Dicer loss in striatal neurons produces behavioral and neuroanatomical phenotypes in the absence of neurodegeneration.
ABSTRACT MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs that can act to repress target mRNAs by suppressing translation and/or reducing mRNA stability. Although it is clear that miRNAs and Dicer, an RNase III enzyme that is central to the production of mature miRNAs, have a role in the early development of neurons, their roles in the postmitotic neuron in vivo are largely unknown. To determine the roles of Dicer in neurons, we ablated Dicer in dopaminoceptive neurons. Mice that have lost Dicer in these cells display a range of phenotypes including ataxia, front and hind limb clasping, reduced brain size, and smaller neurons. Surprisingly, dopaminoceptive neurons without Dicer survive over the life of the animal. The lack of profound cell death contrasts with other mouse models in which Dicer has been ablated. These studies highlight the complicated nature of Dicer ablation in the brain and provide a useful mouse model for studying dopaminoceptive neuron function.
[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Of the five known dopamine receptors, D1A and D2 represent the major subtypes expressed in the striatum of the adult brain. Within the striatum, these two subtypes are differentially distributed in the two main neuronal populations that provide direct and indirect pathways between the striatum and the output nuclei of the basal ganglia. Movement disorders, including Parkinson disease and various dystonias, are thought to result from imbalanced activity in these pathways. Dopamine regulates movement through its differential effects on D1A receptors expressed by direct output neurons and D2 receptors expressed by indirect output neurons. To further examine the interaction of D1A and D2 neuronal pathways in the striatum, we used homologous recombination to generate mutant mice lacking functional D1A receptors (D1A-/-). D1A-/- mutants are growth retarded and die shortly after weaning age unless their diet is supplemented with hydrated food. With such treatment the mice gain weight and survive to adulthood. Neurologically, D1A-/- mice exhibit normal coordination and locomotion, although they display a significant decrease in rearing behavior. Examination of the striatum revealed changes associated with the altered phenotype of these mutants. D1A receptor binding was absent in striatal sections from D1A-/- mice. Striatal neurons normally expressing functional D1A receptors are formed and persist in adult homozygous mutants. Moreover, substance P mRNA, which is colocalized specifically in striatal neurons with D1A receptors, is expressed at a reduced level. In contrast, levels of enkephalin mRNA, which is expressed in striatal neurons with D2 receptors, are unaffected. These findings show that D1A-/- mice exhibit selective functional alterations in the striatal neurons giving rise to the direct striatal output pathway.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/1995; 91(26):12564-8. · 9.68 Impact Factor
[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Rett syndrome (RTT) is an inherited neurodevelopmental disorder of females that occurs once in 10,000-15,000 births. Affected females develop normally for 6-18 months, but then lose voluntary movements, including speech and hand skills. Most RTT patients are heterozygous for mutations in the X-linked gene MECP2 (refs. 3-12), encoding a protein that binds to methylated sites in genomic DNA and facilitates gene silencing. Previous work with Mecp2-null embryonic stem cells indicated that MeCP2 is essential for mouse embryogenesis. Here we generate mice lacking Mecp2 using Cre-loxP technology. Both Mecp2-null mice and mice in which Mecp2 was deleted in brain showed severe neurological symptoms at approximately six weeks of age. Compensation for absence of MeCP2 in other tissues by MeCP1 (refs. 19,20) was not apparent in genetic or biochemical tests. After several months, heterozygous female mice also showed behavioral symptoms. The overlapping delay before symptom onset in humans and mice, despite their profoundly different rates of development, raises the possibility that stability of brain function, not brain development per se, is compromised by the absence of MeCP2.Nature Genetics 04/2001; 27(3):322-6. · 35.53 Impact Factor