Anatomy and Neuroscience - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 348
Overcoming Monocarboxylate Transporter 8 (MCT8)-Deficiency to Promote Human Oligodendrocyte Differentiation and Myelination
(ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, 2017-11-01)
Cell membrane thyroid hormone (TH) transport can be facilitated by the monocarboxylate transporter 8 (MCT8), encoded by the solute carrier family 16 member 2 (SLC16A2) gene. Human mutations of the gene, SLC16A2, result in the X-linked-inherited psychomotor retardation and hypomyelination disorder, Allan-Herndon-Dudley syndrome (AHDS). We posited that abrogating MCT8-dependent TH transport limits oligodendrogenesis and myelination. We show that human oligodendrocytes (OL), derived from the NKX2.1-GFP human embryonic stem cell (hESC) reporter line, express MCT8. Moreover, treatment of these cultures with DITPA (an MCT8-independent TH analog), up-regulates OL differentiation transcription factors and myelin gene expression. DITPA promotes hESC-derived OL myelination of retinal ganglion axons in co-culture. Pharmacological and genetic blockade of MCT8 induces significant OL apoptosis, impairing myelination. DITPA treatment limits OL apoptosis mediated by SLC16A2 down-regulation primarily signaling through AKT phosphorylation, driving myelination. Our results highlight the potential role of MCT8 in TH transport for human OL development and may implicate DITPA as a promising treatment for developmentally-regulated myelination in AHDS.
Nox (NADPH Oxidase) 1, Nox4, and Nox5 Promote Vascular Permeability and Neovascularization in Retinopathy.
Hypertension is a risk factor for the vascular permeability and neovascularization that threatens vision in diabetic retinopathy. Excess reactive oxygen species derived from the Nox (NADPH oxidase) isoforms, Nox1 and Nox4, contributes to vasculopathy in diabetic retinopathy; however, if Nox1/4 inhibition is beneficial in hypertensive diabetic retinopathy is unknown. Here, we determined that diabetic spontaneously hypertensive rats had exacerbated retinal vascular permeability and expression of angiogenic and inflammatory factors, compared with normotensive diabetic Wistar Kyoto rats. GKT136901, a specific dual inhibitor of Nox1 and Nox4, prevented these events in diabetic Wistar Kyoto rats and spontaneously hypertensive rats. Retinal neovascularization does not develop in diabetic rodents, and therefore, the oxygen-induced retinopathy model is used to evaluate this pathology. We previously demonstrated that Nox1/4 inhibition reduced retinal neovascularization in oxygen-induced retinopathy. However, although Nox5 is expressed in human retina, its contribution to retinopathy has not been studied in vivo, largely due to its absence from the rodent genome. We generated transgenic mice with inducible human Nox5 expressed in endothelial cells (vascular endothelial-cadherin+Nox5+ mice). In vascular endothelial-cadherin+Nox5+ mice with oxygen-induced retinopathy, retinal vascular permeability and neovascularization, as well as the expression of angiogenic and inflammatory factors, were increased compared with wild-type littermates. In bovine retinal endothelial cells, which express Nox1, Nox4, and Nox5, Nox1/4 inhibition, as well as Nox5 silencing RNA, reduced the high glucose-induced upregulation of oxidative stress, angiogenic, and inflammatory factors. Collectively, these data indicate the potential of Nox1, Nox4, and Nox5 inhibition to reduce vision-threatening damage to the retinal vasculature.
The gene encoding the ketogenic enzyme HMGCS2 displays a unique expression during gonad development in mice.
