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- Mesoderm is required for coordinated cell movements within zebrafish neural plate in vivo. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neural Dev 2014 Apr 23; 9(1):9.
Morphogenesis of the zebrafish neural tube requires the coordinated movement of many cells in both time and space. A good example of this is the movement of the cells in the zebrafish neural plate as they converge towards the dorsal midline before internalizing to form a neural keel. How these cells are regulated to ensure that they move together as a coherent tissue is unknown. Previous work in other systems has suggested that the underlying mesoderm may play a role in this process but this has not been shown directly in vivo.Here we analyze the roles of subjacent mesoderm in the coordination of neural cell movements during convergence of the zebrafish neural plate and neural keel formation. Live imaging demonstrates that the normal highly coordinated movements of neural plate cells are lost in the absence of underlying mesoderm and the movements of internalization and neural tube formation are severely disrupted. Despite this, neuroepithelial polarity develops in the abnormal neural primordium but the resulting tissue architecture is very disorganized.We show that the movements of cells in the zebrafish neural plate are highly coordinated during the convergence and internalization movements of neurulation. Our results demonstrate that the underlying mesoderm is required for these coordinated cell movements in the zebrafish neural plate in vivo.
- Imaging the fetal central nervous system. [REVIEW]
- Facts Views Vis Obgyn 2011; 3(3):135-149.
The low prevalence of fetal central nervous system anomalies results in a restricted level of exposure and limited experience-- for most of the obstetricians involved in prenatal ultrasound. Sonographic guidelines for screening the fetal brain in a systematic way will probably increase the detection rate and enhance a correct referral to a tertiary care center, offering the patient a multidisciplinary approach of the condition. This paper aims to elaborate on prenatal sonographic and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) diagnosis and outcome of various central nervous system malformations. Detailed neurosonographic investigation has become available through high resolution vaginal ultrasound probes and the development of a variety of 3D ultrasound modalities e.g. ultrasound tomographic imaging. In addition, fetal MRI is particularly helpful in the detection of gyration and neurulation-- anomalies and disorders of the gray and white matter.
- HMGB1 enhances embryonic neural stem cell proliferation by activating the MAPK signaling pathway. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Biotechnol Lett 2014 Apr 19.
Neural stem cells (NSCs) are involved in neural tube formation. As the high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) protein is involved in neurulation and is present at elevated levels in neural tube defects (NTDs) induced by hyperthermia, we have now investigated the effects of HMGB1 on proliferation, differentiation, and MAPK signaling pathways of NSCs in vitro. We constructed a lentivirus vector with HMGB1 siRNA and used it to infect NSCs. Down-regulation of HMGB1 expression was confirmed. Proliferation of NSCs was determined by MTS and nestin/BrdU double-labeling. Differentiation of NSCs was assessed using β-tubulinIII and GFAP. Knockdown of HMGB1 significantly suppressed NSC proliferation but hardly affected differentiation, which was regulated by decreased expression of MAPK signaling pathways. Thus, HMGB1 has beneficial effects on neurulation and may serve as a new target for the prevention of NTDs.
- GEF-H1 functions in apical constriction and cell intercalations and is essential for vertebrate neural tube closure. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Cell Sci 2014 Mar 28.
Rho family GTPases regulate many morphogenetic processes during vertebrate development including neural tube closure. Here we report a function for GEF-H1/Lfc/ArhGEF2, a RhoA-specific guanine nucleotide exchange factor, in neurulation in Xenopus embryos. Morpholino-mediated depletion of GEF-H1 resulted in severe neural tube defects, which were rescued by GEF-H1 RNA. Lineage tracing of GEF-H1 morphants at different developmental stages revealed abnormal cell intercalation and apical constriction, suggesting that GEF-H1 regulates these cell behaviors. Molecular marker analysis documented defects in Myosin II light chain (MLC) phosphorylation, Rab11 and F-actin accumulation in GEF-H1-depleted cells. In gain-of-function studies, overexpressed GEF-H1 triggered Rho-associated kinase-dependent ectopic apical constriction, marked by apical accumulation of phospho-MLC, γ-tubulin and F-actin in superficial ectoderm, and stimulated apical protrusive activity of deep ectoderm cells. Together, our observations demonstrate novel functions of GEF-H1 in morphogenetic movements leading to neural tube closure.
