[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A major challenge for neurological therapeutics is the development of small molecule drugs that can activate a panoply of downstream pathways without toxicity. Over the past decade our group has shown that a family of enzymes that regulate posttranscriptional and transcriptional adaptive responses to hypoxia are viable targets for neuronal protection and repair. The family is a group of iron, oxygen, and 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenases, known as the HIF prolyl 4-hydroxylases (HIF PHDs). We have previously shown that pluripotent protection offered by iron chelators is mediated, in part, via the ability of these agents to inhibit the HIF PHDs. Our group and others have implicated the transcriptional activator HIF-1 in some of the salutary effects of iron chelation-induced PHD inhibition. While some iron chelators are currently employed in humans for conditions such as hemochromatosis, the diverse utilization of iron in physiological processes in the brain makes the development of HIF activators that do not bind iron a high priority. Here we report the development of a high throughput screen to develop novel HIF activators and/or PHD inhibitors for therapeutic use in the central nervous system (CNS). We show that tilorone, a low-molecular weight, antiviral, immunomodulatory agent is the most effective activator of the HIF pathway in a neuronal line. We also show that tilorone enhances HIF protein levels and increases the expression of downstream target genes independent of iron chelation and HIF PHD inhibition in vitro. We further demonstrate that tilorone can activate an HIF-regulated reporter gene in the CNS. These studies confirm that tilorone can penetrate the blood-brain barrier to activate HIF in the CNS. As expected from these findings, we show that tilorone provides effective prophylaxis against permanent ischemic stroke and traumatic spinal cord injury in male rodents. Altogether these findings identify tilorone as a novel and potent modulator of HIF-mediated gene expression in neurons with neuroprotective properties.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 01/2009; 1147:383-94. · 4.38 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A great deal of progress has been made in the identification and use of markers in the study of neural progenitor and stem
cells. The use of individual proteins or genes as highly specific markers, however, must always be made with a great deal
of caution-no one antigen or gene is always likely to be only expressed by one specific cell type. Additionally, recent studies
depicting the complexity and heterogeneity of neural stem cells will call for newer and better markers as well as new ways
of thinking about cell identity.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Emerging evidence suggests that neural stem cells and brain tumors regulate their proliferation via similar pathways. In a previous study, we demonstrated that maternal embryonic leucine zipper kinase (Melk) is highly expressed in murine neural stem cells and regulates their proliferation. Here we describe how MELK expression is correlated with pathologic grade of brain tumors, and its expression levels are significantly correlated with shorter survival, particularly in younger glioblastoma patients. In normal human astrocytes, MELK is only faintly expressed, and MELK knockdown does not significantly influence their growth, whereas Ras and Akt overexpressing astrocytes have up-regulated MELK expression, and the effect of MELK knockdown is more prominent in these transformed astrocytes. In primary cultures from human glioblastoma and medulloblastoma, MELK knockdown by siRNA results in inhibition of the proliferation and survival of these tumors. Furthermore, we show that MELK siRNA dramatically inhibits
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastoma is the most common primary malignant brain tumor of adults and one of the most lethal of all cancers. Patients with this disease have a median survival of 15 months from the time of diagnosis despite surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. New treatment approaches are needed. Recent works suggest that glioblastoma patients may benefit from molecularly targeted therapies. Here, we address the compelling need for identification of new molecular targets. Leveraging global gene expression data from two independent sets of clinical tumor samples (n = 55 and n = 65), we identify a gene coexpression module in glioblastoma that is also present in breast cancer and significantly overlaps with the "metasignature" for undifferentiated cancer. Studies in an isogenic model system demonstrate that this module is downstream of the mutant epidermal growth factor receptor, EGFRvIII, and that it can be inhibited by the epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor Erlotinib. We identify ASPM (abnormal spindle-like microcephaly associated) as a key gene within this module and demonstrate its overexpression in glioblastoma relative to normal brain (or body tissues). Finally, we show that ASPM inhibition by siRNA-mediated knockdown inhibits tumor cell proliferation and neural stem cell proliferation, supporting ASPM as a potential molecular target in glioblastoma. Our weighted gene coexpression network analysis provides a blueprint for leveraging genomic data to identify key control networks and molecular targets for glioblastoma, and the principle eluted from our work can be applied to other cancers.