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- A novel protective role for the innate immunity Toll-Like Receptor 3 (TLR3) in the retina via Stat3. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2014 Sep 25.
The innate immune system and inflammatory pathways play key roles in numerous diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). Recent evidence indicates that innate immunity induces both pathogenesis and protection during neuronal injury. To test the possibility that the conflicting roles of innate immunity in the CNS depends on the cellular environment in which innate immunity is stimulated, we analyzed the effect of toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) activation on neuronal survival in the presence and absence of oxidative injury in a mouse model system. We demonstrated that activation of TLR3 by the double stranded RNA activator, Poly (I:C), during paraquat induced oxidative stress, significantly protected mouse photoreceptors, as measured by increased retinal structure, function, and improved visual acuity. In contrast, TLR3 activation without concurrent oxidative injury was neurotoxic. The neurotoxic and protective effects of Poly (I:C) stimulation were absent in TLR3 knockout animals, which indicates that protection by Poly (I:C) is dependent on the TLR3 signaling pathway. Furthermore, we identified the pro-survival transcription factor Stat3 as a necessary mechanism for protection. Knockdown of Stat3 using lentivirally delivered shRNA abolished the protective effects of TLR3 signaling in the retina during oxidative stress. Therefore, TLR3 activation in the context of oxidative stress triggers protective instead of pathogenic signaling, suggesting that TLR3 is a potential therapeutic target for neurodegeneration where oxidative stress is a significant contributor.
- Kinesin KIF4A transports integrin β1 in developing axons of cortical neurons. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2014 Sep 23.
CNS axons have poor regenerative ability compared to PNS axons, and mature axons regenerate less well than immature embryonic axons. The loss of regenerative ability with maturity is accompanied by the setting up of a selective transport filter in axons, restricting the types of molecule that are present. We confirm that integrins (represented by subunits β1 and α5) are present in early cortical axons in vitro but are excluded from mature axons. Ribosomal protein and L1 show selective axonal transport through association with kinesin kif4A; we have therefore examined the hypothesis that integrin transport might also be in association with kif4A. Kif4A is present in all processes of immature cortical neurons cultured at E18, then downregulated by 14days in vitro, coinciding with the exclusion of integrin from axons. Kif4a co-localizes with β1 integrin in vesicles in neurons and non-neuronal cells, and the two molecules co-immunoprecipitate. Knockdown of KIF4A expression with shRNA reduced the level of integrin β1 in axons of developing neurons and reduced neurite elongation on Laminin, an integrin-dependent substrate. Overexpression of kif4A triggered apoptosis in neuronal and non-neuronal cells. In mature neurons expression of kif4A-GFP at a modest level did not kill the cells, and the kif4A was detectable in their axons. However this was not accompanied by an increase in integrin β1 axonal transport, suggesting that kif4A is not the only integrin transporter, and that integrin exclusion from axons is controlled by factors other than the kif4A level.
- Nrf-2 regulation of prion protein expression is independent of oxidative stress. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2014 Sep 16.
Cellular expression of host prion protein (PrP) is essential to infection with prion disease. Understanding the mechanisms that regulate prion protein expression at both the transcriptional and translational levels is therefore an important goal. The cellular prion protein has been associated with resistance to oxidative, and its expression is also increased by oxidative stress. The transcription factor Nrf-2 is associated with cellular responses to oxidative stress and is known to induce upregulation of antioxidant defense mechanisms. We have identified an Nrf-2 binding site in the prion protein promoter (Prnp) and shown that Nrf-2 downregulated PrP expression. However, this effect is independent of oxidative stress as oxidative stress can up-regulate PrP expression regardless of the level of Nrf-2 expression. Furthermore, Nrf-2 has no impact on PrP expression when cells are infected with scrapie. These findings highlight that Nrf-2 can regulate PrP expression, but that this regulation becomes uncoupled during cellular stress.
- Mitochondria-derived reactive oxygen species mediate caspase-dependent and -independent neuronal deaths. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2014 Sep 16.:13-23.
Mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress are implicated in many neurodegenerative diseases. Mitochondria-targeted drugs that effectively decrease oxidative stress, protect mitochondrial energetics, and prevent neuronal loss may therefore lend therapeutic benefit to these currently incurable diseases. To investigate the efficacy of such drugs, we examined the effects of mitochondria-targeted antioxidants MitoQ10 and MitoE2 on neuronal death induced by neurotrophin deficiency. Our results indicate that MitoQ10 blocked apoptosis by preventing increased mitochondria-derived reactive oxygen species (ROS) and subsequent cytochrome c release, caspase activation, and mitochondrial damage in nerve growth factor (NGF)-deprived sympathetic neurons, while MitoE2 was largely ineffective. In this paradigm, the most proximal point of divergence was the ability of MitoQ10 to scavenge mitochondrial superoxide (O2(-)). MitoQ10 also prevented caspase-independent neuronal death in these cells demonstrating that the mitochondrial redox state significantly influences both apoptotic and nonapoptotic pathways leading to neuronal death. We suggest that mitochondria-targeted antioxidants may provide tools for delineating the role and significance of mitochondrial ROS in neuronal death and provide a new therapeutic approach for neurodegenerative conditions involving trophic factor deficits and multiple modes of cell death.