Disorders/differences of sex development (DSD) cause profound psychological and reproductive consequences for the affected individuals, however, most are still unexplained at the molecular level. Here, we present a novel gene, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A synthase 2 (HMGCS2), encoding a metabolic enzyme in the liver important for energy production from fatty acids, that shows an unusual expression pattern in developing fetal mouse gonads. Shortly after gonadal sex determination it is up-regulated in the developing testes following a very similar spatial and temporal pattern as the male-determining gene Sry in Sertoli cells before switching to ovarian enriched expression. To test if Hmgcs2 is important for gonad development in mammals, we pursued two lines of investigations. Firstly, we generated Hmgcs2-null mice using CRISPR/Cas9 and found that these mice had gonads that developed normally even on a sensitized background. Secondly, we screened 46,XY DSD patients with gonadal dysgenesis and identified two unrelated patients with a deletion and a deleterious missense variant in HMGCS2 respectively. However, both variants were heterozygous, suggesting that HMGCS2 might not be the causative gene. Analysis of a larger number of patients in the future might shed more light into the possible association of HMGCS2 with human gonadal development.
A novel evolutionary conserved mechanism of RNA stability regulates synexpression of primordial germ cell-specific genes prior to the sex-determination stage in medaka
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2019-04-01)
Dmrt1 is a highly conserved transcription factor, which is critically involved in regulation of gonad development of vertebrates. In medaka, a duplicate of dmrt1-acting as master sex-determining gene-has a tightly timely and spatially controlled gonadal expression pattern. In addition to transcriptional regulation, a sequence motif in the 3' UTR (D3U-box) mediates transcript stability of dmrt1 mRNAs from medaka and other vertebrates. We show here that in medaka, two RNA-binding proteins with antagonizing properties target this D3U-box, promoting either RNA stabilization in germ cells or degradation in the soma. The D3U-box is also conserved in other germ-cell transcripts, making them responsive to the same RNA binding proteins. The evolutionary conservation of the D3U-box motif within dmrt1 genes of metazoans-together with preserved expression patterns of the targeting RNA binding proteins in subsets of germ cells-suggest that this new mechanism for controlling RNA stability is not restricted to fishes but might also apply to other vertebrates.
Exposure of trophoblast cells to fine particulate matter air pollution leads to growth inhibition, inflammation and ER stress
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2019-07-18)
Ambient air pollution is considered a major environmental health threat to pregnant women. Our previous work has shown an association between exposure to airborne particulate matter (PM) and an increased risk of developing pre-eclamspia. It is now recognized that many pregnancy complications are due to underlying placental dysfunction, and this tissue plays a pivotal role in pre-eclamspia. Recent studies have shown that PM can enter the circulation and reach the human placenta but the effects of PM on human placental function are still largely unknown. In this work we investigated the effects of airborne PM on trophoblast cells. Human, first trimester trophoblast cells (HTR-8/SV) were exposed to urban pollution particles (Malmö PM2.5; Prague PM10) for up to seven days in vitro and were analysed for uptake, levels of hCGβ and IL-6 secretion and proteomic analysis. HTR-8/SVneo cells rapidly endocytose PM within 30 min of exposure and particles accumulate in the cell in perinuclear vesicles. High doses of Prague and Malmö PM (500–5000 ng/ml) significantly decreased hCGβ secretion and increased IL-6 secretion after 48 h exposure. Exposure to PM (50 ng/ml) for 48h or seven days led to reduced cellular growth and altered protein expression. The differentially expressed proteins are involved in networks that regulate cellular processes such as inflammation, endoplasmic reticulum stress, cellular survival and molecular transport pathways. Our studies suggest that trophoblast cells exposed to low levels of urban PM respond with reduced growth, oxidative stress, inflammation and endoplasmic reticulum stress after taking up the particles by endocytosis. Many of the dysfunctional cellular processes ascribed to the differentially expressed proteins in this study, are similar to those described in PE, suggesting that low levels of urban PM may disrupt cellular processes in trophoblast cells. Many of the differentially expressed proteins identified in this study are involved in inflammation and may be potential biomarkers for PE.
Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) expression and activation during lens development
(MOLECULAR VISION, 2007-03-26)
PURPOSE: Regulation of lens development involves an intricate interplay between growth factor (e.g. FGF and TGFbeta) and extracellular matrix (ECM) signaling pathways. Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) is a cytoplasmic tyrosine kinase that plays key roles in transmitting ECM signals by integrins. In this study, we delineated patterns of FAK expression and tyrosine phosphorylation (Y397) in the developing lens and investigated its regulation by FGF2. We also examined FAK expression and activation during disrupted fiber differentiation in mice expressing a dominant-negative TGFbeta receptor. METHODS: FAK expression and activation (phosphorylation on Y397) was studied in embryonic and postnatal rodent lenses by in situ hybridization, immunofluorescence, and western blotting. Rat lens explants were used to investigate the effects of FGF2 on FAK expression and activation. Immunofluorescence and western blotting were used to examine FAK expression and phosphorylation in transgenic mice that express a dominant-negative TGFbeta receptor. RESULTS: FAK is widely expressed and phosphorylated during embryonic stages of lens morphogenesis and differentiation. However, in postnatal lenses its expression and activation becomes restricted to the posterior germinative zone and the transitional zone at the lens equator. While both NH2- and COOH-terminal antibodies revealed cytoplasmic and membrane-associated staining in lens cells, the NH2-terminal antibody also showed FAK was present in fiber cell nuclei. In vitro, FAK expression and phosphorylation on Y397 were increased by concentrations of FGF2 that initiate lens epithelial cell migration (10 ng/ml) and differentiation (50 ng/ml) but not proliferation (5 ng/ml). Moreover, reactivity for Y397 phosphorylated FAK is prominent in the nuclei of differentiating fibers both in vivo and in vitro. Disruption of TGFbeta-like signals by ectopic expression of a dominant-negative TGFbeta receptor (TbetaRII(D/N)) results in abnormal lens fiber differentiation in transgenic mice. While FAK expression is initiated normally in the posterior germinative zone of TbetaRII(D/N) transgenic lenses, as fiber differentiation proceeds, FAK becomes localized to a perinuclear compartment, decreases its association with the cytoskeleton and is poorly phosphorylated on Y(397). CONCLUSIONS: FAK is widely expressed and activated during early lens morphogenesis. During secondary lens fiber differentiation, FAK is expressed and phosphorylated on Y397 as epithelial cells exit the cell cycle, initiate migration at the equator, and undergo differentiation in the transitional zone. During terminal fiber differentiation an NH2-terminal fragment of FAK, including Y397, is translocated to the nucleus. The expression, activation, and nuclear localization of FAK are regulated, at least partly, by FGF2. FAK activity and subcellular localization are also modulated by TGFbeta-like signals. In fiber cells of TbetaRII(D/N) transgenic lenses, FAK is abnormally retained in a perinuclear compartment, loses its association with the cytoskeleton, and is poorly phosphorylated. These data suggest that integrin signaling via FAK plays important roles during lens differentiation, mediated by FGFs and TGFbeta-superfamily signals.
A Requirement for FGF Signalling in the Formation of Primitive Streak-Like Intermediates from Primitive Ectoderm in Culture
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2010-09-03)
BACKGROUND: Embryonic stem (ES) cells hold considerable promise as a source of cells with therapeutic potential, including cells that can be used for drug screening and in cell replacement therapies. Differentiation of ES cells into the somatic lineages is a regulated process; before the promise of these cells can be realised robust and rational methods for directing differentiation into normal, functional and safe cells need to be developed. Previous in vivo studies have implicated fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signalling in lineage specification from pluripotent cells. Although FGF signalling has been suggested as essential for specification of mesoderm and endoderm in vivo and in culture, the exact role of this pathway remains unclear. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using a culture model based on early primitive ectoderm-like (EPL) cells we have investigated the role of FGF signalling in the specification of mesoderm. We were unable to demonstrate any mesoderm inductive capability associated with FGF1, 4 or 8 signalling, even when the factors were present at high concentrations, nor any enhancement in mesoderm formation induced by exogenous BMP4. Furthermore, there was no evidence of alteration of mesoderm sub-type formed with addition of FGF1, 4 or 8. Inhibition of endogenous FGF signalling, however, prevented mesoderm and favoured neural differentiation, suggesting FGF signalling was required but not sufficient for the differentiation of primitive ectoderm into primitive streak-like intermediates. The maintenance of ES cell/early epiblast pluripotent marker expression was also observed in cultures when FGF signalling was inhibited. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: FGF signalling has been shown to be required for the differentiation of primitive ectoderm to neurectoderm. This, coupled with our observations, suggest FGF signalling is required for differentiation of the primitive ectoderm into the germ lineages at gastrulation.
