- Limited dorsal myeloschisis associated with dermoid elements. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Childs Nerv Syst 2016 Aug 19.
Limited dorsal myeloschisis (LDM) originates from undisjointed neural and cutaneous ectoderms during primary neurulation. Its hallmark is a fibroneural stalk causing tethering on the dorsal spinal cord rostral to the conus. Its treatment is a relatively straightforward resection of the LDM stalk from the spinal cord.On reviewing our series of 75 cases of LDMs, we found that the majority of LDM stalks have only a glioneuronal core within a fibrous stroma, but a small number have been found to have elements of dermoid cyst or a complete dermal sinus tract either contiguous with the fibroneural stalk or incorporated within its glial matrix, not surprising considering the original continuum of cutaneous and neural ectoderm in LDMs' embryogenesis. The dermoid element can be microscopic and escape casual observation, but could grow to large intradural dermoid cysts if part of the dermoid invested LDM stalk is left inside the dura.We present our series of LDMs associated with dermoid elements and recommend excising the entire length of the intradural LDM stalk from its dural entry point to its merge point with the spinal cord during the initial treatment to avoid secondary deterioration and additional surgery.
- Epb41l5 competes with Delta as a substrate for Mib1 to coordinate specification and differentiation of neurons. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Development 2016 Aug 10.
We identified Erythrocyte membrane Protein Band 4.1-like 5 (Epb41l5) as a substrate for the E3 ubiquitin ligase Mind bomb 1 (Mib1) which is essential for activation of Notch signaling. While loss of Epb41l5 does not significantly alter the pattern of Neural Progenitor Cells (NPCs) specified as neurons at the neural plate stage, it delays their delamination and differentiation after neurulation when NPCs normally acquire organized Apical Junctional Complexes (AJCs) in the zebrafish hindbrain. Delays in differentiation are reduced by knocking-down N-cadherin, a manipulation expected to help destabilize Adherens Junctions (AJs). This suggested that delays in neuronal differentiation in epb41l5 deficient embryos are related to a previously described role for Epb41l5 in facilitating disassembly of cadherin-dependent AJCs. Mib1 ubiquitinates Epb41l5 to promote its degradation. DeltaD can compete with Epb41l5 to reduce Mib1-dependent Epb41l5 degradation and increasing the number of NPCs specified to become neurons, expressing high levels of DeltaD, stabilizes Epb41l5 in the embryo. Together, these observations suggest that relatively high levels of Delta stabilize Epb41l5 in NPCs specified as neurons. This, we suggest, helps coordinate NPC specification with Epb41l5-dependent delamination and differentiation as neurons.
- Analysis of embryonic development in the unsequenced axolotl: Waves of transcriptomic upheaval and stability. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Dev Biol 2016 Jul 27.
The axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) has long been the subject of biological research, primarily owing to its outstanding regenerative capabilities. However, the gene expression programs governing its embryonic development are particularly underexplored, especially when compared to other amphibian model species. Therefore, we performed whole transcriptome polyA+ RNA sequencing experiments on 17 stages of embryonic development. As the axolotl genome is unsequenced and its gene annotation is incomplete, we built de novo transcriptome assemblies for each stage and garnered functional annotation by comparing expressed contigs with known genes in other organisms. In evaluating the number of differentially expressed genes over time, we identify three waves of substantial transcriptome upheaval each followed by a period of relative transcriptome stability. The first wave of upheaval is between the one and two cell stage. We show that the number of differentially expressed genes per unit time is higher between the one and two cell stage than it is across the mid-blastula transition (MBT), the period of zygotic genome activation. We use total RNA sequencing to demonstrate that the vast majority of genes with increasing polyA+ signal between the one and two cell stage result from polyadenylation rather than de novo transcription. The first stable phase begins after the two cell stage and continues until the mid-blastula transition, corresponding with the pre-MBT phase of transcriptional quiescence in amphibian development. Following this is a peak of differential gene expression corresponding with the activation of the zygotic genome and a phase of transcriptomic stability from stages 9-11. We observe a third wave of transcriptomic change between stages 11 and 14, followed by a final stable period. The last two stable phases have not been documented in amphibians previously and correspond to times of major morphogenic change in the axolotl embryo: gastrulation and neurulation. These results yield new insights into global gene expression during early stages of amphibian embryogenesis and will help to further develop the axolotl as a model species for developmental and regenerative biology.
- Wide and high resolution tension measurement using FRET in embryo. [Journal Article]
- Sci Rep 2016.:28535.
During embryonic development, physical force plays an important role in morphogenesis and differentiation. Stretch sensitive fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) has the potential to provide non-invasive tension measurements inside living tissue. In this study, we introduced a FRET-based actinin tension sensor into Xenopus laevis embryos and demonstrated that this sensor captures variation of tension across differentiating ectoderm. The actinin tension sensor, containing mCherry and EGFP connected by spider silk protein, was validated in human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells and embryos. It co-localized with actin filaments and changed FRET efficiencies in response to actin filament destruction, myosin deactivation, and osmotic perturbation. Time-lapse FRET analysis showed that the prospective neural ectoderm bears higher tension than the epidermal ectoderm during gastrulation and neurulation, and cells morphogenetic behavior correlated with the tension difference. These data confirmed that the sensor enables us to measure tension across tissues concurrently and with high resolution.