- Vinyl Chloride Monomer (VCM) Induces High Occurrence of Neural Tube Defects in Embryonic Mouse Brain During Neurulation. [Journal Article]
- Cell Mol Neurobiol 2014 May; 34(4):619-30.
The aim of this study was to explore the direct embryonic teratogenicity of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), especially the toxic effects on the early development of the nervous system and its underlying mechanisms. Pregnant mice at embryonic day 6.5 (E6.5) were injected with different doses of VCM (200, 400 and 600 mg/kg) and embryos were harvested at E10.5. Our results showed that doses higher than 400 mg/kg of VCM increased the incidence of malformed embryos, especially the neural tube defects (NTDs). In addition, high-dose of VCM decreased mitotic figure counts in the neuroepithelium and enhanced the percentage of cells in G0/G1 phase, while they were reduced in S phase. The more VCM was injected into mice, the fewer positive PCNA cells were seen and the more positive TUNEL cells were observed in the neuroepithelium. Moreover, significant increases in the levels of caspase-3 protein were observed in NTD embryos. Our results demonstrate that during early pregnancy, exposure to doses higher than 400 mg/kg of VCM increases the incidence of malformations and particularly the rate of NTDs. High-dose of VCM inhibits the proliferation of neural cells and induces cell apoptosis, leading to an imbalance in the ratio of proliferation and apoptosis. Meanwhile, the apoptosis of neuroepithelial cells might be accelerated by the activation of the caspase-3 pathway, and it might be a reason for NTDs.
- LRP2 mediates folate uptake in the developing neural tube. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Cell Sci 2014 Mar 17.
The low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor-related protein 2 (LRP2) is a multifunctional cell surface receptor expressed in the embryonic neuroepithelium. Loss of LRP2 in the developing murine central nervous system (CNS) causes impaired closure of the rostral neural tube at embryonic stage (E) 9.0. Similar neural tube defects (NTDs) have previously been attributed to impaired folate metabolism in mice. We therefore asked whether LRP2 might be required for delivery of folate to neuroepithelial cells during neurulation. Uptake assays in whole embryo cultures showed that LRP2 deficient neuroepithelial cells are unable to mediate uptake of folate bound to soluble folate receptor 1 (sFOLR1). Consequently, folate concentrations are significantly reduced in Lrp2(-/-) embryos compared to control littermates. Moreover, the folic acid dependent gene Alx3 is significantly down regulated in Lrp2 mutants. In conclusion, we show that LRP2 is essential for cellular folate uptake in the developing neural tube, a crucial step for proper neural tube closure.
- Dissection of Xenopus laevis Neural Crest for in vitro Explant Culture or in vivo Transplantation. [Journal Article]
- J Vis Exp 2014; (85)
The neural crest (NC) is a transient dorsal neural tube cell population that undergoes an epithelium-to-mesenchyme transition (EMT) at the end of neurulation, migrates extensively towards various organs, and differentiates into many types of derivatives (neurons, glia, cartilage and bone, pigmented and endocrine cells). In this protocol, we describe how to dissect the premigratory cranial NC from Xenopus laevis embryos, in order to study NC development in vivo and in vitro. The frog model offers many advantages to study early development; abundant batches are available, embryos develop rapidly, in vivo gain and loss of function strategies allow manipulation of gene expression prior to NC dissection in donor and/or host embryos. The NC explants can be plated on fibronectin and used for in vitro studies. They can be cultured for several days in a serum-free defined medium. We also describe how to graft NC explants back into host embryos for studying NC migration and differentiation in vivo.
