[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Kv10.1 (Eag1), member of the Kv10 family of voltage-gated potassium channels, is preferentially expressed in adult brain. The aim of the present study was to unravel the functional role of Kv10.1 in the brain by generating knockout mice, where the voltage sensor and pore region of Kv10.1 were removed to render non-functional proteins through deletion of exon 7 of the KCNH1 gene using the '3 Lox P strategy'. Kv10.1-deficient mice show no obvious alterations during embryogenesis and develop normally to adulthood; cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum appear anatomically normal. Other tests, including general health screen, sensorimotor functioning and gating, anxiety, social behaviour, learning and memory did not show any functional aberrations in Kv10.1 null mice. Kv10.1 null mice display mild hyperactivity and longer-lasting haloperidol-induced catalepsy, but there was no difference between genotypes in amphetamine sensitization and withdrawal, reactivity to apomorphine and haloperidol in the prepulse inhibition tests or to antidepressants in the haloperidol-induced catalepsy. Furthermore, electrical properties of Kv10.1 in cerebellar Purkinje cells did not show any difference between genotypes. Bearing in mind that Kv10.1 is overexpressed in over 70% of all human tumours and that its inhibition leads to a reduced tumour cell proliferation, the fact that deletion of Kv10.1 does not show a marked phenotype is a prerequisite for utilizing Kv10.1 blocking and/or reduction techniques, such as siRNA, to treat cancer.
Human Molecular Genetics 02/2013; · 7.69 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Establishment of long-range fiber tracts by neocortical projection neurons is fundamental for higher brain functions. The molecular control of axon tract formation, however, is still poorly understood. Here, we have identified basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors Neurod2 and Neurod6 as key regulators of fasciculation and targeted axogenesis in the mouse neocortex. In Neurod2/6 double-mutant mice, callosal axons lack expression of the cell adhesion molecule Contactin2, defasciculate in the subventricular zone, and fail to grow toward the midline without forming Probst bundles. Instead, mutant axons overexpress Robo1 and follow random trajectories into the ipsilateral cortex. In contrast to long-range axogenesis, generation and maintenance of pyramidal neurons and initial axon outgrowth are grossly normal, suggesting that these processes are under distinct transcriptional control. Our findings define a new stage in corpus callosum development and demonstrate that neocortical projection neurons require transcriptional specification by neuronal bHLH proteins to execute an intrinsic program of remote connectivity.
Journal of Neuroscience 01/2013; 33(2):641-51. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neocortical neurons have highly branched dendritic trees that are essential for their function. Indeed, defects in dendritic arborization are associated with human neurodevelopmental disorders. The molecular mechanisms regulating dendritic arbor complexity, however, are still poorly understood. Here, we uncover the molecular basis for the regulation of dendritic branching during cortical development. We show that during development, dendritic branching requires post-mitotic suppression of the RhoGTPase Cdc42. By generating genetically modified mice, we demonstrate that this is catalyzed in vivo by the novel Cdc42-GAP NOMA-GAP. Loss of NOMA-GAP leads to decreased neocortical volume, associated specifically with profound oversimplification of cortical dendritic arborization and hyperactivation of Cdc42. Remarkably, dendritic complexity and cortical thickness can be partially restored by genetic reduction of post-mitotic Cdc42 levels. Furthermore, we identify the actin regulator cofilin as a key regulator of dendritic complexity in vivo. Cofilin activation during late cortical development depends on NOMA-GAP expression and subsequent inhibition of Cdc42. Strikingly, in utero expression of active cofilin is sufficient to restore postnatal dendritic complexity in NOMA-GAP-deficient animals. Our findings define a novel cell-intrinsic mechanism to regulate dendritic branching and thus neuronal complexity in the cerebral cortex.