- The central nervous system of ascidian larvae. [Journal Article, Review]
- Wiley Interdiscip Rev Dev Biol 2016 Sep; 5(5):538-61.
Ascidians are marine invertebrate chordates. Their tadpole larvae contain a dorsal tubular nervous system, resulting from the rolling up of a neural plate. Along the anterior-posterior (A-P) axis, the central nervous system (CNS) is organized into a sensory vesicle, neck, trunk ganglion, and tail nerve cord and consists of approximately only 330 cells, of which around 100 are thought to be neurons. The organization of distinct neuronal cell types and neurotransmitter gene expression within the CNS has been described. The unique developmental mode of ascidians, with a small number of cells and a fixed cell division pattern, allows individual cells to be traced throughout development. This feature has led to the complete documentation of the cell lineages of certain cell types in the CNS. Thus, a step-by-step understanding of nervous system development from the initial stages of neural induction to the neurogenesis of individual neurons is a feasible goal. The genetic control of neural fate induction and early neural plate patterning are now well understood. The molecular mechanisms specifying the cholinergic neurons of the trunk ganglion as well as the pigment cells of the sensory organs are also well elucidated. In addition, studies have begun on the morphogenetic processes of neurulation. Remaining challenges include building an embryonic atlas integrating gene expression patterns, cell lineage, and neuronal cell types as well as developing the gene regulatory networks of cell fate specification and integrating them with the genetic control of morphogenesis. WIREs Dev Biol 2016, 5:538-561. doi: 10.1002/wdev.239 For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.
- Consequences of low or moderate prenatal ethanol exposures during gastrulation or neurulation for open field activity and emotionality in mice. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neurotoxicol Teratol 2016 Jun 11.
In a previous study we used a mouse model for ethanol exposure during gastrulation or neurulation to investigate the effects of modest and occasional human drinking during the 3rd or 4th week of pregnancy (Schambra et al., 2015). Pregnant C57Bl/6J mice were treated by gavage during gastrulation on gestational day (GD) 7 or neurulation on GD8 with 2 doses 4h apart of either 2.4 or 2.9g ethanol/kg body weight, resulting in peak blood ethanol concentrations (BECs) of 104 and 177mg/dl, respectively. We found that mice exposed to the low dose on either day were significantly delayed in their neonatal sensorimotor development. In the present study, we tested the same cohort of mice in an open field as juveniles on postnatal day (PD) 23-25 and as young adults on PD65-67 for prenatal ethanol effects on exploration and emotionality with measures of activity, rearing, grooming and defecation. We evaluated the effects of dose, sex, day of treatment and day of birth by multiple regression analyses. We found that, compared to the respective gavage controls, juvenile mice that had been prenatally exposed to the low BEC on either GD7 or GD8 were significantly hypoactive on the first 2 test days, reared significantly more on the last 2 test days, and groomed and defecated significantly more on all 3 test days. Only mice that had been treated on GD7 remained hypoactive as adults. Juvenile mice prenatally exposed to the moderate BEC on GD7 groomed significantly more, while those exposed on GD8 reared and defecated significantly more. Sex differences were highly significant in adult control mice, with control males less active and more emotional than females. Similar, but smaller, sex differences were also evident in adults exposed to ethanol prenatally. Persistence into later life of a deleterious effect of premature birth (i.e., birth on GD19 rather than GD20) on weight and behavior was not consistently supported by these data. Importantly, mice shown previously to be delayed in sensorimotor development as neonates, in the present study demonstrated hypoactivity and increased emotionality in open field behaviors as juveniles, and those mice exposed during gastrulation remained hypoactive as adults. Thus, we propose that the delayed motor development, hypoactivity and emotionality we observed in mice exposed to a low BEC during gastrulation or neurulation may relate to an attention deficit-activity disorder in humans, possibly the inattentive subtype, or Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (SCT). We further discuss concerns about occasional light or moderate alcohol consumption during the 3rd or 4th week of human pregnancy.
- Acute alcohol exposure during neurulation: Behavioral and brain structural consequences in adolescent C57BL/6J mice. [Journal Article]
- Behav Brain Res 2016 Sep 15.:70-80.
Prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) can induce physical malformations and behavioral abnormalities that depend in part on thedevelopmental timing of alcohol exposure. The current studies employed a mouse FASD model to characterize the long-term behavioral and brain structural consequences of a binge-like alcohol exposure during neurulation; a first-trimester stage when women are typically unaware that they are pregnant. Time-mated C57BL/6J female mice were administered two alcohol doses (2.8g/kg, four hours apart) or vehicle starting at gestational day 8.0. Male and female adolescent offspring (postnatal day 28-45) were then examined for motor activity (open field and elevated plus maze), coordination (rotarod), spatial learning and memory (Morris water maze), sensory motor gating (acoustic startle and prepulse inhibition), sociability (three-chambered social test), and nociceptive responses (hot plate). Regional brain volumes and shapes were determined using magnetic resonance imaging. In males, PAE increased activity on the elevated plus maze and reduced social novelty preference, while in females PAE increased exploratory behavior in the open field and transiently impaired rotarod performance. In both males and females, PAE modestly impaired Morris water maze performance and decreased the latency to respond on the hot plate. There were no brain volume differences; however, significant shape differences were found in the cerebellum, hypothalamus, striatum, and corpus callosum. These results demonstrate that alcohol exposure during neurulation can have functional consequences into adolescence, even in the absence of significant brain regional volumetric changes. However, PAE-induced regional shape changes provide evidence for persistent brain alterations and suggest alternative clinical diagnostic markers.