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12/2006; 103(46):17402-7. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We performed genomic subtraction coupled to microarray-based gene expression profiling and identified the PDZ (postsynaptic density-95/Discs large/zona occludens-1)-binding kinase/T-LAK (lymphokine-activated killer T cell) cell originating protein kinase (PBK/TOPK) as a gene highly enriched in neural stem cell cultures. Previous studies have identified PBK/TOPK as a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) kinase that phosphorylated P38 MAPK but with no known expression or function in the nervous system. First, using a novel, bioinformatics-based approach to assess cross-correlation in large microarray datasets, we generated the hypothesis of a cell-cycle-related role for PBK/TOPK in neural cells. We then demonstrated that both PBK/TOPK and P38 are activated in a cell-cycle-dependent manner in neuronal progenitor cells in vitro, and inhibition of this pathway disrupts progenitor proliferation and self-renewal, a core feature of progenitors. In vivo, PBK/TOPK is expressed in rapidly proliferating cells in the adult subependymal zone (SEZ) and early postnatal cerebellar external granular layer. Using an approach based on transgenically targeted ablation and lineage tracing in mice, we show that PBK/TOPK-positive cells in the SEZ are GFAP negative but arise from GFAP-positive neural stem cells during adult neurogenesis. Furthermore, ablation of the adult stem cell population leads to concomitant loss of PBK/TOPK-positive cells in the SEZ. Together, these studies demonstrate that PBK/TOPK is a marker for transiently amplifying neural progenitors in the SEZ. Additionally, they suggest that PBK/TOPK plays an important role in these progenitors, and further implicates the P38 MAPK pathway in general, as an important regulator of progenitor proliferation and self-renewal.
Journal of Neuroscience 12/2005; 25(46):10773-85. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pediatric brain tumors are significant causes of morbidity and mortality. It has been hypothesized that they derive from self-renewing multipotent neural stem cells. Here, we tested whether different pediatric brain tumors, including medulloblastomas and gliomas, contain cells with properties similar to neural stem cells. We find that tumor-derived progenitors form neurospheres that can be passaged at clonal density and are able to self-renew. Under conditions promoting differentiation, individual cells are multipotent, giving rise to both neurons and glia, in proportions that reflect the tumor of origin. Unlike normal neural stem cells, however, tumor-derived progenitors have an unusual capacity to proliferate and sometimes differentiate into abnormal cells with multiple differentiation markers. Gene expression analysis reveals that both whole tumors and tumor-derived neurospheres express many genes characteristic of neural and other stem cells, including CD133, Sox2, musashi-1, bmi-1, maternal embryo
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study examined measures of social communication that involve the use of language in formulating and organizing thoughts and its relationship with seizure-related, developmental, cognitive, and behavioral variables in 92 children with complex partial seizure disorder (CPS), 51 with primary generalized epilepsy (PGE), and 117 normal children, aged 5.1-16.9 years.
Coding the children's speech samples with the Kiddie Formal Thought Disorder Rating Scale (Caplan et al., 1989) and Halliday and Hasan's (1976) analysis of cohesion demonstrated social communication deficits in both seizure disorder groups.
The CPS patients had both formal thought disorder and cohesion deficits and the PGE group had mild cohesion deficits. IQ, as well as fronto-temporal and bilateral spike and wave activity were associated with the severity of the social communication deficits of the CPS group. The social communication deficits of the PGE group, however, were related to IQ and seizure control.
Recurrent CPS and PGE and fronto-temporal localization of epileptic activity might impair the development of children's communication skills.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 03/2002; 43(2):245-53. · 5.42 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The study of neural stem cell biology is hindered by the absence of well-defined markers for neural stem cells and neuronal progenitors. Without the ability to identify the relevant cell types, the analysis of how the diverse cell populations of the central nervous system are generated becomes virtually impossible.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This investigation examined psychopathology in 48 children with complex partial seizures (CPS), 39 children with primary generalized epilepsy with absence (PGE), and 59 nonepileptic children, aged 5 to 16 years, by comparing the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children (K-SADS).
The CBCL was completed by parents and the K-SADS was administered to both parent and child.
