An essential role of the cysteine-rich domain of FZD4 in Norrin/Wnt signaling and familial exudative vitreoretinopathy.
ABSTRACT The Wnt pathway plays important yet diverse roles in health and disease. Mutations in the Wnt receptor FZD4 gene have been confirmed to cause familial exudative vitreoretinopathy (FEVR). FEVR is characterized by incomplete vascularization of the peripheral retina, which can lead to vitreous bleeding, tractional retinal detachment, and blindness. We screened for mutations in the FZD4 gene in five families with FEVR and identified five mutations (C45Y, Y58C, W226X, C204R, and W496X), including three novel mutations (C45Y, Y58C, and W226X). In the retina, Norrin serves as a ligand and binds to FZD4 to activate the Wnt signaling pathway in normal angiogenesis and vascularization. The cysteine-rich domain (CRD) of FZD4 has been shown to play a critical role in Norrin-FZD4 binding. We investigated the effect of mutations in the FZD4 CRD in Norrin binding and signaling in vitro and in vivo. Wild-type and mutant FZD4 proteins were assayed for Norrin binding and Norrin-dependent activation of the canonical Wnt pathway by cell-surface and overlay binding assays and luciferase reporter assays. In HEK293 transfection studies, C45Y, Y58C, and C204R mutants did not bind to Norrin and failed to transduce FZD4-mediated Wnt/β-catenin signaling. In vivo studies using Xenopus embryos showed that these FZD4 mutations disrupt Norrin/β-catenin signaling as evidenced by decreased Siamois and Xnr3 expression. This study identified a new class of FZD4 gene mutations in human disease and demonstrates a critical role of the CRD in Norrin binding and activation of the β-catenin pathway.
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ABSTRACT: Although opioids can reduce stimulus-evoked efflux of Substance P (SP) from nociceptive primary afferents, the consequences of this reduction on spinal cord nociceptive processing has not been studied. Rather than assaying SP release, in the present study we examined the effect of opioids on two postsynaptic measures of SP release, Fos expression and neurokinin-1 (NK-1) receptor internalization, in the rat. The functional significance of the latter was first established in in vitro studies that showed that SP-induced Ca(2+) mobilization is highly correlated with the magnitude of SP-induced NK-1 receptor internalization in dorsal horn neurons. Using an in vivo analysis, we found that morphine had little effect on noxious stimulus-evoked internalization of the NK-1 receptor in lamina I neurons. However, internalization was reduced when we coadministered morphine with a dose of an NK-1 receptor antagonist that by itself was without effect. Thus, although opioids may modulate SP release, the residual release is sufficient to exert maximal effects on the target NK-1 receptors. Morphine significantly reduced noxious stimulus-induced Fos expression in lamina I, but the Fos inhibition was less pronounced in neurons that expressed the NK-1 receptor. Taken together, these results suggest that opioid analgesia predominantly involves postsynaptic inhibitory mechanisms and/or presynaptic control of non-SP-containing primary afferent nociceptors.Journal of Neuroscience 12/1999; 19(21):9642-53. · 7.11 Impact Factor