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- LRP6 EXERTS NON-CANONICAL EFFECTS ON WNT SIGNALING DURING NEURAL TUBE CLOSURE. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Hum Mol Genet 2013 Jun 16.
Low-density lipoprotein receptor related protein 6 (Lrp6) mutational effects on neurulation were examined using gain (Crooked tail, Lrp6(Cd)) and loss (Lrp6(-)) of function mouse lines. Two features often associated with canonical Wnt signaling, dorsal-ventral patterning and proliferation, were no different from wildtype in the Lrp6(Cd/Cd) neural tube. Lrp6(-/-) embryos showed reduced proliferation and subtle patterning changes in the neural folds. Cell polarity defects in both Lrp6(Cd/Cd) and Lrp6(-/-) cranial folds were indicated by cell shape, centrosome displacement and failure of F-actin and GTP-RhoA accumulation at the apical surface. Mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) derived from Lrp6(Cd/Cd) or Lrp6(-/-) embryos exhibited elevated and decreased RhoA basal activity levels, respectively. While ligand-independent activation of canonical Wnt signaling, bypassing Lrp-Frizzled receptors, did not activate RhoA, non-canonical Wnt5a stimulation of RhoA activity was impaired in Lrp6(-/-) MEFs. RhoA inhibition exacerbated NTDs in cultured Lrp6 knockout embryos compared to wildtype littermates. In contrast, a ROCK inhibitor rescued Lrp6(Cd/Cd) embryos from NTDs. Lrp6 co-immunoprecipitated with Disheveled-associated activator of morphogenesis 1 (DAAM1), a formin promoting GEF activity in Wnt signaling. Biochemical and cell biological data revealed intracellular accumulation of Lrp6(Cd) protein where interaction with DAAM1 could account for observed elevated RhoA activity. Conversely, null mutation that eliminates Lrp6 interaction with DAAM1 led to lower basal RhoA activity in Lrp6(-/-) embryos. These results indicate that Lrp6 mediates not only canonical Wnt signaling but can also modulate non-canonical pathways involving RhoA dependent mechanisms to impact neurulation, possibly through intracellular complexes with DAAM1.
- Secondary neurulation of human embryos: morphological changes and the expression of neuronal antigens. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Childs Nerv Syst 2013 Jun 13.
PURPOSE:The morphological changes and expression patterns of neuronal antigens of human embryos, obtained from the therapeutic termination of pregnancy or from surgical procedures, were analyzed in order to characterize the secondary neurulation.
METHODS:A total of 21 human embryos from Carnegie stages 12 to 23 and two fetuses in early stages were studied. The markers used for immunohistochemical study were neural cell adhesion molecule (N-CAM), neuronal nuclear antigen (NeuN), neurofilament-associated protein (3A10), synaptophysin, and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP).
RESULTS:The formation of the caudal neural tube to the tip of the caudal portion of the embryo was finished at stage 17. The postcloacal gut had completely disappeared at stage 18, and multiple cavities of the caudal neural tube were clearly visible. The caudal portion of the neural tube showed findings suggestive of involution at stage 19. The expression patterns of neuronal antigens were as follows: N-CAM and NeuN showed immunoreactivity at the germinal layer of the spinal cord at stages 17 and 18. Neurofilament-associated protein (3A10) showed persistent immunoreactivity at the caudal cell mass and notochord during the observation period, along with the spinal cord, and the positive reactions were mainly located at the dorsal white matter at stage 17. Synaptophysin showed a weak positive reaction at the caudal cell mass and notochord at stages 13 and 14, evident by staining observed at the spinal cord at stages 15 and 16. There was no definite positive reaction for GFAP.
CONCLUSIONS:These characteristic patterns might be helpful for the understanding of human congenital anomalies involving secondary neurulation processes.
- Retinoic Acid-Activated Ndrg1a Represses Wnt/β-catenin Signaling to Allow Xenopus Pancreas, Oesophagus, Stomach, and Duodenum Specification. [Journal Article]
- PLoS One 2013; 8(5):e65058.
