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.
Keywords: PRC1; Polycomb; Sonic Hedgehog; filiform papillae; fungiform papillae.
Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.