Genes & development 07/2012; 26(15):1743-57. · 12.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The rostral migratory stream (RMS) is composed of neuroblasts migrating from the striatal SVZ to the olfactory bulb through a meshwork of GFAP- expressing astrocytes called the glial tube. So far, the origin of the glial tube astrocytes was attributed to differentiation of Type-B stem cells of the striatal SVZ. The true identity of these cells (Type-B stem cells versus immature/mature astrocytes) is also unclear. By analyzing a neocortex-specific conditional knockout of the transcriptional repressor Sip1 (Smad-interacting protein 1), we have now identified a novel pool of progenitors located within the dorsal SVZ (dSVZ) at early postnatal stages that differentiate into GFAP+ cells of the glial tube. We show that Sip1, expressed in postmitotic cortical neurons, controls the size of this dorsal progenitor pool possibly through cell-extrinsic mechanisms. Lack of Sip1 in the neocortex causes an expansion of this population leading to an increased production of GFAP+ astrocytes/Type-B stem cells in the glial tube, and a denser intercalation of these cells with Dcx+ neuroblasts of the RMS, the consequence of which is not yet clear. Neocortex-specific Sip1 deletion also led to an expansion of Dcx+ and Tbr2+ progenitor populations in the dSVZ. We show that the dSVZ progenitors (possibly remnants of embryonic radial glia) differentiate exclusively into BLBP+ cells which migrate into the RMS and mature into GFAP+ astrocytes/Type-B stem cells at around two weeks of postnatal development. In summary, our work shows that Sip1 controls the generation of GFAP+ cells of the RMS by regulating the size of a novel progenitor pool located in the postnatal dSVZ.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: First insights into the molecular programs orchestrating the progression from neural stem cells to cortical projection neurons are emerging. Loss of the transcriptional regulator Ski has been linked to the human 1p36 deletion syndrome, which includes central nervous system defects. Here, we report critical roles for Ski in the maintenance of the neural stem cell pool and the specification of callosal neurons. Ski-deficient callosal neurons lose their identity and ectopically express the transcription factor Ctip2. The misspecified callosal neurons largely fail to form the corpus callosum and instead redirect their axons toward subcortical targets. We identify the chromatin-remodeling factor Satb2 as a partner of Ski, and show that both proteins are required for transcriptional repression of Ctip2 in callosal neurons. We propose a model in which Satb2 recruits Ski to the Ctip2 locus, and Ski attracts histone deacetylases, thereby enabling the formation of a functional nucleosome remodeling and deacetylase repressor complex. Our findings establish a central role for Ski-Satb2 interactions in regulating transcriptional mechanisms of callosal neuron specification.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2012; 109(9):3546-51. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transcription factor Pax6 plays an essential role in the expression of other transcription factors, cell adhesion molecules and is crucial for neurogenesis in the developing forebrain. Analysis of gene expression profiles through microarray experiments in Pax6 mutants allowed us to focus on CRALBP, one of the many genes that were downregulated.
We studied the expression of CRALBP in wt and Pax6-/- mutants through in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. ChIP assay and luciferase reporter assay were performed to show the regulatory role of Pax6 on CRALBP promoter.
RNA and protein expression data show that CRALBP expression was completely abolished in Pax6 mutants. In vivo binding assays and in vitro reporter assays indicate that Pax6 not only binds the promoter of CRALBP but also positively regulates protein expression.
This work provides evidence supporting that CRALBP is a direct downstream target of Pax6. However, the role of CRALBP in the cortex is yet to be elucidated.
Pax6 is a marker expressed on neural stem cells and progenitor cells. Understanding Pax6-dependent gene regulatory mechanisms unravels signaling cascades that occur early during development.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 02/2012; 1820(2):151-6. · 4.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Modularity is a key mechanism bridging development and evolution and is fundamental to evolvability. Herein, we investigate modularity of the Vertebrate jaw with the aim of understanding mechanisms of its morphological evolution. Conservation of the basic structural bauplan of Vertebrate jaws led to a Hinge and Caps model, in which polarity in the patterning system of developing jaws predicts modularity. We have tested the hypothesis that the Satb2+ cell population delineates a developmental module within the mandibular jaw. Satb2 is expressed in the mesenchyme of the jaw primordia that gives rise to distal elements of both the upper and lower jaws. Loss of Satb2 specifically affects structural elements of the distal (incisor) domain, reflecting the integration of these elements as well as their independence from other mandibular domains. Reducing Satb2 dosage leads to an increase in variation in mandibular length, providing insight into the developmental potential to generate variation. Inter-taxa comparisons reveal that the Satb2 domain is conserved within gnathostomes. We complement previous loss of function studies in mice with gene knock-down experiments in Xenopus, providing evidence for functional conservation of Satb2 in regulating size. Finally, we present evidence that the relative size of the amniote mandibular Satb2+ domain varies in relation to epithelial Fgf8 expression, suggesting a mechanism for evolutionary change in this domain. Taken together, our data support the Hinge and Caps model and provide evidence that Satb2 regulates coordinated distal jaw modules that are subject to evolutionary modification by signals emanating from the Hinge.