How cells integrate multiple patterning signals to achieve early endoderm regionalization remains largely unknown. Between gastrulation and neurulation, retinoic acid (RA) signaling is required, while Wnt/β-catenin signaling has to be repressed for the specification of the pancreas, oesophagus, stomach, and duodenum primordia in Xenopus embryos. In attempt to screen for RA regulated genes in Xenopus endoderm, we identified a direct RA target gene, N-myc downstream regulated gene 1a (ndrg1a) that showed expression early in the archenteron roof endoderm and late in the developing pancreas, oesophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Both antisense morpholino oligonucleotide mediated knockdown of ndrg1a in Xenopus laevis and the transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALEN) mediated disruption of ndrg1 in Xenopus tropicalis demonstrate that like RA signaling, Ndrg1a is specifically required for the specification of Xenopus pancreas, oesophagus, stomach, and duodenum primordia. Immunofluorescence data suggest that RA-activated Ndrg1a suppresses Wnt/β-catenin signaling in Xenopus archenteron roof endoderm cells. Blocking Wnt/β-catenin signaling rescued Ndrg1a knockdown phenotype. Furthermore, overexpression of the putative Wnt/β-catenin target gene Atf3 phenocopied knockdown of Ndrg1a or inhibition of RA signaling, while Atf3 knockdown can rescue Ndrg1a knockdown phenotype. Lastly, the pancreas/stomach/duodenum transcription factor Pdx1 was able to rescue Atf3 overexpression or Ndrg1a knockdown phenotype. Together, we conclude that RA activated Ndrg1a represses Wnt/β-catenin signaling to allow the specification of pancreas, oesophagus, stomach, and duodenum progenitor cells in Xenopus embryos.
- Neurulation and neurite extension require the zinc transporter ZIP12 (slc39a12). [Journal Article]
- Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2013 Jun 11; 110(24):9903-8.
Zn(2+) is required for many aspects of neuronal structure and function. However, the regulation of Zn(2+) in the nervous system remains poorly understood. Systematic analysis of tissue-profiling microarray data showed that the zinc transporter ZIP12 (slc39a12) is highly expressed in the human brain. In the work reported here, we confirmed that ZIP12 is a Zn(2+) uptake transporter with a conserved pattern of high expression in the mouse and Xenopus nervous system. Mouse neurons and Neuro-2a cells produce fewer and shorter neurites after ZIP12 knockdown without affecting cell viability. Zn(2+) chelation or loading in cells to alter Zn(2+) availability respectively mimicked or reduced the effects of ZIP12 knockdown on neurite outgrowth. ZIP12 knockdown reduces cAMP response element-binding protein activation and phosphorylation at serine 133, which is a critical pathway for neuronal differentiation. Constitutive cAMP response element-binding protein activation restores impairments in neurite outgrowth caused by Zn(2+) chelation or ZIP12 knockdown. ZIP12 knockdown also reduces tubulin polymerization and increases sensitivity to nocodazole following neurite outgrowth. We find that ZIP12 is expressed during neurulation and early nervous system development in Xenopus tropicalis, where ZIP12 antisense morpholino knockdown impairs neural tube closure and arrests development during neurulation with concomitant reduction in tubulin polymerization in the neural plate. This study identifies a Zn(2+) transporter that is specifically required for nervous system development and provides tangible links between Zn(2+), neurulation, and neuronal differentiation.
- Spinal dermal sinuses and dermal sinus-like stalks analysis of 14 cases with suggestions for embryologic mechanisms resulting in dermal sinus-like stalks. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Eur J Paediatr Neurol 2013 May 24.
BACKGROUND:Spinal dermal sinuses consist of an epithelium-lined tract extending from the skin towards the spinal cord, often resulting in infections or tethered cord syndrome. Recently, a variant called dermal sinus-like stalk was described as an analogous tract but not containing an epithelium-lined lumen.
AIMS:We aimed to describe the findings in our patients, subdivide our specimens into both conditions, compare the characteristics of both groups and search for possible embryologic mechanisms of dermal sinus-like stalks.
METHODS:We performed a retrospective analysis of all patients operated in our hospital for both conditions between 1996 and 2012.
RESULTS:14 patients were operated upon for spinal dermal sinuses (n = 5) and spinal dermal sinus like-stalks (n = 9). Patients were mainly referred from other hospitals due to skin abnormalities and were evaluated at mean age of 7 weeks and operated upon at mean age of 1 year and 2 months. Primary reason for referral was skin abnormalities in both groups, though there were two cases of meningitis in dermal sinus patients and 2 of recurrent urinary tract infections in dermal sinus-like stalk patients. Consistent with previous findings, dermal sinus-like stalk patients do not have a history of meningitis, lack dermoid or epidermoid tumours along their tract, and are histologically of pure mesodermal origin. Dermal sinus-like stalks might result from interposition of mesenchyme during primary or secondary neurulation.
