Histone demethylase Lsd1 is required for the differentiation of neural cells in Nematostella vectensis

Nat Commun. 2022 Jan 24;13(1):465. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-28107-z.


Chromatin regulation is a key process in development but its contribution to the evolution of animals is largely unexplored. Chromatin is regulated by a diverse set of proteins, which themselves are tightly regulated in a cell/tissue-specific manner. Using the cnidarian Nematostella vectensis as a basal metazoan model, we explore the function of one such chromatin regulator, Lysine specific demethylase 1 (Lsd1). We generated an endogenously tagged allele and show that NvLsd1 expression is developmentally regulated and higher in differentiated neural cells than their progenitors. We further show, using a CRISPR/Cas9 generated mutant that loss of NvLsd1 leads to developmental abnormalities. This includes the almost complete loss of differentiated cnidocytes, cnidarian-specific neural cells, as a result of a cell-autonomous requirement for NvLsd1. Together this suggests that the integration of chromatin modifying proteins into developmental regulation predates the split of the cnidarian and bilaterian lineages and constitutes an ancient feature of animal development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Histone Demethylases / genetics
  • Histone Demethylases / metabolism*
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / enzymology*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Sea Anemones / embryology
  • Sea Anemones / enzymology*
  • Sea Anemones / metabolism


  • Chromatin
  • Histone Demethylases