Anatomy and Neuroscience - Research Publications

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    Computational simulations and Ca2+ imaging reveal that slow synaptic depolarizations (slow EPSPs) inhibit fast EPSP evoked action potentials for most of their time course in enteric neurons
    Eskikand, PZ ; Koussoulas, K ; Gwynne, RM ; Bornstein, JC ; Jędrzejewska-Szmek, J (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2022-06-01)
    Transmission between neurons in the extensive enteric neural networks of the gut involves synaptic potentials with vastly different time courses and underlying conductances. Most enteric neurons exhibit fast excitatory post-synaptic potentials (EPSPs) lasting 20-50 ms, but many also exhibit slow EPSPs that last up to 100 s. When large enough, slow EPSPs excite action potentials at the start of the slow depolarization, but how they affect action potentials evoked by fast EPSPs is unknown. Furthermore, two other sources of synaptic depolarization probably occur in enteric circuits, activated via GABAA or GABAC receptors; how these interact with other synaptic depolarizations is also unclear. We built a compartmental model of enteric neurons incorporating realistic voltage-dependent ion channels, then simulated fast EPSPs, slow EPSPs and GABAA or GABAC ligand-gated Cl- channels to explore these interactions. Model predictions were tested by imaging Ca2+ transients in myenteric neurons ex vivo as an indicator of their activity during synaptic interactions. The model could mimic firing of myenteric neurons in mouse colon evoked by depolarizing current during intracellular recording and the fast and slow EPSPs in these neurons. Subthreshold fast EPSPs evoked spikes during the rising phase of a slow EPSP, but suprathreshold fast EPSPs could not evoke spikes later in a slow EPSP. This predicted inhibition was confirmed by Ca2+ imaging in which stimuli that evoke slow EPSPs suppressed activity evoked by fast EPSPs in many myenteric neurons. The model also predicted that synchronous activation of GABAA receptors and fast EPSPs potentiated firing evoked by the latter, while synchronous activation of GABAC receptors with fast EPSPs, potentiated firing and then suppressed it. The results reveal that so-called slow EPSPs have a biphasic effect being likely to suppress fast EPSP evoked firing over very long periods, perhaps accounting for prolonged quiescent periods seen in enteric motor patterns.
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    Time-resolved phosphoproteome and proteome analysis reveals kinase signaling on master transcription factors during myogenesis.
    Xiao, D ; Caldow, M ; Kim, HJ ; Blazev, R ; Koopman, R ; Manandi, D ; Parker, BL ; Yang, P (Elsevier BV, 2022-06-17)
    Myogenesis is governed by signaling networks that are tightly regulated in a time-dependent manner. Although different protein kinases have been identified, knowledge of the global signaling networks and their downstream substrates during myogenesis remains incomplete. Here, we map the myogenic differentiation of C2C12 cells using phosphoproteomics and proteomics. From these data, we infer global kinase activity and predict the substrates that are involved in myogenesis. We found that multiple mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) mark the initial wave of signaling cascades. Further phosphoproteomic and proteomic profiling with MAPK1/3 and MAPK8/9 specific inhibitions unveil their shared and distinctive roles in myogenesis. Lastly, we identified and validated the transcription factor nuclear factor 1 X-type (NFIX) as a novel MAPK1/3 substrate and demonstrated the functional impact of NFIX phosphorylation on myogenesis. Altogether, these data characterize the dynamics, interactions, and downstream control of kinase signaling networks during myogenesis on a global scale.
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    Maternal obesity: influencing the heart right from the start
    Sergienko, NM ; Bell, JR ; Weeks, KL (WILEY, 2022-06-07)
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    IL-33 promotes gastric tumour growth in concert with activation and recruitment of inflammatory myeloid cells.
    Tran, CP ; Scurr, M ; O'Connor, L ; Buzzelli, JN ; Ng, GZ ; Chin, SCN ; Stamp, LA ; Minamoto, T ; Giraud, AS ; Judd, LM ; Sutton, P ; Menheniott, TR (Impact Journals, LLC, 2022)
    Interleukin-33 (IL-33) is an IL-1 family cytokine known to promote T-helper (Th) type 2 immune responses that are often deregulated in gastric cancer (GC). IL-33 is overexpressed in human gastric tumours suggesting a role in driving GC progression although a causal link has not been proven. Here, we investigated the impact of IL-33 genetic deficiency in the well-characterized gp130 F/F mouse model of GC. Expression of IL-33 (and it's cognate receptor, ST2) was increased in human and mouse GC progression. IL-33 deficient gp130 F/F /Il33 -/- mice had reduced gastric tumour growth and reduced recruitment of pro-tumorigenic myeloid cells including key mast cell subsets and type-2 (M2) macrophages. Cell sorting of gastric tumours revealed that IL-33 chiefly localized to gastric (tumour) epithelial cells and was absent from tumour-infiltrating immune cells (except modest IL-33 enrichment within CD11b+ CX3CR1+CD64+MHCII+ macrophages). By contrast, ST2 was absent from gastric epithelial cells and localized exclusively within the (non-macrophage) immune cell fraction together with mast cell markers, Mcpt1 and Mcpt2. Collectively, we show that IL-33 is required for gastric tumour growth and provide evidence of a likely mechanism by which gastric epithelial-derived IL-33 drives mobilization of tumour-promoting inflammatory myeloid cells.
