formed and maintained are fundamental questions. The murine tongue epithelium, a paradigm for tissue patterning, consists of an array of specialized fungiform papillae structures that harbor taste cells. The formation of fungiform papillae is preceded by pronounced spatial changes in gene expression, in which taste cell genes such as Shh, initially diffused in lingual epithelial progenitors, become restricted to taste cells when their specification progresses. However, the requirement of spatial restriction of taste cell gene expression for patterning and formation of fungiform papillae is unknown. Here, we show that a chromatin regulator, Polycomb repressive complex (PRC) 1, is required for proper maintenance of fungiform papillae by repressing Shh and preventing ectopic SHH signaling in non-taste cells. Ablation of SHH signaling in PRC1-null non-taste cells rescues the maintenance of taste cells. Altogether, our studies exemplify how epigenetic regulation establishes spatial gene expression patterns necessary for specialized niche structures. Formation and maintenance of patterns are critical for tissue development. Bar et al. show that PRC1, an epigenetic regulator, is critical for lingual papillae development. Specifically, PRC1 regulates maintenance of the developing fungiform papillae, harboring taste cells, by repressing Shh expression in the non-gustatory epithelium surrounding taste cells.
- Sonic Hedgehog
- filiform papillae
- fungiform papillae
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)