The CBCL identified psychopathology in 26% and the K-SADS in 51% of the CPS and PGE patients (kappa = 0.32). The CPS and PGE groups had significantly higher mean CBCL scores, as well as higher rates of psychiatric diagnoses and symptoms of psychopathology, compared with the nonepileptic group. However, the CPS and PGE groups did not differ in these measures. Within each patient group, Full Scale IQ, but not seizure control, was associated with these measures of psychopathology.
These findings suggest that the K-SADS identifies more children with psychopathology than the CBCL in children with CPS and PGE.
Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 09/2001; 40(8):907-14. · 6.97 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Notch-DSL signaling system consists of multiple receptors and ligands, and plays many roles in development. The function of Notch receptors and ligands in mammalian brain, however, is poorly understood. In the current study, we examined the expression patterns for three receptors of this system, Notch1, 2, and 3, in late embryonic and postnatal rat brain by in situ hybridization. The three receptors have overlapping but different patterns of expression. Messenger RNA for all three proteins is found in postnatal central nervous system (CNS) germinal zones and, in early postnatal life, within numerous cells throughout the CNS. Within zones of cellular proliferation of the postnatal brain, Notch1 mRNA is found in both the subventricular and the ventricular germinal zones, whereas Notch2 and Notch3 mRNAs are more highly localized to the ventricular zones. Both Notch1 and Notch3 mRNAs are expressed along the inner aspect of the dentate gyrus, a site of adult neurogenesis. Notch2 mRNA is expressed in the external granule cell layer of the developing cerebellum. In several brain areas, Notch1 and Notch2 mRNAs are relatively concentrated in white matter, whereas Notch3 mRNA is not. Neurosphere cultures (which contain CNS stem cells), purified astrocyte cultures, and striatal neuron-enriched cultures express Notch1 mRNA. However, in these latter cultures, Notch1 mRNA is produced by nestin-containing cells, rather than by postmitotic neurons. Taken together, these results support multiple roles for Notch1, 2, and 3 receptor activation during CNS development, particularly during gliogenesis.
The Journal of Comparative Neurology 08/2001; 436(2):167-81. · 3.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study examined if children with complex partial seizures disorder (CPS) and primary generalized epilepsy with absence (PGE) were impaired in the use of self-initiated repair during a conversation compared to normal children. Transcriptions of speech samples of 92 CPS, 51 PGE, and 65 normal children, ages 5-16 years, were coded for self-initiated repair according to Evans (1985). The WISC-R, a structured psychiatric interview, and seizure-related information were obtained for each child. We found impaired use of repair in both the CPS and PGE groups compared to the normal subjects. The CPS patients, particularly those with a temporal lobe focus, overused self-initiated corrections of referents and syntax compared to the PGE and normal subjects. The CPS and PGE patients with frontal lobe involvement underused fillers compared to the normal children. These findings provide additional evidence that both CPS and PGE impact the ongoing development of children's communication skills.
Brain and Language 08/2001; 78(1):82-93. · 3.39 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is reasonable to propose that gene expression profiles of purified stem cells could give clues for the molecular mechanisms of stem cell behavior. We took advantage of cDNA subtraction to identify a set of genes selectively expressed in mouse adult hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) as opposed to bone marrow (BM). Analysis of HSC-enriched genes revealed several key regulatory gene candidates, including two novel seven transmembrane (7TM) receptors. Furthermore, by using cDNA microarray techniques we found a large set of HSC-enriched genes that are expressed in mouse neurospheres (a population greatly enriched for neural progenitor cells), but not present in terminally differentiated neural cells. In situ hybridization demonstrated that many of them, including one HSC-enriched 7TM receptor, were selectively expressed in the germinal zones of fetal and adult brain, the regions harboring mouse neural stem cells. We propose that at least some of the transcripts that are selectively and commonly expressed in two or more types of stem cells define a functionally conserved group of genes evolved to participate in basic stem cell functions, including stem cell self-renewal.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2001; 98(14):7934-9. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oligodendrocyte-specific protein (OSP)/claudin-11 is a major component of central nervous system myelin and forms tight junctions (TJs) within myelin sheaths. TJs are essential for forming a paracellular barrier and have been implicated in the regulation of growth and differentiation via signal transduction pathways. We have identified an OSP/claudin-11-associated protein (OAP)1, using a yeast two-hybrid screen. OAP-1 is a novel member of the tetraspanin superfamily, and it is widely expressed in several cell types, including oligodendrocytes. OAP-1, OSP/claudin-11, and beta1 integrin form a complex as indicated by coimmunoprecipitation and confocal immunocytochemistry. Overexpression of OSP/claudin-11 or OAP-1 induced proliferation in an oligodendrocyte cell line. Anti-OAP-1, anti-OSP/claudin-11, and anti-beta1 integrin antibodies inhibited migration of primary oligodendrocytes, and migration was impaired in OSP/claudin-11-deficient primary oligodendrocytes. These data suggest a role for OSP/claudin-11, OAP-1, and beta1 integrin complex in regulating proliferation and migration of oligodendrocytes, a process essential for normal myelination and repair.