A Role for Smoothened during Murine Lens and Cornea Development
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2014-09-30)
Various studies suggest that Hedgehog (Hh) signalling plays roles in human and zebrafish ocular development. Recent studies (Kerr et al., Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012; 53, 3316-30) showed that conditionally activating Hh signals promotes murine lens epithelial cell proliferation and disrupts fibre differentiation. In this study we examined the expression of the Hh pathway and the requirement for the Smoothened gene in murine lens development. Expression of Hh pathway components in developing lens was examined by RT-PCR, immunofluorescence and in situ hybridisation. The requirement of Smo in lens development was determined by conditional loss-of-function mutations, using LeCre and MLR10 Cre transgenic mice. The phenotype of mutant mice was examined by immunofluorescence for various markers of cell cycle, lens and cornea differentiation. Hh pathway components (Ptch1, Smo, Gli2, Gli3) were detected in lens epithelium from E12.5. Gli2 was particularly localised to mitotic nuclei and, at E13.5, Gli3 exhibited a shift from cytosol to nucleus, suggesting distinct roles for these transcription factors. Conditional deletion of Smo, from ∼E12.5 (MLR10 Cre) did not affect ocular development, whereas deletion from ∼E9.5 (LeCre) resulted in lens and corneal defects from E14.5. Mutant lenses were smaller and showed normal expression of p57Kip2, c-Maf, E-cadherin and Pax6, reduced expression of FoxE3 and Ptch1 and decreased nuclear Hes1. There was normal G1-S phase but decreased G2-M phase transition at E16.5 and epithelial cell death from E14.5-E16.5. Mutant corneas were thicker due to aberrant migration of Nrp2+ cells from the extraocular mesenchyme, resulting in delayed corneal endothelial but normal epithelial differentiation. These results indicate the Hh pathway is required during a discrete period (E9.5-E12.5) in lens development to regulate lens epithelial cell proliferation, survival and FoxE3 expression. Defective corneal development occurs secondary to defects in lens and appears to be due to defective migration of peri-ocular Nrp2+ neural crest/mesenchymal cells.
TrkB Agonist LM22A-4 Increases Oligodendroglial Populations During Myelin Repair in the Corpus Callosum
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2019-08-27)
The neurotrophin, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) promotes central nervous system (CNS) myelination during development and after injury. This is achieved via activation of oligodendrocyte-expressed tropomyosin-related kinase (Trk) B receptors. However, while administration of BDNF has shown beneficial effects, BDNF itself has a poor pharmacokinetic profile. Here, we compare two TrkB-targeted BDNF-mimetics, the structural-mimetic, tricyclic dimeric peptide-6 (TDP6) and the non-peptide small molecule TrkB agonist LM22A-4 in a cuprizone model of central demyelination in female mice. Both mimetics promoted remyelination, increasing myelin sheath thickness and oligodendrocyte densities after 1-week recovery. Importantly, LM22A-4 exerts these effects in an oligodendroglial TrkB-dependent manner. However, analysis of TrkB signaling by LM22A-4 suggests rather than direct activation of TrkB, LM22A-4 exerts its effects via indirect transactivation of Trk receptors. Overall, these studies support the therapeutic strategy to selectively targeting TrkB activation to promote remyelination in the brain.