CONCLUSIONS:We consider dermal sinus-like stalks as a rare but currently under diagnosed condition with different clinical, pathological and probably also embryologic characteristics compared to spinal dermal sinuses.
- Selective Roles of Normal and Mutant Huntingtin in Neural Induction and Early Neurogenesis. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- PLoS One 2013; 8(5):e64368.
Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by abnormal polyglutamine expansion in the amino-terminal end of the huntingtin protein (Htt) and characterized by progressive striatal and cortical pathology. Previous reports have shown that Htt is essential for embryogenesis, and a recent study by our group revealed that the pathogenic form of Htt (mHtt) causes impairments in multiple stages of striatal development. In this study, we have examined whether HD-associated striatal developmental deficits are reflective of earlier maturational alterations occurring at the time of neurulation by assessing differential roles of Htt and mHtt during neural induction and early neurogenesis using an in vitro mouse embryonic stem cell (ESC) clonal assay system. We demonstrated that the loss of Htt in ESCs (KO ESCs) severely disrupts the specification of primitive and definitive neural stem cells (pNSCs, dNSCs, respectively) during the process of neural induction. In addition, clonally derived KO pNSCs and dNSCs displayed impaired proliferative potential, enhanced cell death and altered multi-lineage potential. Conversely, as observed in HD knock-in ESCs (Q111 ESCs), mHtt enhanced the number and size of pNSC clones, which exhibited enhanced proliferative potential and precocious neuronal differentiation. The transition from Q111 pNSCs to fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2)-responsive dNSCs was marked by potentiation in the number of dNSCs and altered proliferative potential. The multi-lineage potential of Q111 dNSCs was also enhanced with precocious neurogenesis and oligodendrocyte progenitor elaboration. The generation of Q111 epidermal growth factor (EGF)-responsive dNSCs was also compromised, whereas their multi-lineage potential was unaltered. These abnormalities in neural induction were associated with differential alterations in the expression profiles of Notch, Hes1 and Hes5. These cumulative observations indicate that Htt is required for multiple stages of neural induction, whereas mHtt enhances this process and promotes precocious neurogenesis and oligodendrocyte progenitor cell elaboration.
- An eye on eye development. [Journal Article]
- Mech Dev 2013 Jun-Aug; 130(6-8):347-58.
The vertebrate eye is composed of both surface ectodermal and neuroectodermal derivatives that evaginate laterally from an epithelial anlage of the forming diencephalon. The retina is composed of a limited number of neuronal and non-neuronal cell types and is seen as a model for the brain with reduced complexity. The eye develops in a stereotypic manner building on evolutionarily conserved molecular networks. Eye formation is initiated at the onset of gastrulation by the determination of the eye field in the anterior neuroectoderm. Homeobox transcription factors, in particular Six3 are crucially involved in the establishment and maintenance of retinal identity. The eye field expands by proliferation as gastrulation proceeds and is initially confined to a single retinal primordium by the differential activity of specifying transcription factors. This central field is subsequently split in response to secreted factors emanating from the ventral midline. Concomitant with medio-lateral patterning at the onset of neurulation, morphogenesis sets in and laterally evaginates the optic vesicle. Strikingly during this process the neuroectoderm in the eye field transiently loses epithelial features and cells migrate individually. In a second morphogenetic event, the vesicle is transformed into the optic cup, concomitant with onset and progression of retinal differentiation. Accompanying optic cup morphogenesis, neural differentiation is initiated from a retinal signalling centre in a stereotypic and species specific manner by secreted signalling factors. Here we will give an overview of key events during vertebrate eye formation and highlight key players in the respective processes.
- miR-9*- and miR-124a-Mediated Switching of Chromatin Remodelling Complexes is Altered in Rat Spina Bifida Aperta. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neurochem Res 2013 May 16.
