Glycosphingolipids are organizational building blocks of plasma membranes that participate in key cellular functions, such as signaling and cell-to-cell interactions. Glucosylceramide synthase--encoded by the Ugcg gene--controls the first committed step in the major pathway of glycosphingolipid synthesis. Global disruption of the Ugcg gene in mice is lethal during gastrulation. We have now established a Ugcg allele flanked by loxP sites (floxed). When cre recombinase was expressed in the nervous system under control of the nestin promoter, the floxed gene underwent recombination, resulting in a substantial reduction of Ugcg expression and of glycosphingolipid ganglio-series levels. The mice deficient in Ugcg expression in the nervous system show a striking loss of Purkinje cells and abnormal neurologic behavior. The floxed Ugcg allele will facilitate analysis of the function of glycosphingolipids in development, physiology, and in diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
"Miglustat but not eliglustat tartrate is able to traverse the blood-brain barrier and thus might be used to treat the neuropathic glycosphingolipidoses. While excessive inhibition of the glycosphingolipid biosynthetic pathway could be detrimental to neuronal development and stabilization –, the goal is to effect a partial reduction such that the rate of synthesis is matched by the residual capacity of the cells to degrade the substrates. Accordingly, SRT is arguably best suited for those indications that retain some measure of residual enzyme activity as in type 3 Gaucher patients and late-onset Tay-Sachs diseases. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The neuropathic glycosphingolipidoses are a subgroup of lysosomal storage disorders for which there are no effective therapies. A potential approach is substrate reduction therapy using inhibitors of glucosylceramide synthase (GCS) to decrease the synthesis of glucosylceramide and related glycosphingolipids that accumulate in the lysosomes. Genz-529468, a blood-brain barrier-permeant iminosugar-based GCS inhibitor, was used to evaluate this concept in a mouse model of Sandhoff disease, which accumulates the glycosphingolipid GM2 in the visceral organs and CNS. As expected, oral administration of the drug inhibited hepatic GM2 accumulation. Paradoxically, in the brain, treatment resulted in a slight increase in GM2 levels and a 20-fold increase in glucosylceramide levels. The increase in brain glucosylceramide levels might be due to concurrent inhibition of the non-lysosomal glucosylceramidase, Gba2. Similar results were observed with NB-DNJ, another iminosugar-based GCS inhibitor. Despite these unanticipated increases in glycosphingolipids in the CNS, treatment nevertheless delayed the loss of motor function and coordination and extended the lifespan of the Sandhoff mice. These results suggest that the CNS benefits observed in the Sandhoff mice might not necessarily be due to substrate reduction therapy but rather to off-target effects.
PLoS ONE 06/2011; 6(6):e21758. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0021758 · 3.23 Impact Factor
"bp were indicative of the wildtype , floxed, and null alleles, respectively (Yamashita et al., 2005a). The constitutive L7Cre transgene was detected using the following primers: L7Cre forward, 5 0 -AGGTTCGTTCACTCATGGA-3 0 ; and L7Cre reverse, 5 0 -TCGACCAGTTTAGTTACCC-3 0 . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glycosphingolipids (GSLs) occur in all mammalian plasma membranes. They are most abundant in neuronal cells and have essential roles in brain development. Glucosylceramide (GlcCer) synthase, which is encoded by the Ugcg gene, is the key enzyme driving the synthesis of most neuronal GSLs. Experiments using conditional Nestin-Cre Ugcg knockout mice have shown that GSL synthesis in vivo is essential, especially for brain maturation. However, the roles of GSL synthesis in mature neurons remain elusive, since Nestin-Cre is expressed in neural precursors as well as in postmitotic neurons. To address this problem, we generated Purkinje cell-specific Ugcg knockout mice using mice that express Cre under the control of the L7 promoter. In these mice, Purkinje cells survived for at least 10-18 weeks after Ugcg deletion. We observed apparent axonal degeneration characterized by the accumulation of axonal transport cargos and aberrant membrane structures. Dendrites, however, were not affected. In addition, loss of GSLs disrupted myelin sheaths, which were characterized by detached paranodal loops. Notably, we observed doubly myelinated axons enveloped by an additional concentric myelin sheath around the original sheath. Our data show that axonal GlcCer-based GSLs are essential for axonal homeostasis and correct myelin sheath formation.
"Primer 1 (5'-ATGTGCTAGATCAGGCAGGAGGGCTCATAG-3') and primer 2 (5'-CCAACAGATATTGAATGCGAATGCTCTGCC -3') were used to identify the Ugcg allele with a product size of 200 bp for wild-type and 250 bp for the floxed allele. Recombination was detected by PCR of genomic DNA using primers 1 and 3 (5'-GAGCCAGTCCATTACTCTCGTTGATTGCAT-3') as described (Yamashita et al. 2005a) (Fig. 1B). Two sets of primers were used to identify wild-type and Cgt −/− mice. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To examine the function of glycosphingolipids (GSLs) in oligodendrocytes, the myelinating cells of the central nervous system (CNS), mice were generated that lack oligodendroglial expression of UDP-glucose ceramide glucosyltransferase (encoded by Ugcg). These mice (Ugcg(flox/flox);Cnp/Cre) did not show any apparent clinical phenotype, their total brain and myelin extracts had normal GSL content, including ganglioside composition, and myelin abnormalities were not detected in their CNS. These data indicate that the elimination of gangliosides from oligodendrocytes is not detrimental to myelination. These mice were also used to asses the potential compensatory effect of hydroxyl fatty acid glucosylceramide (HFA-GlcCer) accumulation in UDP-galactose:ceramide galactosyltransferase (encoded by Cgt, also known as Ugt8a) deficient mice. At postnatal day 18, the phenotypic characteristics of the Ugcg(flox/flox);Cnp/Cre;Cgt(-/-) mutants, including the degree of hypomyelination, were surprisingly similar to that of Cgt(-/-) mice, suggesting that the accumulation of HFA-GlcCer in Cgt(-/-) mice does not modify their phenotype. These studies demonstrate that abundant, structurally intact myelin can form in the absence of glycolipids, which normally represent over 20% of the dry weight of myelin.
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