- PACAP induces plasticity at autonomic synapses by nAChR-dependent NOS1 activation and AKAP-mediated PKA targeting. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2014 Aug 25.
Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) is a pleitropic neuropeptide found at synapses throughout the central and autonomic nervous system. We previously found that PACAP engages a selective G-protein coupled receptor (PAC1R) on ciliary ganglion neurons to rapidly enhance quantal acetylcholine (ACh) release from presynaptic terminals via neuronal nitric oxide synthase (NOS1) and cyclic AMP/protein kinase A (PKA) dependent processes. Here, we examined how PACAP stimulates NO production and targets resultant outcomes to synapses. Scavenging extracellular NO blocked PACAP-induced plasticity supporting a retrograde (post- to presynaptic) NO action on ACh release. Live-cell imaging revealed that PACAP stimulates NO production by mechanisms requiring NOS1, PKA and Ca(2+) influx. Ca(2+)-permeable nicotinic ACh receptors composed of α7 subunits (α7-nAChRs) are potentiated by PKA-dependent PACAP/PAC1R signaling and were required for PACAP-induced NO production and synaptic plasticity since both outcomes were blocked following their selective inhibition. Co-precipitation experiments showed that NOS1 associates with α7-nAChRs, many of which are perisynaptic, as well as with heteromeric α3*-nAChRs that generate the bulk of synaptic activity. NOS1-nAChR physical association would facilitate NO production at perisynaptic and adjacent postsynaptic sites to enhance focal ACh release from juxtaposed presynaptic terminals. The synaptic outcomes of PACAP/PAC1R signaling are localized by PKA anchoring proteins (AKAPs). PKA regulatory-subunit overlay assays identified five AKAPs in ganglion lysates, including a prominent neuronal subtype. Moreover, PACAP-induced synaptic plasticity was selectively blocked when PKA regulatory-subunit binding to AKAPs was inhibited. Taken together, our findings indicate that PACAP/PAC1R signaling coordinates nAChR, NOS1 and AKAP activities to induce targeted, retrograde plasticity at autonomic synapses. Such coordination has broad relevance for understanding the control of autonomic synapses and consequent visceral functions.
- Neuroproteomics in the Auditory Brainstem: Candidate Proteins for Ultrafast and Precise Information Processing. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2014 Aug 13.
In the mammalian auditory brainstem, the cochlear nuclear complex (CN) and the superior olivary complex (SOC) feature structural and functional specializations for ultrafast (<1ms) and precise information processing. Their proteome, the basis for structure and function, has been rarely analyzed so far. Here we identified and quantified the protein profiles of three major auditory brainstem regions of adult rats, the CN, the SOC, and the inferior colliculus (IC). The rest of the brain served as a reference. Via label-free quantitative mass spectrometry and 2-D DIGE/MALDI-MS, we identified 584 and 297 proteins in the plasma membrane/synaptic vesicle proteome and the cytosolic proteome, respectively. 'Region-typical' proteins, i.e., those with higher abundance in one region than in the other three, were considered candidates for functional specializations. Key proteins were validated via Western blots and immunohistochemistry. Functional annotation clustering revealed an overrepresentation of neurofilament proteins among the CN+SOC-typical proteins. These are related to regulation of axon diameter and, thereby, conduction velocity. Interestingly, the sets of synapse-associated proteins differed between regions. For example, synaptotagmin-2 (Syt2), a Ca(2+) sensor for fast exocytosis, was CN+SOC+IC-typical, whereas Syt1 was CN+SOC+IC-atypical. Together, our quantitative comparison of protein profiles has revealed several interesting candidate proteins for ultrafast and precise information processing.
- CD31(+) cell transplantation promotes recovery from peripheral neuropathy. [Journal Article]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2014 Sep.:60-7.
Recently, we reported that human peripheral blood (PB)-derived CD31(+) cells are highly angiogenic. In this study, we investigated the beneficial effects of CD31(+) cells on peripheral neuropathy in mice. CD31(+) cells were collected from the peripheral blood using magnetic activated cell sorting. CD31(+) cells exhibited higher levels of expression of angiogenic genes on real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. Peripheral neuropathy was induced by crushing the sciatic nerve with a hemostat, and CD31(+) cells were then injected intramuscularly along the sciatic nerve. CD31(+) cell transplantation restored motor nerve conduction velocity and voltage amplitude and improved motor coordination. In addition, CD31(+) cell transplantation significantly improved blood perfusion and increased intraneural vascularity in the sciatic nerve. Whole-mount fluorescent imaging and dot blot analysis showed that CD31(+) cells in the nerve possessed high engraftment and anti-apoptotic properties. Additionally, injected CD31(+) cells displayed neurovascular tropism and are highly incorporated with vasculature. Angiogenic cytokines were augmented in CD31(+)-injected nerve tissue, suggesting increased neovascularization. Taken together, these results indicate that CD31(+) cells might be a novel therapeutic strategy in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy.
