Apoptosis and brain development.
ABSTRACT Neuronal cell death in the embryonic brain was first recognized almost a century ago. Its significance for normal nervous system development and function has been a major focus of neuroscientific investigation ever since. Remarkable progress has been made in defining the cellular processes controlling neuronal cell death and studies performed over the last ten years have revealed extensive homology between the molecules regulating programmed cell death in Caenorhabditis elegans and apoptosis in mammalian cells. Targeted gene disruptions of members of the bcl-2 and caspase gene families have demonstrated particularly significant roles for bcl-x, bax, caspase-9 and caspase-3 in mammalian brain development. As expected from previous studies of synapse-bearing neurons and neurotrophic factors, reduced neuronal cell death in mice bearing mutations in key pro-apoptotic molecules resulted in increased numbers of neurons in a variety of neuronal subpopulations. However, targeted gene disruptions also demonstrated a heretofore underappreciated significance of neural precursor cell death and immature neuron death in nervous system development. Pathological activation of apoptotic death pathways may lead to neuroanatomic abnormalities and possibly to developmental disabilities.
Article: Valproic acid inhibits neural progenitor cell death by activation of NF-κB signaling pathway and up-regulation of Bcl-XL.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: At the beginning of neurogenesis, massive brain cell death occurs and more than 50% of cells are eliminated by apoptosis along with neuronal differentiation. However, few studies were conducted so far regarding the regulation of neural progenitor cells (NPCs) death during development. Because of the physiological role of cell death during development, aberration of normal apoptotic cell death is detrimental to normal organogenesis.Apoptosis occurs in not only neuron but also in NPCs and neuroblast. When growth and survival signals such as EGF or LIF are removed, apoptosis is activated as well as the induction of differentiation. To investigate the regulation of cell death during developmental stage, it is essential to investigate the regulation of apoptosis of NPCs. Neural progenitor cells were cultured from E14 embryonic brains of Sprague-Dawley rats. For in vivo VPA animal model, pregnant rats were treated with VPA (400 mg/kg S.C.) diluted with normal saline at E12. To analyze the cell death, we performed PI staining and PARP and caspase-3 cleavage assay. Expression level of proteins was investigated by Western blot and immunocytochemical assays. The level of mRNA expression was investigated by RT-PCR. Interaction of Bcl-XL gene promoter and NF-κB p65 was investigated by ChIP assay. In this study, FACS analysis, PI staining and PARP and caspase-3 cleavage assay showed that VPA protects cultured NPCs from cell death after growth factor withdrawal both in basal and staurosporine- or hydrogen peroxide-stimulated conditions. The protective effect of prenatally injected VPA was also observed in E16 embryonic brain. Treatment of VPA decreased the level of IκBα and increased the nuclear translocation of NF-κB, which subsequently enhanced expression of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-XL. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report to indicate the reduced death of NPCs by VPA at developmentally critical periods through the degradation of IκBα and the activation of NF-κB signaling. The reduced NPCs death might underlie the neurodevelopmental defects collectively called fetal valproate syndrome, which shows symptoms such as mental retardation and autism-like behavior.Journal of Biomedical Science 07/2011; 18(1):48. · 2.01 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Mammalian tissues display a remarkable complexity of splicing patterns. Nevertheless, only few examples of tissue-specific splicing regulators are known. Herein, we characterize a novel splicing regulator named RBM11, which contains an RNA Recognition Motif (RRM) at the amino terminus and a region lacking known homology at the carboxyl terminus. RBM11 is selectively expressed in brain, cerebellum and testis, and to a lower extent in kidney. RBM11 mRNA levels fluctuate in a developmentally regulated manner, peaking perinatally in brain and cerebellum, and at puberty in testis, in concomitance with differentiation events occurring in neurons and germ cells. Deletion analysis indicated that the RRM of RBM11 is required for RNA binding, whereas the carboxyl terminal region permits nuclear localization and homodimerization. RBM11 is localized in the nucleoplasm and enriched in SRSF2-containing splicing speckles. Transcription inhibition/release experiments and exposure of cells to stress revealed a dynamic movement of RBM11 between nucleoplasm and speckles, suggesting that its localization is affected by the transcriptional status of the cell. Splicing assays revealed a role for RBM11 in the modulation of alternative splicing. In particular, RBM11 affected the choice of alternative 5' splice sites in BCL-X by binding to specific sequences in exon 2 and antagonizing the SR protein SRSF1. Thus, our findings identify RBM11 as a novel tissue-specific splicing factor with potential implication in the regulation of alternative splicing during neuron and germ cell differentiation.Nucleic Acids Research 02/2012; 40(3):1021-32. · 8.03 Impact Factor
Article: Neuroprotection with metformin and thymoquinone against ethanol-induced apoptotic neurodegeneration in prenatal rat cortical neurons.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Exposure to ethanol during early development triggers severe neuronal death by activating multiple stress pathways and causes neurological disorders, such as fetal alcohol effects or fetal alcohol syndrome. This study investigated the effect of ethanol on intracellular events that predispose developing neurons for apoptosis via calcium-mediated signaling. Although the underlying molecular mechanisms of ethanol neurotoxicity are not completely determined, mitochondrial dysfunction, altered calcium homeostasis and apoptosis-related proteins have been implicated in ethanol neurotoxicity. The present study was designed to evaluate the neuroprotective mechanisms of metformin (Met) and thymoquinone (TQ) during ethanol toxicity in rat prenatal cortical neurons at gestational day (GD) 17.5. We found that Met and TQ, separately and synergistically, increased cell viability after ethanol (100 mM) exposure for 12 hours and attenuated the elevation of cytosolic free calcium [Ca²⁺]c. Furthermore, Met and TQ maintained normal physiological mitochondrial transmembrane potential (ΔψM), which is typically lowered by ethanol exposure. Increased cytosolic free [Ca²⁺]c and lowered mitochondrial transmembrane potential after ethanol exposure significantly decreased the expression of a key anti-apoptotic protein (Bcl-2), increased expression of Bax, and stimulated the release of cytochrome-c from mitochondria. Met and TQ treatment inhibited the apoptotic cascade by increasing Bcl-2 expression. These compounds also repressed the activation of caspase-9 and caspase-3 and reduced the cleavage of PARP-1. Morphological conformation of cell death was assessed by TUNEL, Fluoro-Jade-B, and PI staining. These staining methods demonstrated more cell death after ethanol treatment, while Met, TQ or Met plus TQ prevented ethanol-induced apoptotic cell death. These findings suggested that Met and TQ are strong protective agents against ethanol-induced neuronal apoptosis in primary rat cortical neurons. The collective data demonstrated that Met and TQ have the potential to ameliorate ethanol neurotoxicity and revealed a possible protective target mechanism for the damaging effects of ethanol during early brain development.BMC Neuroscience 01/2012; 13:11. · 3.04 Impact Factor