Download the Free Unbound MEDLINE PubMed App to your smartphone or tablet.
Available for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android.
- LTR retroelements are intrinsic components of transcriptional networks in frogs. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Genomics 2014 Jul 23; 15(1):626.
LTR retroelements (LTR REs) constitute a major group of transposable elements widely distributed in eukaryotic genomes. Through their own mechanism of retrotranscription LTR REs enrich the genomic landscape by providing genetic variability, thus contributing to genome structure and organization. Nonetheless, transcriptomic activity of LTR REs still remains an obscure domain within cell, developmental, and organism biology.Here we present a first comparative analysis of LTR REs for anuran amphibians based on a full depth coverage transcriptome of the European pool frog, Pelophylax lessonae, the genome of the African clawed frog, Silurana tropicalis (release v7.1), and additional transcriptomes of S. tropicalis and Cyclorana alboguttata. We identified over 1000 copies of LTR REs from all four families (Bel/Pao, Ty1/Copia, Ty3/Gypsy, Retroviridae) in the genome of S. tropicalis and discovered transcripts of several of these elements in all RNA-seq datasets analyzed. Elements of the Ty3/Gypsy family were most active, especially Amn-san elements, which accounted for approximately 0.27% of the genome in Silurana. Some elements exhibited tissue specific expression patterns, for example Hydra1.1 and MuERV-like elements in Pelophylax. In S. tropicalis considerable transcription of LTR REs was observed during embryogenesis as soon as the embryonic genome became activated, i.e. at midblastula transition. In the course of embryonic development the spectrum of transcribed LTR REs changed; during gastrulation and neurulation MuERV-like and SnRV like retroviruses were abundantly transcribed while during organogenesis transcripts of the XEN1 retroviruses became much more active.The differential expression of LTR REs during embryogenesis in concert with their tissue-specificity and the protein domains they encode are evidence for the functional roles these elements play as integrative parts of complex regulatory networks. Our results support the meanwhile widely accepted concept that retroelements are not simple "junk DNA" or "harmful genomic parasites" but essential components of the transcriptomic machinery in vertebrates.
- Geminin loss causes neural tube defects through disrupted progenitor specification and neuronal differentiation. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Biol 2014 Jul 1.
Geminin is a nucleoprotein that can directly bind chromatin regulatory complexes to modulate gene expression during development. Geminin knockout mouse embryos are preimplantation lethal by the 32-cell stage, precluding in vivo study of Geminin's role in neural development. Therefore, here we used a conditional Geminin allele in combination with several Cre-driver lines to define an essential role for Geminin during mammalian neural tube (NT) formation and patterning. Geminin was required in the NT within a critical developmental time window (embryonic day 8.5-10.5), when NT patterning and closure occurs. Geminin excision at these stages resulted in strongly diminished expression of genes that mark and promote dorsal NT identities and decreased differentiation of ventral motor neurons, resulting in completely penetrant NT defects, while excision after embryonic day 10.5 did not result in NT defects. When Geminin was deleted specifically in the spinal NT, both NT defects and axial skeleton defects were observed, but neither defect occurred when Geminin was excised in paraxial mesenchyme, indicating a tissue autonomous requirement for Geminin in developing neuroectoderm. Despite a potential role for Geminin in cell cycle control, we found no evidence of proliferation defects or altered apoptosis. Comparisons of gene expression in the NT of Geminin mutant versus wild-type siblings at embryonic day 10.5 revealed decreased expression of key regulators of neurogenesis, including neurogenic bHLH transcription factors and dorsal interneuron progenitor markers. Together, these data demonstrate a requirement for Geminin for NT patterning and neuronal differentiation during mammalian neurulation in vivo.
- A rat toxicogenomics study with the Calcium Sensitizer EMD82571 reveals a pleiotropic cause of teratogenicity. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Reprod Toxicol 2014 Jun 27.
The calcium sensitizer and PDEIII inhibitor EMD82571 caused exencephaly, micrognathia, agnathia and facial cleft in 58% of fetuses. In pursue of mechanisms and to define adverse outcome pathways pregnant Wistar rats were dosed daily with either EMD82571 (50 or 150mg/kg/day) or retinoic acid (12mg/kg/day) on gestational days 6-11 and 6-17, respectively. Hypothesis driven and whole genome microarray experiments with whole embryo, maternal liver, embryonic liver and malformed bone at gestational days 12 and 20 revealed regulation of genes critically involved in osteogenesis, odontogenesis, differentiation and development and extracellular matrix. Importantly, repression of osteocalcin and members of TGF-β/BMP signaling hampered osteo- and odontogenesis. Furthermore, EMD82571 ability to impair neurulation by inhibiting mid hinge point formation resulting in neural tube defects. Taken collectively, a molecular rationale for the observed teratogenicity induced by EMD82571 is presented that links molecular initiating events with AOPs.
