Evolutionary Conservation of Vertebrate Blood-Brain Barrier Chemoprotective Mechanisms in Drosophila

Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care, San Francisco General Hospital, and Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.75). 04/2009; 29(11):3538-50. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5564-08.2009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Pharmacologic remedy of many brain diseases is difficult because of the powerful drug exclusion properties of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Chemical isolation of the vertebrate brain is achieved through the highly integrated, anatomically compact and functionally overlapping chemical isolation processes of the BBB. These include functions that need to be coordinated between tight diffusion junctions and unidirectionally acting xenobiotic transporters. Understanding of many of these processes has been hampered, because they are not well mimicked by ex vivo models of the BBB and have been experimentally difficult and expensive to disentangle in intact rodent models. Here we show that the Drosophila melanogaster (Dm) humoral/CNS barrier conserves the xenobiotic exclusion properties found in the vertebrate vascular endothelium. We characterize a fly ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporter, Mdr65, that functions similarly to mammalian xenobiotic BBB transporters and show that varying its levels solely in the Dm BBB changes the inherent sensitivity of the barrier to cytotoxic pharmaceuticals. Furthermore, we demonstrate orthologous function between Mdr65 and vertebrate ABC transporters by rescuing chemical protection of the Dm brain with human MDR1/Pgp. These data indicate that the ancient origins of CNS chemoprotection extend to both conserved molecular means and functionally analogous anatomic spaces that together promote CNS selective drug partition. Thus, Dm presents an experimentally tractable system for analyzing physiological properties of the BBB in an intact organism.

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    ABSTRACT: The efficacy of neuronal function requires a well-balanced extracellular ion homeostasis and a steady supply with nutrients and metabolites. Therefore, all organisms equipped with a complex nervous system developed a so-called blood-brain barrier, protecting it from an uncontrolled entry of solutes, metabolites or pathogens. In higher vertebrates, this diffusion barrier is established by polarized endothelial cells that form extensive tight junctions, whereas in lower vertebrates and invertebrates the blood-brain barrier is exclusively formed by glial cells. Here, we review the development and function of the glial blood-brain barrier of Drosophila melanogaster. In the Drosophila nervous system, at least seven morphologically distinct glial cell classes can be distinguished. Two of these glial classes form the blood-brain barrier. Perineurial glial cells participate in nutrient uptake and establish a first diffusion barrier. The subperineurial glial (SPG) cells form septate junctions, which block paracellular diffusion and thus seal the nervous system from the hemolymph. We summarize the molecular basis of septate junction formation and address the different transport systems expressed by the blood-brain barrier forming glial cells.
    Frontiers in Neuroscience 11/2014; 8:365. DOI:10.3389/fnins.2014.00365
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    ABSTRACT: Central nervous system (CNS) function is dependent on the stringent regulation of metabolites, drugs, cells, and pathogens exposed to the CNS space. Cellular blood-brain barrier (BBB) structures are highly specific checkpoints governing entry and exit of all small molecules to and from the brain interstitial space, but the precise mechanisms that regulate the BBB are not well understood. In addition, the BBB has long been a challenging obstacle to the pharmacologic treatment of CNS diseases; thus model systems that can parse the functions of the BBB are highly desirable. In this study, we sought to define the transcriptome of the adult Drosophila melanogaster BBB by isolating the BBB surface glia with fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) and profiling their gene expression with microarrays. By comparing the transcriptome of these surface glia to that of all brain glia, brain neurons, and whole brains, we present a catalog of transcripts that are selectively enriched at the Drosophila BBB. We found that the fly surface glia show high expression of many ATP-binding cassette (ABC) and solute carrier (SLC) transporters, cell adhesion molecules, metabolic enzymes, signaling molecules, and components of xenobiotic metabolism pathways. Using gene sequence-based alignments, we compare the Drosophila and Murine BBB transcriptomes and discover many shared chemoprotective and small molecule control pathways, thus affirming the relevance of invertebrate models for studying evolutionary conserved BBB properties. The Drosophila BBB transcriptome is valuable to vertebrate and insect biologists alike as a resource for studying proteins underlying diffusion barrier development and maintenance, glial biology, and regulation of drug transport at tissue barriers.
    Frontiers in Neuroscience 11/2014; 8:346. DOI:10.3389/fnins.2014.00346
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    ABSTRACT: The invertebrate blood-brain barrier (BBB) field is growing at a rapid pace and, in recent years, studies have shown a physiologic and molecular complexity that has begun to rival its vertebrate counterpart. Novel mechanisms of paracellular barrier maintenance through G-protein coupled receptor signaling were the first demonstrations of the complex adaptive mechanisms of barrier physiology. Building upon this work, the integrity of the invertebrate BBB has recently been shown to require coordinated function of all layers of the compound barrier structure, analogous to signaling between the layers of the vertebrate neurovascular unit. These findings strengthen the notion that many BBB mechanisms are conserved between vertebrates and invertebrates, and suggest that novel findings in invertebrate model organisms will have a significant impact on the understanding of vertebrate BBB functions. In this vein, important roles in coordinating localized and systemic signaling to dictate organism development and growth are beginning to show how the BBB can govern whole animal physiologies. This includes novel functions of BBB gap junctions in orchestrating synchronized neuroblast proliferation, and of BBB secreted antagonists of insulin receptor signaling. These advancements and others are pushing the field forward in exciting new directions. In this review, we provide a synopsis of invertebrate BBB anatomy and physiology, with a focus on insights from the past 5 years, and highlight important areas for future study.
    Frontiers in Neuroscience 12/2014; 8:414. DOI:10.3389/fnins.2014.00414


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