Human in vitro reporter model of neuronal development and early differentiation processes

Department of Neurology, University of Regensburg, Universitätsstr, 84, 93053 Regensburg, Germany.
BMC Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 2.85). 02/2008; 9:31. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2202-9-31
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT During developmental and adult neurogenesis, doublecortin is an early neuronal marker expressed when neural stem cells assume a neuronal cell fate. To understand mechanisms involved in early processes of neuronal fate decision, we investigated cell lines for their capacity to induce expression of doublecortin upon neuronal differentiation and develop in vitro reporter models using doublecortin promoter sequences.
Among various cell lines investigated, the human teratocarcinoma cell line NTERA-2 was found to fulfill our criteria. Following induction of differentiation using retinoic acid treatment, we observed a 16-fold increase in doublecortin mRNA expression, as well as strong induction of doublecortin polypeptide expression. The acquisition of a neuronal precursor phenotype was also substantiated by the establishment of a multipolar neuronal morphology and expression of additional neuronal markers, such as Map2, betaIII-tubulin and neuron-specific enolase. Moreover, stable transfection in NTERA-2 cells of reporter constructs encoding fluorescent or luminescent genes under the control of the doublecortin promoter allowed us to directly detect induction of neuronal differentiation in cell culture, such as following retinoic acid treatment or mouse Ngn2 transient overexpression.
Induction of doublecortin expression in differentiating NTERA-2 cells suggests that these cells accurately recapitulate some of the very early events of neuronal determination. Hence, the use of reporter genes under the control of the doublecortin promoter in NTERA-2 cells will help us to investigate factors involved early in the course of neuronal differentiation processes. Moreover the ease to detect the induction of a neuronal program in this model will permit to perform high throughput screening for compounds acting on the early neuronal differentiation mechanisms.

Download full-text


Available from: Ludwig Aigner, Jun 30, 2015
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Adult neurogenesis, i.e., the generation of new neurons in the adult brain, presents an enormous potential for regenerative therapies of the central nervous system. While 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine labeling and subsequent histology or immunohistochemistry for cell-type-specific markers is still the gold standard in studies of neurogenesis, novel techniques, and tools for in vivo imaging of neurogenesis have been recently developed and successfully applied. Here, we review the latest progress on these developments, in particular in the area of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and optical imaging. In vivo in situ labeling of neural progenitor cells (NPCs) with micron-sized iron oxide particles enables longitudinal visualization of endogenous progenitor cell migration by MRI. The possibility of genetic labeling for cellular MRI was demonstrated by using the iron storage protein ferritin as the MR reporter-gene. However, reliable and consistent results using ferritin imaging for monitoring endogenous progenitor cell migration have not yet been reported. In contrast, genetic labeling of NPCs with a fluorescent or bioluminescent reporter has led to the development of some powerful tools for in vivo imaging of neurogenesis. Here, two strategies, i.e., viral labeling of stem/progenitor cells and transgenic approaches, have been used. In addition, the use of specific promoters for neuronal progenitor cells such as doublecortin increases the neurogenesis-specificity of the labeling. Naturally, the ultimate challenge will be to develop neurogenesis imaging methods applicable in humans. Therefore, we certainly need to consider other modalities such as positron emission tomography and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H-MRS), which have already been implemented for both animals and humans. Further improvements of sensitivity and neurogenesis-specificity are nevertheless required for all imaging techniques currently available.
    Frontiers in Neuroscience 01/2011; 5:67. DOI:10.3389/fnins.2011.00067
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We employed lentivirus-based doublecortin (DCX), as a glioma suppressor gene therapy in an intracranial glioma tumor xenograft model in nude rats. Single DCX-expressing lentivirus was directly administered into the tumor on day 8 after U87 tumor cell implantation. DCX treatment significantly reduced U87 glioma tumor volume (approximately 60%) on day 14 after DCX lentivirus injection and significantly improved median survival of tumor-bearing nude rats. DCX synthesis induced neuronal markers MAP2, TUJ1, and PSA-NCAM and the glial marker glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) in the implanted U87 glioma tumors. DCX synthesis induced GFAP that colocalized with tubulin in the mitotic stage, inhibited cleavage furrow during cytokinesis, and blocked mitosis in glioma cells. DCX lentivirus infection did not induce apoptosis but significantly inhibited expression of the proliferation marker Ki-67 and the blood vessel marker von-Willebrand factor (vWF). U87 and other glioma cells except for brain tumor stem cells (BTSCs) do not express neuronal markers or both neuronal and glial markers. DCX-synthesizing glioma cells express a phenotype of antiangiogenic BTSC-like cells with terminal differentiation that causes remission of glioma cells by blocking mitosis via a novel DCX/GFAP pathway. Direct local delivery of lentivirus-based DCX gene therapy is a potential differentiation-based therapeutic approach for the treatment of glioma.
    Journal of Neuroscience Research 02/2010; 88(2):304-14. DOI:10.1002/jnr.22207 · 2.73 Impact Factor
  • Source