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    Tetraspanin CD82 restrains phagocyte migration but supports macrophage activation
    McGowan, ENS ; Wong, O ; Jones, E ; Nguyen, J ; Wee, J ; Demaria, MC ; Deliyanti, D ; Johnson, CJ ; Hickey, MJ ; McConville, MJ ; Wilkinson-Berka, JL ; Wright, MD ; Binger, KJ (CELL PRESS, 2022-07-15)
    Phagocytes migrate into tissues to combat infection and maintain tissue homeostasis. As dysregulated phagocyte migration and function can lead to inflammation or susceptibility to infection, identifying molecules that control these processes is critical. Here, we show that the tetraspanin CD82 restrains the migration of neutrophils and macrophages into tissues. Cd82 -/- phagocytes exhibited excessive migration during in vivo models of peritoneal inflammation, superfusion of CXCL1, retinopathy of prematurity, and infection with the protozoan parasite L. mexicana. However, with the latter, while Cd82 -/- macrophages infiltrated infection sites at higher proportions, cutaneous L. mexicana lesions were larger and persisted, indicating a failure to control infection. Analyses of in vitro bone-marrow-derived macrophages showed CD82 deficiency altered cellular morphology, and impaired gene expression and metabolism in response to anti-inflammatory activation. Altogether, this work reveals an important role for CD82 in restraining phagocyte infiltration and mediating their differentiation in response to stimulatory cues.
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    The alpha(1)-adrenoceptor inhibitor rho-TIA facilitates net hunting in piscivorous Conus tulipa
    Dutt, M ; Giacomotto, J ; Ragnarsson, L ; Andersson, A ; Brust, A ; Dekan, Z ; Alewood, PF ; Lewis, RJ (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2019-11-28)
    Cone snails use separately evolved venoms for prey capture and defence. While most use a harpoon for prey capture, the Gastridium clade that includes the well-studied Conus geographus and Conus tulipa, have developed a net hunting strategy to catch fish. This unique feeding behaviour requires secretion of "nirvana cabal" peptides to dampen the escape response of targeted fish allowing for their capture directly by mouth. However, the active components of the nirvana cabal remain poorly defined. In this study, we evaluated the behavioural effects of likely nirvana cabal peptides on the teleost model, Danio rerio (zebrafish). Surprisingly, the conantokins (NMDA receptor antagonists) and/or conopressins (vasopressin receptor agonists and antagonists) found in C. geographus and C. tulipa venom failed to produce a nirvana cabal-like effect in zebrafish. In contrast, low concentrations of the non-competitive adrenoceptor antagonist ρ-TIA found in C. tulipa venom (EC50 = 190 nM) dramatically reduced the escape response of zebrafish larvae when added directly to aquarium water. ρ-TIA inhibited the zebrafish α1-adrenoceptor, confirming ρ-TIA has the potential to reverse the known stimulating effects of norepinephrine on fish behaviour. ρ-TIA may act alone and not as part of a cabal, since it did not synergise with conopressins and/or conantokins. This study highlights the importance of using ecologically relevant animal behaviour models to decipher the complex neurobiology underlying the prey capture and defensive strategies of cone snails.
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    Venomics Reveals Venom Complexity of the Piscivorous Cone Snail, Conus tulipa
    Dutt, M ; Dutertre, S ; Jin, A-H ; Lavergne, V ; Alewood, PF ; Lewis, RJ (MDPI, 2019-01-01)
    The piscivorous cone snail Conus tulipa has evolved a net-hunting strategy, akin to the deadly Conus geographus, and is considered the second most dangerous cone snail to humans. Here, we present the first venomics study of C. tulipa venom using integrated transcriptomic and proteomic approaches. Parallel transcriptomic analysis of two C. tulipa specimens revealed striking differences in conopeptide expression levels (2.5-fold) between individuals, identifying 522 and 328 conotoxin precursors from 18 known gene superfamilies. Despite broad overlap at the superfamily level, only 86 precursors (11%) were common to both specimens. Conantokins (NMDA antagonists) from the superfamily B1 dominated the transcriptome and proteome of C. tulipa venom, along with superfamilies B2, A, O1, O3, con-ikot-ikot and conopressins, plus novel putative conotoxins precursors T1.3, T6.2, T6.3, T6.4 and T8.1. Thus, C. tulipa venom comprised both paralytic (putative ion channel modulating α-, ω-, μ-, δ-) and non-paralytic (conantokins, con-ikot-ikots, conopressins) conotoxins. This venomic study confirms the potential for non-paralytic conotoxins to contribute to the net-hunting strategy of C. tulipa.
