Cortical neural precursors inhibit their own differentiation via N-cadherin maintenance of beta-catenin signaling.

Department of Pathology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.
Developmental Cell (Impact Factor: 12.86). 03/2010; 18(3):472-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2009.12.025
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Little is known about the architecture of cellular microenvironments that support stem and precursor cells during tissue development. Although adult stem cell niches are organized by specialized supporting cells, in the developing cerebral cortex, neural stem/precursor cells reside in a neurogenic niche lacking distinct supporting cells. Here, we find that neural precursors themselves comprise the niche and regulate their own development. Precursor-precursor contact regulates beta-catenin signaling and cell fate. In vivo knockdown of N-cadherin reduces beta-catenin signaling, migration from the niche, and neuronal differentiation in vivo. N-cadherin engagement activates beta-catenin signaling via Akt, suggesting a mechanism through which cells in tissues can regulate their development. These results suggest that neural precursor cell interactions can generate a self-supportive niche to regulate their own number.

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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: During cerebral cortical development, neural precursor-precursor interactions in the ventricular zone neurogenic niche coordinate signaling pathways that regulate proliferation and differentiation. Previous studies with shRNA knockdown approaches indicated that N-cadherin adhesion between cortical precursors regulates beta-catenin signaling, but the underlying mechanisms remained poorly understood. RESULTS: Here, with conditional knockout approaches, we find further supporting evidence that N-cadherin maintains beta-catenin signaling during cortical development. Using shRNA to N-cadherin and dominant negative N-cadherin overexpression in cell culture, we find that N-cadherin regulates Wnt-stimulated beta-catenin signaling in a cell-autonomous fashion. Knockdown or inhibition of N-cadherin with function-blocking antibodies leads to reduced activation of the Wnt co-receptor LRP6. We also find that N-cadherin regulates beta-catenin via AKT, as reduction of N-cadherin causes decreased AKT activation and reduced phosphorylation of AKT targets GSK3beta and beta-catenin. Inhibition of AKT signaling in neural precursors in vivo leads to reduced beta-catenin-dependent transcriptional activation, increased migration from the ventricular zone, premature neuronal differentiation, and increased apoptotic cell death. CONCLUSIONS: These results show that N-cadherin regulates beta-catenin signaling through both Wnt and AKT, and suggest a previously unrecognized role for AKT in neuronal differentiation and cell survival during cortical development.
    Neural Development 04/2013; 8(1):7. · 3.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During neocortical development, the neuroepithelial or neural precursor cells that commit to neuronal fate need to delaminate and start migration toward the pial surface. However, the mechanism that couples neuronal fate commitment to detachment from the neuroepithelium remains largely unknown. Here we show that Scratch1 and Scratch2, members of the Snail superfamily of transcription factors, are expressed upon neuronal fate commitment under the control of proneural genes and promote apical process detachment and radial migration in the developing mouse neocortex. Scratch-induced delamination from the apical surface was mediated by transcriptional repression of the adhesion molecule E-cadherin. These findings suggest that Scratch proteins constitute a molecular link between neuronal fate commitment and the onset of neuronal migration. On the basis of their similarity to proteins involved in the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), we propose that Scratch proteins mediate the conversion of neuroepithelial cells to migrating neurons or intermediate neuronal progenitors through an EMT-related mechanism.
    Nature Neuroscience 02/2013; · 15.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: P-cadherin is a key component of epithelial adherens junctions, and it is prominently expressed in the hair follicle (HF) matrix. Loss-of-function mutations in CDH3, which encodes P-cadherin, result in hypotrichosis with juvenile macular dystrophy (HJMD), an autosomal recessive disorder featuring sparse and short hair. Here, we attempted to recapitulate some aspects of HJMD in vitro by transfecting normal, organ-cultured human scalp HFs with lipofectamine and CDH3-specific or scrambled control siRNAs. As in HJMD patients, P-cadherin silencing inhibited hair shaft growth, prematurely induced HF regression (catagen), and inhibited hair matrix keratinocyte proliferation. In situ, membrane β-catenin expression and transcription of the β-catenin target gene, axin2, were significantly reduced, whereas glycogen synthase kinase 3 β (GSK3β) and phospho-β-catenin immunoreactivity were increased. These effects were partially reversed by inhibiting GSK3β. P-cadherin silencing reduced the expression of the anagen-promoting growth factor, IGF-1, whereas that of transforming growth factor β 2 (TGFβ2; catagen promoter) was enhanced. Neutralizing TGFβ antagonized the catagen-promoting effects of P-cadherin silencing. In summary, we introduce human HFs as an attractive preclinical model for studying the functions of P-cadherin in human epithelial biology and pathology. This model demonstrates that cadherins can be successfully knocked down in an intact human organ in vitro, and shows that P-cadherin is needed for anagen maintenance by regulating canonical Wnt signaling and suppressing TGFβ2.
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May 22, 2014