- A novel serotonin-secreting cell type regulates ciliary motility in the mucociliary epidermis of Xenopus tadpoles. [Journal Article]
- Development 2014 Apr; 141(7):1526-33.
The embryonic skin of Xenopus tadpoles serves as an experimental model system for mucociliary epithelia (MCE) such as the human airway epithelium. MCEs are characterized by the presence of mucus-secreting goblet and multiciliated cells (MCCs). A third cell type, ion-secreting cells (ISCs), is present in the larval skin as well. Synchronized beating of MCC cilia is required for directional transport of mucus. Here we describe a novel cell type in the Xenopus laevis larval epidermis, characterized by serotonin synthesis and secretion. It is termed small secretory cell (SSC). SSCs are detectable at early tadpole stages, unlike MCCs and ISCs, which are specified at early neurulation. Subcellularly, serotonin was found in large, apically localized vesicle-like structures, which were entirely shed into the surrounding medium. Pharmacological inhibition of serotonin synthesis decreased the velocity of cilia-driven fluid flow across the skin epithelium. This effect was mediated by serotonin type 3 receptor (Htr3), which was expressed in ciliated cells. Knockdown of Htr3 compromised flow velocity by reducing the ciliary motility of MCCs. SSCs thus represent a distinct and novel entity of the frog tadpole MCE, required for ciliary beating and mucus transport across the larval skin. The identification and characterization of SSCs consolidates the value of the Xenopus embryonic skin as a model system for human MCEs, which have been known for serotonin-dependent regulation of ciliary beat frequency.
- Symmetry breakage in the frog Xenopus: Role of Rab11 and the ventral-right blastomere. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Genesis 2014 Mar 2.
Vertebrates display asymmetric arrangements of inner organs such as heart and stomach. The Nodal signaling cascade in the left lateral plate mesoderm in all cases directs asymmetric morphogenesis and placement during organogenesis. Mechanisms that lead up to left-asymmetric Nodal induction seem to differ between the vertebrates. Cilia produce a leftward extracellular fluid flow in zebrafish, medaka, mouse, rabbit, and Xenopus embryos during neurulation. In Xenopus, earlier asymmetric cues were described. Some, such as Rab11, apparently act in the zygote. Others were efficiently manipulated in ventral-right cells at the four-cell stage, a lineage presumably independent of the ciliated gastrocoel roof plate (GRP) during neurulation. Here, we show that one- and four-cell manipulations of Rab11 showed equal low efficiencies of left-right disturbances. We also reevaluated the lineage of the GRP. By tracing back future ciliated cells from the gastrula to the four-cell stage, we show that ventral cells contribute to ciliated sensory cells at the border of the GRP. Knockdown of the Nodal inhibitor Coco in the ventral right lineage resulted in embryos with ectopic right-sided Nodal and Pitx2c expression. Together, these experiments support a cilia-based mechanism of symmetry breakage in the frog Xenopus. genesis. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- A zinc transporter gene required for development of the nervous system. [Journal Article]
- Commun Integr Biol 2013 Nov 1; 6(6):e26207.
The essentiality of zinc for normal brain development is well established. It has been suggested that primary and secondary zinc deficiencies can contribute to the occurrence of numerous human birth defects, including many involving the central nervous system. In a recent study, we searched for zinc transporter genes that were critical for neurodevelopment. We confirmed that ZIP12 is a zinc transporter encoded by the gene slc39a12 that is highly expressed in the central nervous systems of human, mouse, and frog (Xenopus tropicalis).Using loss-of-function methods, we determined that ZIP12 is required for neuronal differentiation and neurite outgrowth and necessary for neurulation and embryonic viability. These results highlight an essential need for zinc regulation during embryogenesis and nervous system development. We suggest that slc39a12 is a candidate gene for inherited neurodevelopmental defects in humans.