Both Schwann cell and axonal defects cause motor peripheral neuropathy in Ebf2-/- mice.
ABSTRACT Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathies are frequent hereditary disorders of the nervous system and most cases remain without a molecular definition. Mutations in transcription factors have been previously associated to various types of this disease. Mice carrying a null mutation in Ebf2 transcription factor present peripheral nerve abnormalities. To get insight into Ebf2 function in peripheral nervous system, here we characterize the peripheral neuropathy affecting these mice. We first show that Ebf2 is largely expressed in peripheral nerve throughout postnatal development, its expression being not only restricted to non-myelin forming Schwann cells, but also involving myelin forming Schwann cells and the perineurium. As a consequence, the onset of myelination is delayed and Schwann cell differentiation markers are downregulated in Ebf2-/- mice. Later in development, myelin pathology appears less severe and characterized by isolated clusters of hypomyelinated fibers. However, we find defects in the nerve architecture, such as abnormalities of the nodal region and shorter internodal length. Furthermore, we demonstrate a significant decrease in axonal calibre, with a lack of large calibre axons, and a severe impairment of motor nerve conduction velocity and amplitude, whereas the sensory nerve parameters are less affected. Interestingly, a clinical case with peripheral motor neuropathy and clinical features similar to Ebf2-/- mice phenotype was associated with a deletion encompassing EBF2 human genomic locus. These findings demonstrate that Ebf2 is a new molecule implicated in peripheral nerve development and a potential candidate gene for peripheral nerve disorders.
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ABSTRACT: Cajal-Retzius (CR) cells play a crucial role in the formation of the cerebral cortex, yet the molecules that control their development are largely unknown. Here, we show that Ebf transcription factors are expressed in forebrain signalling centres-the septum, cortical hem and the pallial-subpallial boundary-known to generate CR cells. We identified Ebf2, through fate mapping studies, as a novel marker for cortical hem- and septum-derived CR cells. Loss of Ebf2 in vivo causes a transient decrease in CR cell numbers on the cortical surface due to a migratory defect in the cortical hem, and is accompanied by upregulation of Ebf3 in this and other forebrain territories that produce CR cells, without affecting proper cortical lamination. Accordingly, using in vitro preparations, we demonstrated that both Ebf2 and Ebf3, singly or together, control the migration of CR cells arising in the cortical hem. These findings provide evidence that Ebfs directly regulate CR cell development.Developmental Biology 03/2012; 365(1):277-89. · 3.87 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The recent identification of multiple dominant mutations in the gene encoding β-catenin in both humans and mice has enabled exploration of the molecular and cellular basis of β-catenin function in cognitive impairment. In humans, β-catenin mutations that cause a spectrum of neurodevelopmental disorders have been identified. We identified de novo β-catenin mutations in patients with intellectual disability, carefully characterized their phenotypes, and were able to define a recognizable intellectual disability syndrome. In parallel, characterization of a chemically mutagenized mouse line that displays features similar to those of human patients with β-catenin mutations enabled us to investigate the consequences of β-catenin dysfunction through development and into adulthood. The mouse mutant, designated batface (Bfc), carries a Thr653Lys substitution in the C-terminal armadillo repeat of β-catenin and displayed a reduced affinity for membrane-associated cadherins. In association with this decreased cadherin interaction, we found that the mutation results in decreased intrahemispheric connections, with deficits in dendritic branching, long-term potentiation, and cognitive function. Our study provides in vivo evidence that dominant mutations in β-catenin underlie losses in its adhesion-related functions, which leads to severe consequences, including intellectual disability, childhood hypotonia, progressive spasticity of lower limbs, and abnormal craniofacial features in adults.The Journal of clinical investigation 03/2014; · 15.39 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Axon degeneration is a feature of many peripheral neuropathies. Understanding the organismal response to this degeneration may aid in identifying new therapeutic targets for treatment. Using a transgenic zebrafish line expressing a bacterial nitroreductase (Ntr)/mCherry fusion protein in the peripheral sensory neurons of the V, VII, IX, and X cranial nerves, we were able to induce and visualize the pathology of axon degeneration in vivo. Exposure of 4 days post fertilization Ntr larvae to the prodrug metronidazole (Met), which Ntr metabolizes into cytotoxic metabolites, resulted in dose-dependent cell death and axon degeneration. This was limited to the Ntr-expressing sensory neurons, as neighboring glia and motor axons were unaffected. Cell death was rapid, becoming apparent 3-4 hours after Met treatment, and was followed by phagocytosis of soma and axon debris by cells within the nerves and ganglia beginning at 4-5 hours of exposure. Although neutrophils appear to be activated in response to the degenerating neurons, they did not accumulate at the sites of degeneration. In contrast, macrophages were found to be attracted to the sites of the degenerating axons, where they phagocytosed debris. We demonstrated that peripheral glia are critical for both the phagocytosis and inflammatory response to degenerating neurons: mutants that lack all peripheral glia (foxD3-/-; Ntr) exhibit a much reduced reaction to axonal degeneration, resulting in a dramatic decrease in the clearance of debris, and impaired macrophage recruitment. Overall, these results show that this zebrafish model of peripheral sensory axon degeneration exhibits many aspects common to peripheral neuropathies and that peripheral glia play an important role in the initial response to this process.PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(7):e103283. · 3.53 Impact Factor