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    Transcriptomic-Proteomic Correlation in the Predation-Evoked Venom of the Cone Snail, Conus imperialis.
    Jin, A-H ; Dutertre, S ; Dutt, M ; Lavergne, V ; Jones, A ; Lewis, RJ ; Alewood, PF (MDPI AG, 2019-03-19)
    Individual variation in animal venom has been linked to geographical location, feeding habit, season, size, and gender. Uniquely, cone snails possess the remarkable ability to change venom composition in response to predatory or defensive stimuli. To date, correlations between the venom gland transcriptome and proteome within and between individual cone snails have not been reported. In this study, we use 454 pyrosequencing and mass spectrometry to decipher the transcriptomes and proteomes of the venom gland and corresponding predation-evoked venom of two specimens of Conus imperialis. Transcriptomic analyses revealed 17 conotoxin gene superfamilies common to both animals, including 5 novel superfamilies and two novel cysteine frameworks. While highly expressed transcripts were common to both specimens, variation of moderately and weakly expressed precursor sequences was surprisingly diverse, with one specimen expressing two unique gene superfamilies and consistently producing more paralogs within each conotoxin gene superfamily. Using a quantitative labelling method, conotoxin variability was compared quantitatively, with highly expressed peptides showing a strong correlation between transcription and translation, whereas peptides expressed at lower levels showed a poor correlation. These results suggest that major transcripts are subject to stabilizing selection, while minor transcripts are subject to diversifying selection.
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    Acute Down-regulation of BDNF Signaling Does Not Replicate Exacerbated Amyloid-beta Levels and Cognitive Impairment Induced by Cholinergic Basal Forebrain Lesion
    Turnbull, MT ; Boskovic, Z ; Coulson, EJ (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2018-02-22)
    Degeneration of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons (BFCNs) precedes hippocampal degeneration and pathological amyloid-beta (Aβ) accumulation, and underpins the development of cognitive dysfunction in sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD). We hypothesized that degeneration of BFCNs causes a decrease in neurotrophin levels in innervated brain areas, which in turn promotes the development of Aβ pathology and cognitive impairment. Here we show that lesion of septo-hippocampal BFCNs in a pre-symptomatic transgenic amyloid AD mouse model (APP/PS1 mice) increases soluble Aβ levels in the hippocampus, and induces cognitive deficits in a spatial memory task that are not seen in either unlesioned APP/PS1 or non-transgenic littermate control mice. Furthermore, the BFCN lesion results in decreased levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). However, viral knockdown of neuronal BDNF in the hippocampus of APP/PS1 mice (in the absence of BFCN loss) neither increased the level of Aβ nor caused cognitive deficits. These results suggest that the cognitive decline and Aβ pathology induced by BFCN loss occur independent of dysfunctional neuronal BDNF signaling, and may therefore be directly underpinned by reduced cholinergic neurotransmission.
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    Lesions of the Basal Forebrain Cholinergic System in Mice Disrupt Idiothetic Navigation
    Hamlin, AS ; Windels, F ; Boskovic, Z ; Sah, P ; Coulson, EJ ; Ginsberg, SD (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-01-08)
    Loss of integrity of the basal forebrain cholinergic neurons is a consistent feature of Alzheimer's disease, and measurement of basal forebrain degeneration by magnetic resonance imaging is emerging as a sensitive diagnostic marker for prodromal disease. It is also known that Alzheimer's disease patients perform poorly on both real space and computerized cued (allothetic) or uncued (idiothetic) recall navigation tasks. Although the hippocampus is required for allothetic navigation, lesions of this region only mildly affect idiothetic navigation. Here we tested the hypothesis that the cholinergic medial septo-hippocampal circuit is important for idiothetic navigation. Basal forebrain cholinergic neurons were selectively lesioned in mice using the toxin saporin conjugated to a basal forebrain cholinergic neuronal marker, the p75 neurotrophin receptor. Control animals were able to learn and remember spatial information when tested on a modified version of the passive place avoidance test where all extramaze cues were removed, and animals had to rely on idiothetic signals. However, the exploratory behaviour of mice with cholinergic basal forebrain lesions was highly disorganized during this test. By contrast, the lesioned animals performed no differently from controls in tasks involving contextual fear conditioning and spatial working memory (Y maze), and displayed no deficits in potentially confounding behaviours such as motor performance, anxiety, or disturbed sleep/wake cycles. These data suggest that the basal forebrain cholinergic system plays a specific role in idiothetic navigation, a modality that is impaired early in Alzheimer's disease.