- Molecular and morphological changes in zebrafish following transient ethanol exposure during defined developmental stages. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neurotoxicol Teratol 2014 Jun 11.
Alcohol is a teratogen that has diverse effects on brain and craniofacial development, leading to a constellation of developmental disorders referred to as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). The molecular basis of ethanol insult remains poorly understood, as does the relationship between molecular and behavioral changes as a consequence of prenatal ethanol exposure. Zebrafish embryos were exposed to a range of ethanol concentrations (0.5-5.0%) during defined developmental stages, and examined for morphological phenotypes characteristic of FASD. Embryos were also analyzed by in situ hybridization for changes in expression of defined cell markers for neural cell types that are sonic hedgehog-dependent. We show that transient binge-like ethanol exposures during defined developmental stages, such as early gastrulation and early neurulation, result in a range of phenotypes and changes in expression of Shh-dependent genes. The severity of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) morphological phenotypes, such as microphthalmia, depends on the embryonic stage and concentration of alcohol exposure, as does diminution of retinal Pax6a or forebrain and hindbrain GAD1 gene expression. We also show that changes in eye and brain morphology correlate with changes in Pax6a and GAD1 gene expression. Our results therefore show that transient binge-like ethanol exposures in zebrafish embryos produce the stereotypical morphological phenotypes of FAS, with the severity of phenotypes depending on the developmental stage and alcohol concentration of exposure.
- Fetal surgery for myelomeningocele is effective: a critical look at the whys. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Pediatr Surg Int 2014 Jun 8.
Formerly, the disastrous cluster of neurologic deficits and associated neurogenic problems in patients with myelomeningocele (MMC) was generally thought to solely result from the primary malformation, i.e., failure of neurulation. Today, however, there is no doubt that a dimensional additional pathogenic mechanism exists. Most likely, it contributes much more to loss of neurologic function than non-neurulation does. Today, there is a large body of compelling experimental and clinical evidence confirming that the exposed part of the non-neurulated spinal cord is progressively destroyed during gestation, particularly so in the third trimester. These considerations gave rise to the two-hit-pathogenesis of MMC with non-neurulation being the first and consecutive in utero acquired neural tissue destruction being the second hit. This novel pathophysiologic understanding has obviously triggered the question whether the serious and irreversible functional loss caused by the second hit could not be prevented or, at least, significantly alleviated by timely protecting the exposed spinal cord segments, i.e., by early in utero repair of the MMC lesion. Based on this intriguing hypothesis and the above-mentioned data, human fetal surgery for MMC was born in the late nineties of the last century and has made its way to become a novel standard of care, particularly after the so-called "MOMS Trial". This trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, has indisputably shown that overall, open prenatal repair is distinctly better than postnatal care alone. Finally, a number of important other topics deserve being mentioned, including the necessity to work on the up till now immature endoscopic fetal repair technique and the need for concentration of these extremely challenging cases to a small number of really qualified fetal surgery centers worldwide. In conclusion, despite the fact that in utero repair of MMC is not a complete cure and not free of risk for both mother and fetus, current data clearly demonstrate that open fetal-maternal surgery is to be recommended as novel standard of care when pregnancy is to be continued and when respective criteria for the intervention before birth are met. Undoubtedly, it is imperative to inform expecting mothers about the option of prenatal surgery once their fetus is diagnosed with open spina bifida.
- Stretching cell morphogenesis during late neurulation and mild neural tube defects. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Growth Differ 2014 May 29.
Neurulation is defined as a process of neural tube closure. Recent reports suggested that upon completion of this process the major factors of neurulation remain in force at least until the central canal of the neural tube is formed. Hence, an idea has been put forward to define the two periods of neurulation: early neurulation corresponds to the period of neural tube closure and late neurulation corresponds to the period of formation of the central canal. These ideas are discussed in a context of neural tube defects that may affect late neurulation and result in distention of the central canal.
- Accessory limb with myelomeningocele: a rare case challenging previously held beliefs. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Childs Nerv Syst 2014 Jun 1.
There have been previous reports of intra-scapular limbs associated with a closed spina bifida and this has led to a causative theory. It is thought that these dysraphic appendages could not occur with defects of primary neurulation.The authors present a rare case of this abnormality associated with a large open myelomeningocele in a 6-day-old infant presenting to a paediatric neurosurgical hospital in Uganda. The appendage was removed and the spina bifida closed. There was significant stigma associated with such abnormality in this region.The first reported co-existence of these two lesions challenges previously held beliefs regarding the embryological origin of intra-scapular dysraphic appendage.