- Differential synaptic distribution of the scaffold proteins Cask and Caskin1 in the bovine retina. [Journal Article]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2014 Sep.:19-29.
Scaffold proteins organize pre- and postsynaptic compartments and align pre- and postsynaptic events. Cask is a multi-domain scaffold protein essential for brain synaptic functions. Caskin1 is a recently discovered, brain-specific Cask-interacting multi-domain protein of unknown function. In the present study, we determined the localization of these scaffold proteins in the bovine retina. The retina contains tonically active ribbon synapses and conventional synapses. We found Cask highly enriched in virtually all retinal synapses. Cask was localized in close vicinity to the active zone protein RIM1/2 in ribbon and conventional synapses. Caskin1 is also enriched in retinal synapses but is present only in a subset of Cask-positive synapses. These findings suggest that Cask plays an important role in all retinal synapses. In contrast, Caskin1 appears to execute more specialized functions in distinct sets of retinal synapses, possibly for neuronal pathway formation and stabilization of distinct synaptic contacts.
- Linking alpha-synuclein phosphorylation to reactive oxygen species formation and mitochondrial dysfunction in SH-SY5Y cells. [Journal Article]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2014 Sep.:51-9.
Alpha-synuclein (α-syn) is a soluble protein highly enriched in presynaptic terminals of neurons. Accumulation of α-syn as intracellular filamentous aggregates is a pathological feature of sporadic and familial forms of Parkinson's disease (PD). Changes in α-syn post-translational modifications, as well as mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress constitute key pathogenic events of this disorder. Here we assessed the correlation between α-syn phosphorylation at serine 129 (Ser129), the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and mitochondrial dysfunction in SH-SY5Y cells expressing A53T mutant or wild-type (WT) α-syn, exposed to ferrous iron (FeSO4) and rotenone (complex I inhibitor). Under basal conditions, prolonged expression of A53T mutant α-syn altered mitochondria morphology, increased superoxide formation and phosphorylation at Ser129, which was linked to decreased activity of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A). Exposure to FeSO4 or rotenone enhanced intracellular ROS levels, including superoxide anions, in both types of cells, along with α-syn Ser129 phosphorylation and mitochondrial depolarization. Most of these changes were largely evident in A53T mutant α-syn expressing cells. Overall, the data suggest that stimuli that promote ROS formation and mitochondrial alterations highly correlate with mutant α-syn phosphorylation at Ser129, which may precede cell degeneration in PD.
- N-Myristoylation regulates the axonal distribution of the fragile X-related protein FXR2P. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell Neurosci 2014 Aug 7.
Fragile X Syndrome, the leading cause of inherited intellectual disability and autism, is caused by loss of function of Fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP). FMRP is an RNA binding protein that regulates local protein synthesis in the somatodendritic compartment. However, emerging evidence also indicates important roles for FMRP in axonal and presynaptic function. In particular, FMRP and its homolog FXR2P localize axonally and presynaptically to discrete endogenous structures in the brain termed Fragile X granules (FXGs). FXR2P is a component of all FXGs and is necessary for the axonal and presynaptic localization of FMRP to these structures. We therefore sought to identify and characterize structural features of FXR2P that regulate its axonal localization. Sequence analysis reveals that FXR2P harbors a consensus N-terminal myristoylation sequence (MGXXXS) that is absent in FMRP. Using click chemistry with wild type and an unmyristoylatable G2A mutant we demonstrate that FXR2P is N-myristoylated on glycine 2, establishing it as a lipid-modified RNA binding protein. To investigate the role of FXR2P N-myristoylation in neurons we generated fluorescently tagged wild type and unmyristoylatable FXR2P (WT and G2A, respectively) and expressed them in primary cortical cultures. Both FXR2P(WT) and FXR2P(G2A) are expressed at equivalent overall levels and are capable of forming FMRP-containing axonal granules. However, FXR2P(WT) granules are largely restricted to proximal axonal segments while granules formed with unmyristoylatable FXR2P(G2A) are localized throughout the axonal arbor, including in growth cones. These studies indicate that N-terminal myristoylation of the RNA binding protein FXR2P regulates its localization within the axonal arbor. Moreover, since FMRP localization within axonal domains requires its association with FXR2P, these findings suggest that FXR2P lipid modification is a control point for the axonal and presynaptic distribution of FMRP.