The Journal of Cell Biology 05/2001; 153(2):295-305. · 10.82 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using a culture model of glial tumorigenesis, we identified a novel gene that was up-regulated in malignant mouse astrocytes following the loss of p53. The gene represents the murine homologue of pescadillo, an uncharacterized gene that is essential for embryonic development in zebrafish. Pescadillo is a strongly conserved gene containing unique structural motifs such as a BRCA1 C-terminal domain, clusters of acidic amino acids and consensus motifs for post-translational modification by SUMO-1. Pescadillo displayed a distinct spatial and temporal pattern of gene expression during brain development, being detected in neural progenitor cells and postmitotic neurons. Although it is not expressed in differentiated astrocytes in vivo, the pescadillo protein is dramatically elevated in malignant human astrocytomas. Yeast strains harboring temperature-sensitive mutations in the pescadillo gene were arrested in either G(1) or G(2) when grown in nonpermissive conditions, demonstrating that pescadillo is an essential gene in yeast and is required for cell cycle progression. Consistent with the latter finding, DNA synthesis was only observed in mammalian cells expressing the pescadillo protein. These results suggest that pescadillo plays a crucial role in cell proliferation and may be necessary for oncogenic transformation and tumor progression.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2001; 276(9):6656-65. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genetic mechanisms regulating CNS progenitor function and differentiation are not well understood. We have used microarrays derived from a representational difference analysis (RDA) subtraction in a heterogeneous stem cell culture system to systematically study the gene expression patterns of CNS progenitors. This analysis identified both known and novel genes enriched in progenitor cultures. In situ hybridization in a subset of clones demonstrated that many of these genes were expressed preferentially in germinal zones, some showing distinct ventricular or subventricular zone labeling. Several genes were also enriched in hematopoietic stem cells, suggesting an overlap of gene expression in neural and hematopoietic progenitors. This combination of methods demonstrates the power of using custom microarrays derived from RDA-subtracted libraries for both gene discovery and gene expression analysis in the central nervous system.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Functional imaging by repeated noninvasive scans of specific (18)F tracer distribution using a high-resolution small-animal PET scanner, the microPET, assessed the time course of alterations in energy utilization and dopamine receptors in rats with unilateral striatal quinolinic acid lesions. Energy utilization ipsilateral to the lesion, determined using scans of 2-deoxy-2-[(18)F]fluoro-d-glucose uptake, was compromised severely 1 week after intrastriatal excitotoxin injections. When the same rats were imaged 5 and 7 weeks postlesion, decrements in energy metabolism were even more prominent. In contrast, lesion-induced effects on dopamine D(2) receptor binding were more progressive, with an initial upregulation of [3-(2'-(18)F]fluoroethyl)spiperone binding apparent 1 week postlesion followed by a decline 5 and 7 weeks thereafter. Additional experiments revealed that marked upregulation of dopamine D(2) receptors consequent to quinolinic acid injections could be detected as early as 3 days after the initial insult. Postmortem markers of striatal GABAergic neurons were assessed in the same rats 7 weeks after the lesion: expression of glutamic acid decarboxylase and dopamine D(1) receptor mRNA, as well as [(3)H]SCH-23,390 and [(3)H]spiperone binding to dopamine D(1) and D(2) receptors, respectively, detected prominent decrements consequent to the lesion. In contrast, by 7 weeks postlesion [(3)H]WIN-35,428 binding to dopamine transport sites within the striatum appeared to be enhanced proximal to the quinolinic acid injection sites. The results demonstrate that functional imaging using the microPET is a useful technique to explore not only the progressive neurodegeneration that occurs in response to excitotoxic insults, but also to examine more closely the intricacies of neurotransmitter activity in a small animal model of HD.