Hybrid neurons in a microRNA mutant are putative evolutionary intermediates in insect CO2 sensory systems.
ABSTRACT Carbon dioxide (CO2) elicits different olfactory behaviors across species. In Drosophila, neurons that detect CO2 are located in the antenna, form connections in a ventral glomerulus in the antennal lobe, and mediate avoidance. By contrast, in the mosquito these neurons are in the maxillary palps (MPs), connect to medial sites, and promote attraction. We found in Drosophila that loss of a microRNA, miR-279, leads to formation of CO2 neurons in the MPs. miR-279 acts through down-regulation of the transcription factor Nerfin-1. The ectopic neurons are hybrid cells. They express CO2 receptors and form connections characteristic of CO2 neurons, while exhibiting wiring and receptor characteristics of MP olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs). We propose that this hybrid ORN reveals a cellular intermediate in the evolution of species-specific behaviors elicited by CO2.
Article: Egr2::Cre Mediated Conditional Ablation of Dicer Disrupts Histogenesis of Mammalian Central Auditory Nuclei.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Histogenesis of the auditory system requires extensive molecular orchestration. Recently, Dicer1, an essential gene for generation of microRNAs, and miR-96 were shown to be important for development of the peripheral auditory system. Here, we investigated their role for the formation of the auditory brainstem. Egr2::Cre-mediated early embryonic ablation of Dicer1 caused severe disruption of auditory brainstem structures. In adult animals, the volume of the cochlear nucleus complex (CNC) was reduced by 73.5%. This decrease is in part attributed to the lack of the microneuronal shell. In contrast, fusiform cells, which similar to the granular cells of the microneural shell are derived from Egr2 positive cells, were still present. The volume reduction of the CNC was already present at birth (67.2% decrease). The superior olivary complex was also drastically affected in these mice. Nissl staining as well as Vglut1 and Calbindin 1 immunolabeling revealed that principal SOC nuclei such as the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body and the lateral superior olive were absent. Only choline acetyltransferase positive neurons of the olivocochlear bundle were observed as a densely packed cell group in the ventrolateral area of the SOC. Mid-embryonic ablation of Dicer1 in the ventral cochlear nucleus by Atoh7::Cre-mediated recombination resulted in normal formation of the cochlear nucleus complex, indicating an early embryonic requirement of Dicer1. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis of miR-96 demonstrated low expression in the embryonic brainstem and up-regulation thereafter, suggesting that other microRNAs are required for proper histogenesis of the auditory brainstem. Together our data identify a critical role of Dicer activity during embryonic development of the auditory brainstem.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(11):e49503. · 4.09 Impact Factor
Article: Unstable maternal environment, separation anxiety, and heightened CO2 sensitivity induced by gene-by-environment interplay.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: In man, many different events implying childhood separation from caregivers/unstable parental environment are associated with heightened risk for panic disorder in adulthood. Twin data show that the occurrence of such events in childhood contributes to explaining the covariation between separation anxiety disorder, panic, and the related psychobiological trait of CO(2) hypersensitivity. We hypothesized that early interference with infant-mother interaction could moderate the interspecific trait of response to CO(2) through genetic control of sensitivity to the environment. Having spent the first 24 hours after birth with their biological mother, outbred NMRI mice were cross-fostered to adoptive mothers for the following 4 post-natal days. They were successively compared to normally-reared individuals for: number of ultrasonic vocalizations during isolation, respiratory physiology responses to normal air (20%O(2)), CO(2)-enriched air (6% CO(2)), hypoxic air (10%O(2)), and avoidance of CO(2)-enriched environments. Cross-fostered pups showed significantly more ultrasonic vocalizations, more pronounced hyperventilatory responses (larger tidal volume and minute volume increments) to CO(2)-enriched air and heightened aversion towards CO(2)-enriched environments, than normally-reared individuals. Enhanced tidal volume increment response to 6%CO(2) was present at 16-20, and 75-90 postnatal days, implying the trait's stability. Quantitative genetic analyses of unrelated individuals, sibs and half-sibs, showed that the genetic variance for tidal volume increment during 6%CO(2) breathing was significantly higher (Bartlett χ = 8.3, p = 0.004) among the cross-fostered than the normally-reared individuals, yielding heritability of 0.37 and 0.21 respectively. These results support a stress-diathesis model whereby the genetic influences underlying the response to 6%CO(2) increase their contribution in the presence of an environmental adversity. Maternal grooming/licking behaviour, and corticosterone basal levels were similar among cross-fostered and normally-reared individuals. A mechanism of gene-by-environment interplay connects this form of early perturbation of infant-mother interaction, heightened CO(2) sensitivity and anxiety. Some non-inferential physiological measurements can enhance animal models of human neurodevelopmental anxiety disorders.PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(4):e18637. · 4.09 Impact Factor
Article: Transcriptome profiling of chemosensory appendages in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae reveals tissue- and sex-specific signatures of odor coding.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Chemosensory signal transduction guides the behavior of many insects, including Anopheles gambiae, the major vector for human malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. To better understand the molecular basis of mosquito chemosensation we have used whole transcriptome RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) to compare transcript expression profiles between the two major chemosensory tissues, the antennae and maxillary palps, of adult female and male An. gambiae. We compared chemosensory tissue transcriptomes to whole body transcriptomes of each sex to identify chemosensory enhanced genes. In the six data sets analyzed, we detected expression of nearly all known chemosensory genes and found them to be highly enriched in both olfactory tissues of males and females. While the maxillary palps of both sexes demonstrated strict chemosensory gene expression overlap, we observed acute differences in sensory specialization between male and female antennae. The relatively high expression levels of chemosensory genes in the female antennae reveal its role as an organ predominately assigned to chemosensation. Remarkably, the expression of these genes was highly conserved in the male antennae, but at much lower relative levels. Alternatively, consistent with a role in mating, the male antennae displayed significant enhancement of genes involved in audition, while the female enhancement of these genes was observed, but to a lesser degree. These findings suggest that the chemoreceptive spectrum, as defined by gene expression profiles, is largely similar in female and male An. gambiae. However, assuming sensory receptor expression levels are correlated with sensitivity in each case, we posit that male and female antennae are perceptive to the same stimuli, but possess inverse receptive prioritizations and sensitivities. Here we have demonstrated the use of RNA-seq to characterize the sensory specializations of an important disease vector and grounded future studies investigating chemosensory processes.BMC Genomics 05/2011; 12:271. · 4.07 Impact Factor