Neural tube defects (NTDs) are complex congenital malformations resulting from incomplete neurulation. Our previous work has demonstrated that motor and sensory neurons develop defectively in rat embryos with spina bifida aperta. To identify whether neural development-associated miRNAs play a role in the neurological deficits of NTDs, we screened a panel of neural development-related miRNAs, including miR-9, miR-9*, miR-124a, miR-10a, miR10b, miR-34a, miR-221 and miR-222, in the spinal cords of rats with retinoic acid-induced spina bifida aperta. We discovered that the expression of miR-9, miR-9* and miR-124a was specifically down-regulated compared to spinal cords without spina bifida. To further clarify whether down-regulation of miR-9* and miR-124a contributes to the neurological deficits of NTDs, we investigated the levels of genes involved in switching in the subunit composition of Swi/Snf-like BAF (Brg/Brm associated factor) complexes modulated by miR-9* and miR-124a and neuronal differentiation. In addition to the down-regulation of miR-9* and miR-124a expression, we also observed increased expression of repressor element silencing transcription factor (REST) and BAF53a and decreased expression of BAF53b, Brg1 and NeuroD1. Our results suggest that REST-regulated miR-9*- and the miR-124a-mediated chromatin remodelling regulatory mechanism may participate in the neuronal deficits of spina bifida.
- Notch signaling maintains neural rosette polarity. [Journal Article]
- PLoS One 2013; 8(5):e62959.
Formation of the metazoan body plan requires a complex interplay of morphological changes and patterning, and central to these processes is the establishment of apical/basal cell polarity. In the developing nervous system, apical/basal cell polarity is essential for neural tube closure and maintenance of the neural stem cell population. In this report we explore how a signaling pathway important for nervous system development, Notch signaling, impacts on apical/basal cell polarity in neural differentiation. CSL(-/-) mouse embryos, which are devoid of canonical Notch signaling, demonstrated a neural tube phenotype consistent with cell polarity and convergent extension defects, including deficiencies in the restricted expression of apical polarity markers in the neuroepithelium. CSL(-/-) mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells, cultured at low density, behaved as wild-type in the establishment of neural progenitors and apical specification, though progression through rosette formation, an in vitro correlate of neurulation, required CSL for correct maintenance of rosette structure and regulation of neuronal differentiation. Similarly, acute pharmacological inhibition of Notch signaling led to the breakdown of neural rosettes and accelerated neuronal differentiation. In addition to functional Notch signaling, rosette integrity was found to require actin polymerization and Rho kinase (ROCK) activity. Disruption of rosettes through inhibition of actin polymerization or ROCK activity, however, had no effect on neuronal differentiation, indicating that rosette maintenance is not a prerequisite for normal neuronal differentiation. In conclusion, our data indicate that Notch signaling plays a role not only in differentiation, but also in organization and maintenance of polarity during development of the early nervous system.
- Pfkfb (6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-bisphosphatase) isoforms display a tissue-specific and dynamic expression during Xenopus laevis development. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Gene Expr Patterns 2013 Apr 24; 13(7):203-211.
Pfkfb (6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-bisphosphatase) enzymes are bi-functional enzymes encoded by four different genes (pfkfb1, pfkfb2, pfkfb3, pfkfb4) in vertebrates. They are involved in the regulation of glycolysis: they catalyze the synthesis and the degradation of F-2,6-BP (fructose-2,6-bisphosphate), the most potent allosteric activator of phosphofructokinase 1 (Pfk1), a key glycolytic enzyme. By producing F-2,6-BP, Pfkfb enzymes allow glycolysis to proceed, while by degrading F-2,6-BP they block glycolysis. As major regulators of glycolysis, Pfkfb enzymes are involved in cancer: tumor cells have a higher glycolytic rate compared to normal cells, even in the presence of adequate oxygen levels (Warburg effect) and several cancer cell lines express elevated levels of Pfkfb enzymes. Glycolysis is also important for energy and metabolite production in proliferating cells. In embryos, however, the role of glycolysis and the expression of glycolysis regulators remain to be explored. Here, we provide a phylogenetic analysis of Pfkfb enzymes in vertebrates, and we detail the expression pattern of pfk1, pfkfb1, pfkfb2, pfkfb3, and pfkfb4 genes in Xenopus laevis embryos. We show that pfkfb transcripts expression is overlapping at blastula and gastrula stages and that from neurulation to tadpole stages, they display tissue-specific, complementary and dynamic expression patterns.