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The study of neural repair and neuroplasticity in rodents would be enhanced by the ability to assess neuronal function in vivo. Positron emission tomography (PET) is used to study brain plasticity in humans, but the limited resolution and sensitivity of conventional scanners have generally precluded the use of PET to study neuroplasticity in rodents. We now demonstrate that microPET, a PET scanner developed for use with small animals, can be used to assess metabolic activity in different regions of the conscious rodent brain using [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) as the tracer, and to monitor changes in neuronal activity. Limbic seizures result in dramatically elevated metabolic activity in the hippocampus, whereas vibrissal stimulation results in more modest increases in FDG uptake in the contralateral neocortex. We also show that microPET can be used to study lesion-induced plasticity of the brain. Cerebral hemidecortication resulted in diminished relative glucose metabolism in the neostriatum and thalamus ipsilateral to the lesion, with subsequent, significant recovery of metabolic function. These studies demonstrate that microPET can be used for serial assessment of metabolic function of individual, awake rats with a minimal degree of invasiveness, and therefore, has the potential for use in the study of brain disorders and repair.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oligodendrocyte-specific protein (OSP/claudin-11) is a major component of CNS myelin and has been recently added to the claudin family of tight junction proteins. In this study, the developmental expression of OSP/claudin-11 was determined using in situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry (IH), and Western blot analysis. OSP/claudin-11 mRNA was expressed in a bimodal fashion. During prenatal development, OSP/claudin-11 mRNA was abundant in developing meninges, in areas adjacent to cartilage, and in mesoderm. In postnatal animals, OSP/claudin-11 was expressed primarily in developing oligodendrocytes and to a lesser extent, in testes. Double-labeled IH using O2-A progenitor cells revealed that OSP/claudin-11 expression occurs from the early progenitor stage and continues in mature oligodendrocytes. Electron microscopic IH localized OSP/claudin-11 to laminar myelin in the adult CNS. Western blot analysis of OSP/claudin-11 in developing brain revealed the expression of two separate transcripts that were developmentally regulated. These data demonstrate that OSP/claudin-11 expression is highly regulated during development and, therefore, may play an important role in growth and differentiation of oligodendrocytes and other cells outside the CNS.
Journal of Neuroscience Research 06/2000; 60(3):284-90. · 2.97 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Identification of the genes that are differentially expressed in brain tumor cells but not in normal brain cells is important for understanding the molecular basis of these neurological cancers and for defining possible targets for therapeutic intervention. In an effort to discover potentially antigenic proteins that may be involved in the malignant transformation and progression of human glioblastomas, a novel antibody-based approach was developed to identify and isolate gene products that are expressed in brain tumors versus normal brain tissue. Using this method, whereby tumor-specific antibodies were isolated and used to screen a glioblastoma cDNA expression library, 28 gene products were identified. Nine of these clones had homology to known gene products, and 19 were novel. The expression of these genes in multiple different human gliomas was then evaluated by cDNA microarray hybridization. One of the isolated clones had consistently higher levels of expression (3-30-fold) in brain tumors compared with normal brain. Northern blot analysis and in situ hybridization confirmed this differential overexpression. cDNA sequence analysis revealed that this gene was identical to a relatively new class of growth regulators known as granulins, which have tertiary structures resembling the epidermal growth factor-like proteins. The 2.1-kb granulin mRNA was expressed predominantly in glial tumors, with lower levels in spleen, kidney, and testes, whereas expression was not detected in non-tumor brain tissues. Functional assays using [3H]thymidine incorporation indicated that granulin may be a glial mitogen, as addition of synthetic granulin peptide to primary rat astrocytes and three different early-passage human glioblastoma cultures increased cell proliferation in vitro, whereas increasing concentrations of granulin antibody inhibited cell growth in a dose-dependent manner. The differential expression pattern, tissue distribution, and implication of this glioma-associated molecule in growth regulation suggest a potentially important role for granulin in the pathogenesis and/or malignant progression of primary brain neoplasms.
Cancer Research 04/2000; 60(5):1353-60. · 8.65 Impact Factor