Neurodevelopmental delay, motor abnormalities and cognitive deficits in transgenic mice overexpressing Dyrk1A (minibrain), a murine model of Down's syndrome
ABSTRACT Down's syndrome (DS) is a major cause of mental retardation, hypotonia and delayed development. Murine models of DS carrying large murine or human genomic fragments show motor alterations and memory deficits. The specific genes responsible for these phenotypic alterations have not yet been defined. DYRK1A, the human homolog of the Drosophila minibrain gene, maps to the DS critical region of human chromosome 21 and is overexpressed in DS fetal brain. DYRK1A encodes a serine-threonine kinase, probably involved in neuroblast proliferation. Mutant Drosophila minibrain flies have a reduction in both optic lobes and central brain, showing learning deficits and hypoactivity. We have generated transgenic mice (TgDyrk1A) overexpressing the full-length cDNA of Dyrk1A. TgDyrk1A mice exhibit delayed cranio-caudal maturation with functional consequences in neuromotor development. TgDyrk1A mice also show altered motor skill acquisition and hyperactivity, which is maintained to adulthood. In the Morris water maze, TgDyrk1A mice show a significant impairment in spatial learning and cognitive flexibility, indicative of hippocampal and prefrontal cortex dysfunction. In the more complex repeated reversal learning paradigm, this defect turned out to be specifically related to reference memory, whereas working memory was almost unimpaired. These alterations are comparable with those found in the partial trisomy chromosome 16 murine models of DS and suggest a causative role of DYRK1A in mental retardation and in motor anomalies of DS.
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ABSTRACT: Cognitive deficits in Down syndrome (DS) have been linked to increased synaptic inhibition, leading to an imbalance of excitation/inhibition (E/I). Various mouse models and studies from human brains have implicated an HSA21 gene, the serine/threonine kinase DYRK1A, as a candidate for inducing cognitive dysfunction. Here, consequences of alterations in Dyrk1a dosage were assessed in mouse models with varying copy numbers of Dyrk1a: mBACtgDyrk1a, Ts65Dn and Dp(16)1Yey (with 3 gene copies) and Dyrk1a(+/−) (one functional copy). Molecular (i.e. immunoblotting/immunohistochemistry) and behavioral analyses (e.g., rotarod, Morris water maze, Y-maze) were performed in mBACtgDyrk1a mice. Increased expression of DYRK1A in mBACtgDyrk1a induced molecular alterations in synaptic plasticity pathways, particularly expression changes in GABAergic and glutaminergic related proteins. Similar alterations were observed in models with partial trisomy of MMU16, Ts65Dn and Dp(16)1Yey, and were reversed in the Dyrk1a(+/−) model. Dyrk1a overexpression produced an increased number and signal intensity of GAD67 positive neurons, indicating enhanced inhibition pathways in three different models: mBACtgDyrk1a, hYACtgDyrk1a and Dp(16)1Yey. Functionally, Dyrk1a overexpression protected mice from PTZ-induced seizures related to GABAergic neuron plasticity. Our study shows that DYRK1A overexpression affects pathways involved in synaptogenesis and synaptic plasticity and influences E/I balance towards inhibition. Inhibition of DYRK1A activity offers a therapeutic target for DS, but its inhibition/activation may also be relevant for other psychiatric diseases with E/I balance alterations.Neurobiology of Disease 09/2014; 69. DOI:10.1016/j.nbd.2014.04.016 · 5.20 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Trisomy for human chromosome 21 results in Down syndrome (DS), which is among the most complex genetic perturbations leading to intellectual disability. Accumulating data suggest that overexpression of the dual-specificity tyrosine-(Y)-phosphorylation regulated kinase 1A (DYRK1A), is a critical pathogenic mechanisms in the intellectual deficit. Here we show that the green tea flavonol epigallocatechin-gallate (EGCG), a DYRK1A inhibitor, rescues the cognitive deficits of both segmental trisomy 16 (Ts65Dn) and transgenic mice overexpressing Dyrk1A in a trisomic or disomic genetic background, respectively. It also significantly reverses cognitive deficits in a pilot study in DS individuals with effects on memory recognition, working memory and quality of life. We used the mouse models to ensure that EGCG was able to reduce DYRK1A kinase activity in the hippocampus and found that it also induced significant changes in plasma homocysteine levels, which were correlated with Dyrk1A expression levels. Thus, we could use plasma homocysteine levels as an efficacy biomarker in our human study. We conclude that EGCG is a promising therapeutic tool for cognitive enhancement in DS, and its efficacy may depend of Dyrk1A inhibition.Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 02/2014; 58(2). DOI:10.1002/mnfr.201300325 · 4.91 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Down syndrome (trisomy 21) is the most common viable chromosomal disorder with intellectual impairment and several other developmental abnormalities. Here, we report the generation and characterization of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from monozygotic twins discordant for trisomy 21 in order to eliminate the effects of the variability of genomic background. The alterations observed by genetic analysis at the iPSC level and at first approximation in early development illustrate the developmental disease transcriptional signature of Down syndrome. Moreover, we observed an abnormal neural differentiation of Down syndrome iPSCs in vivo when formed teratoma in NOD-SCID mice, and in vitro when differentiated into neuroprogenitors and neurons. These defects were associated with changes in the architecture and density of neurons, astroglial and oligodendroglial cells together with misexpression of genes involved in neurogenesis, lineage specification and differentiation. Furthermore, we provide novel evidence that dual-specificity tyrosine-(Y)-phosphorylation regulated kinase 1A (DYRK1A) on chromosome 21 likely contributes to these defects. Importantly, we found that targeting DYRK1A pharmacologically or by shRNA results in a considerable correction of these defects.EMBO Molecular Medicine 12/2013; DOI:10.1002/emmm.201302848 · 8.25 Impact Factor