The Palancade Lab rencently contributed to the publication of a new article in Cell Death Discovery :
Pituitary gonadotrope cells are essential for the endocrine regulation of reproduction in vertebrates. These cells emerge early during embryogenesis, colonize the pituitary glands and organize in tridimensional networks, which are believed to be crucial to ensure proper regulation of fertility. However, the molecular mechanisms regulating the organization of gonadotrope cell population during embryogenesis remain poorly understood. In this work, we characterized the target genes of NEUROD1 and NEUROD4 transcription factors in the immature gonadotrope αT3-1 cell model by in silico functional genomic analyses. We demonstrated that NEUROD1/4 regulate genes belonging to the focal adhesion pathway. Using CRISPR/Cas9 knock-out approaches, we established a double NEUROD1/4 knock-out αT3-1 cell model and demonstrated that NEUROD1/4 regulate cell adhesion and cell motility. We then characterized, by immuno-fluorescence, focal adhesion number and signaling in the context of NEUROD1/4 insufficiency. We demonstrated that NEUROD1/4 knock-out leads to an increase in the number of focal adhesions associated with signaling abnormalities implicating the c-Src kinase. We further showed that the neurotrophin tyrosine kinase receptor 3 NTRK3, a target of NEUROD1/4, interacts physically with c-Src. Furthermore, using motility rescue experiments and time-lapse video microscopy, we demonstrated that NTRK3 is a major regulator of gonadotrope cell motility. Finally, using a Ntrk3 knock-out mouse model, we showed that NTRK3 regulates gonadotrope cells positioning in the developing pituitary, in vivo. Altogether our study demonstrates that the Neurod1/4-Ntrk3-cSrc pathway is a major actor of gonadotrope cell mobility, and thus provides new insights in the regulation of gonadotrope cell organization within the pituitary gland.