THE CONCISE GUIDE TO PHARMACOLOGY 2019/20: G protein-coupled receptors
The Concise Guide to PHARMACOLOGY 2019/20 is the fourth in this series of biennial publications. The Concise Guide provides concise overviews of the key properties of nearly 1800 human drug targets with an emphasis on selective pharmacology (where available), plus links to the open access knowledgebase source of drug targets and their ligands (www.guidetopharmacology.org), which provides more detailed views of target and ligand properties. Although the Concise Guide represents approximately 400 pages, the material presented is substantially reduced compared to information and links presented on the website. It provides a permanent, citable, point-in-time record that will survive database updates. The full contents of this section can be found at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.14748. G protein-coupled receptors are one of the six major pharmacological targets into which the Guide is divided, with the others being: ion channels, nuclear hormone receptors, catalytic receptors, enzymes and transporters. These are presented with nomenclature guidance and summary information on the best available pharmacological tools, alongside key references and suggestions for further reading. The landscape format of the Concise Guide is designed to facilitate comparison of related targets from material contemporary to mid-2019, and supersedes data presented in the 2017/18, 2015/16 and 2013/14 Concise Guides and previous Guides to Receptors and Channels. It is produced in close conjunction with the International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology Committee on Receptor Nomenclature and Drug Classification (NC-IUPHAR), therefore, providing official IUPHAR classification and nomenclature for human drug targets, where appropriate.
Targeted viral vector transduction of relaxin-3 neurons in the rat nucleus incertus using a novel cell-type specific promoter.
Modern neuroscience utilizes transgenic techniques extensively to study the activity and function of brain neural networks. A key feature of this approach is its compatibility with molecular methods for selective transgene expression in neuronal circuits of interest. Until now, such targeted transgenic approaches have not been applied to the extensive circuitry involving the neuropeptide, relaxin-3. Pharmacological and gene knock-out studies have revealed relaxin-3 signalling modulates interrelated behaviours and cognitive processes, including stress and anxiety, food and alcohol consumption, and spatial and social memory, highlighting the potential of this system as a therapeutic target. In the present study, we aimed to identify a promoter sequence capable of regulating cell-type specific transgene expression from an adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector in relaxin-3 neurons of the rat nucleus incertus (NI). In parallel to relaxin-3 promoter sequences, we also tested an AAV vector containing promoter elements for the tropomyosin receptor kinase A (TrkA) gene, as TrkA is co-expressed with relaxin-3 in rat NI neurons. Stereotaxic injection of an mCherry-expressing AAV vector revealed widespread non-specific TrkA promoter (880 bp) activity in and adjacent to the NI at 8 weeks post-treatment. In contrast, mCherry expression was successfully restricted to relaxin-3 NI neurons with 98% specificity using a 1736 bp relaxin-3 promoter. In addition to detailed anatomical mapping of NI relaxin-3 networks, illustrated here in association with GABAergic medial septum neurons, this method for targeted transgene delivery offers a versatile tool for ongoing preclinical studies of relaxin-3 circuitry.
Relaxin' the brain: a case for targeting the nucleus incertus network and relaxin-3/RXFP3 system in neuropsychiatric disorders
Relaxin-3 has been proposed to modulate emotional-behavioural functions such as arousal and behavioural activation, appetite regulation, stress responses, anxiety, memory, sleep and circadian rhythm. The nucleus incertus (NI), in the midline tegmentum close to the fourth ventricle, projects widely throughout the brain and is the primary site of relaxin-3 neurons. Over recent years, a number of preclinical studies have explored the function of the NI and relaxin-3 signalling, including reports of mRNA or peptide expression changes in the NI in response to behavioural or pharmacological manipulations, effects of lesions or electrical or pharmacological manipulations of the NI, effects of central microinfusions of relaxin-3 or related agonist or antagonist ligands on physiology and behaviour, and the impact of relaxin-3 gene deletion or knockdown. Although these individual studies reveal facets of the likely functional relevance of the NI and relaxin-3 systems for human physiology and behaviour, the differences observed in responses between species (e.g. rat vs. mouse), the clearly identified heterogeneity of NI neurons and procedural differences between laboratories are some of the factors that have prevented a precise understanding of their function. This review aims to draw attention to the current preclinical evidence available that suggests the relevance of the NI/relaxin-3 system to the pathology and/or symptoms of certain neuropsychiatric disorders and to provide cognizant directions for future research to effectively and efficiently uncover its therapeutic potential. LINKED ARTICLES: This article is part of a themed section on Recent Progress in the Understanding of Relaxin Family Peptides and their Receptors. To view the other articles in this section visit http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.v174.10/issuetoc.