- Development of sperm vitrification protocols for freshwater fish (Eurasian perch, Perca fluviatilis) and marine fish (European eel, Anguilla anguilla). [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Gen Comp Endocrinol 2016 May 9.
Vitrification was successfully applied to the sperm of two fish species, the freshwater Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis) and marine European eel (Anguilla anguilla). Sperm was collected, diluted in species-specific non-activating media and cryoprotectants and vitrified by plunging directly into liquid nitrogen without pre-cooling in its vapor. Progressive motility of fresh and vitrified-thawed sperm was evaluated with computer-assisted sperm analysis (CASA). Additional sperm quality parameters such as sperm head morphometry parameters (in case of European eel) and fertilizing capacity (in case of Eurasian perch) were carried out to test the effectiveness of vitrification. The vitrification method for Eurasian perch sperm resulting the highest post-thaw motility (14±1.6%) was as follows: 1:5 dilution ratio, Tanaka extender, 30% cryoprotectant (15% methanol+15% propylene-glycol), cooling device: Cryotop, 2μl droplets, and for European eel sperm: dilution ratio 1:1, with 40% cryoprotectant (20% MeOH and 20% PG), and 10% FBS, cooling device: Cryotop, with 2μl of sperm suspension. Viable embryos were produced by fertilization with vitrified Eurasian perch sperm (neurulation: 2.54±1.67%). According to the ASMA analysis, no significant decrease in head area and perimeter of vitrified European eel spermatozoa were found when compared to fresh spermatozoa.
- Mono-2-ethylhexyl phthalate disrupts neurulation and modifies the embryonic redox environment and gene expression. [Journal Article]
- Reprod Toxicol 2016 Aug.:32-48.
Mono-2-ethylhexl phthalate (MEHP) is the primary metabolite of di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), a ubiquitous contaminant in plastics. This study sought to determine how structural defects caused by MEHP in mouse whole embryo culture were related to temporal and spatial patterns of redox state and gene expression. MEHP reduced morphology scores along with increased incidence of neural tube defects. Glutathione (GSH) and cysteine (Cys) concentrations fluctuated spatially and temporally in embryo (EMB) and visceral yolk sac (VYS) across the 24h culture. Redox potentials (Eh) for GSSG/GSH were increased by MEHP in EMB (12h) but not in VYS. CySS/CyS Eh in EMB and VYS were significantly increased at 3h and 24h, respectively. Gene expression at 6h showed that MEHP induced selective alterations in EMB and VYS for oxidative phosphorylation and energy metabolism pathways. Overall, MEHP affects neurulation, alters Eh, and spatially alters the expression of metabolic genes in the early organogenesis-stage mouse conceptus.
- Superoxide dismutase 2 overexpression alleviates maternal diabetes-induced neural tube defects, restores mitochondrial function and suppresses cellular stress in diabetic embryopathy. [Journal Article]
- Free Radic Biol Med 2016 Jul.:234-44.
Pregestational diabetes disrupts neurulation leading to neural tube defects (NTDs). Oxidative stress resulting from reactive oxygen species (ROS) plays a central role in the induction of NTD formation in diabetic pregnancies. We aimed to determine whether mitochondrial dysfunction increases ROS production leading to oxidative stress and diabetic embryopathy. Overexpression of the mitochondrion-specific antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) in a transgenic (Tg) mouse model significantly reduced maternal diabetes-induced NTDs. SOD2 overexpression abrogated maternal diabetes-induced mitochondrial dysfunction by inhibiting mitochondrial translocation of the pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members, reducing the number of defective mitochondria in neuroepithelial cells, and decreasing mitochondrial membrane potential. Furthermore, SOD2 overexpression blocked maternal diabetes-increased ROS production by diminishing dihydroethidium staining signals in the developing neuroepithelium, and reducing the levels of nitrotyrosine-modified proteins and lipid hydroperoxide level in neurulation stage embryos. SOD2 overexpression also abolished maternal diabetes-induced endoplasmic reticulum stress. Finally, caspase-dependent neuroepithelial cell apoptosis enhanced by oxidative stress was significantly reduced by SOD2 overexpression. Thus, our findings support the hypothesis that mitochondrial dysfunction in the developing neuroepithelium enhances ROS production, which leads to oxidative stress and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. SOD2 overexpression blocks maternal diabetes-induced oxidative stress and ER stress, and reduces the incidence of NTDs in embryos exposed to maternal diabetes.