- Increased DNA Methyltransferase 3b (Dnmt3b) -mediated CpG Island Methylation Stimulated by Oxidative Stress Inhibits Expression of a Gene Required for Neural Tube and Neural Crest Development in Diabetic Pregnancy. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Diabetes 2014 May 16.
Previous studies have shown that diabetic embryopathy results from impaired expression of genes that are required for formation of embryonic structures. We have focused on Pax3, a gene that is expressed in embryonic neuroepithelium and is required for neural tube closure. Pax3 expression is inhibited in embryos of diabetic mice due to hyperglycemia-induced oxidative stress. DNA methylation silences developmentally expressed genes prior to differentiation. We hypothesized that hypomethylation of Pax3 upon neuroepithelial differentiation may be inhibited by hyperglycemia-induced oxidative stress. We tested this using embryos of pregnant hyperglycemic mice and mouse embryonic stem cells (ESC). Methylation of a Pax3 CpG island decreased upon neurulation of embryos and formation of neuronal precursors from ESC. In ESC, this was inhibited by oxidative stress. Use of shRNA in ESC demonstrated that DNA methyltransferase 3b (Dnmt3b) was responsible for methylation and silencing of Pax3 prior to differentiation and by oxidative stress. While expression of Dnmt3b was not affected by oxidative stress, DNA methyltransferase activity was increased. These results indicate that hyperglycemia-induced oxidative stress stimulates Dnmt3b activity, thereby inhibiting chromatin modifications necessary for induction of Pax3 expression during neurulation, and thus, providing a molecular mechanism for defects caused by Pax3 insufficiency in diabetic pregnancy.
- Changes in Acetyl CoA Levels during the Early Embryonic Development of Xenopus laevis. [Journal Article]
- PLoS One 2014; 9(5):e97693.
Coenzyme A (CoA) is a ubiquitous and fundamental intracellular cofactor. CoA acts as a carrier of metabolically important carboxylic acids in the form of CoA thioesters and is an obligatory component of a multitude of catabolic and anabolic reactions. Acetyl CoA is a CoA thioester derived from catabolism of all major carbon fuels. This metabolite is at a metabolic crossroads, either being further metabolised as an energy source or used as a building block for biosynthesis of lipids and cholesterol. In addition, acetyl CoA serves as the acetyl donor in protein acetylation reactions, linking metabolism to protein post-translational modifications. Recent studies in yeast and cultured mammalian cells have suggested that the intracellular level of acetyl CoA may play a role in the regulation of cell growth, proliferation and apoptosis, by affecting protein acetylation reactions. Yet, how the levels of this metabolite change in vivo during the development of a vertebrate is not known. We measured levels of acetyl CoA, free CoA and total short chain CoA esters during the early embryonic development of Xenopus laevis using HPLC. Acetyl CoA and total short chain CoA esters start to increase around midblastula transition (MBT) and continue to increase through stages of gastrulation, neurulation and early organogenesis. Pre-MBT embryos contain more free CoA relative to acetyl CoA but there is a shift in the ratio of acetyl CoA to CoA after MBT, suggesting a metabolic transition that results in net accumulation of acetyl CoA. At the whole-embryo level, there is an apparent correlation between the levels of acetyl CoA and levels of acetylation of a number of proteins including histones H3 and H2B. This suggests the level of acetyl CoA may be a factor, which determines the degree of acetylation of these proteins, hence may play a role in the regulation of embryogenesis.
- In Utero Repair of Spina Bifida. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Am J Perinatol 2014 May 12.
Open spina bifida or myelomeningocele (MMC) is the most common congenital malformation of the central nervous system compatible with long-term survival and is associated with significant lifelong disabilities. Postnatal care of MMC involves covering the exposed spinal cord, infection prevention, and ventricular shunting for hydrocephalus. The aim of postnatal MMC surgery is not to reverse or prevent the neurologic injury seen in MMC, but to palliate. The neurologic defects result from primary incomplete neurulation and secondary chronic in utero damage to the exposed neural elements through mechanical and chemical trauma-the two-hit hypothesis. With the ability to accurately diagnose spina bifida prenatally and the concept of the two-hit hypothesis, in utero repair to decrease exposure and alter the antenatal course of neurologic destruction was conceived. Through animal models and human pilot studies, the feasibility of fetal spina bifida repair was demonstrated. Subsequently, the prospective randomized multicenter Management of Myelomeningocele Study (MOMS trial) revealed a decreased need for shunting, reversal of hindbrain herniation, and preservation of neurologic function, making in utero repair an accepted care alternative for select women carrying a fetus with spina bifida. This article will highlight the background and rationale for in utero repair, and the progression to becoming an alternative standard of care. The future directions of fetal spina bifida repair will also be addressed.