Evolution & Development 11/2011; 13(6):549-64. · 3.16 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Netrin-1 induces repulsive axon guidance by binding to the mammalian Unc5 receptor family (Unc5A-Unc5D). Mouse genetic analysis of selected members of the Unc5 family, however, revealed essential functions independent of Netrin-1, suggesting the presence of other ligands. Unc5B was recently shown to bind fibronectin and leucine-rich transmembrane protein-3 (FLRT3), although the relevance of this interaction for nervous system development remained unclear. Here, we show that the related Unc5D receptor binds specifically to another FLRT protein, FLRT2. During development, FLRT2/3 ectodomains (ECDs) are shed from neurons and act as repulsive guidance molecules for axons and somata of Unc5-positive neurons. In the developing mammalian neocortex, Unc5D is expressed by neurons in the subventricular zone (SVZ), which display delayed migration to the FLRT2-expressing cortical plate (CP). Deletion of either FLRT2 or Unc5D causes a subset of SVZ-derived neurons to prematurely migrate towards the CP, whereas overexpression of Unc5D has opposite effects. Hence, the shed FLRT2 and FLRT3 ECDs represent a novel family of chemorepellents for Unc5-positive neurons and FLRT2/Unc5D signalling modulates cortical neuron migration.
The EMBO Journal 06/2011; 30(14):2920-33. · 9.82 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neural stem cells (NSCs) generate new granule cells throughout life in the mammalian hippocampus. Canonical Wnt signaling regulates the differentiation of NSCs towards the neuronal lineage. Here we identified the prospero-related homeodomain transcription factor Prox1 as a target of β-catenin-TCF/LEF signaling in vitro and in vivo. Prox1 overexpression enhanced neuronal differentiation whereas shRNA-mediated knockdown of Prox1 impaired the generation of neurons in vitro and within the hippocampal niche. In contrast, Prox1 was not required for survival of adult-generated granule cells after they had matured, suggesting a role for Prox1 in initial granule cell differentiation but not in the maintenance of mature granule cells. The data presented here characterize a molecular pathway from Wnt signaling to a transcriptional target leading to granule cell differentiation within the adult brain and identify a stage-specific function for Prox1 in the process of adult neurogenesis.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2011; 108(14):5807-12. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Short interspersed repetitive elements (SINEs) are highly repeated sequences that account for a significant proportion of many eukaryotic genomes and are usually considered "junk DNA". However, we previously discovered that many AmnSINE1 loci are evolutionarily conserved across mammalian genomes, suggesting that they may have acquired significant functions involved in controlling mammalian-specific traits. Notably, we identified the AS021 SINE locus, located 390 kbp upstream of Satb2. Using transgenic mice, we showed that this SINE displays specific enhancer activity in the developing cerebral cortex. The transcription factor Satb2 is expressed by cortical neurons extending axons through the corpus callosum and is a determinant of callosal versus subcortical projection. Mouse mutants reveal a crucial function for Sabt2 in corpus callosum formation. In this study, we compared the enhancer activity of the AS021 locus with Satb2 expression during telencephalic development in the mouse. First, we showed that the AS021 enhancer is specifically activated in early-born Satb2(+) neurons. Second, we demonstrated that the activity of the AS021 enhancer recapitulates the expression of Satb2 at later embryonic and postnatal stages in deep-layer but not superficial-layer neurons, suggesting the possibility that the expression of Satb2 in these two subpopulations of cortical neurons is under genetically distinct transcriptional control. Third, we showed that the AS021 enhancer is activated in neurons projecting through the corpus callosum, as described for Satb2(+) neurons. Notably, AS021 drives specific expression in axons crossing through the ventral (TAG1(-)/NPY(+)) portion of the corpus callosum, confirming that it is active in a subpopulation of callosal neurons. These data suggest that exaptation of the AS021 SINE locus might be involved in enhancement of Satb2 expression, leading to the establishment of interhemispheric communication via the corpus callosum, a eutherian-specific brain structure.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(12):e28497. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Normal patterning and morphogenesis of the complex skeletal structures of the skull requires an exquisite, reciprocal cross-talk between the embryonic cephalic epithelia and mesenchyme. The mesenchyme associated with the jaws and the optic and olfactory capsules is derived from a Hox-negative cranial neural crest (CNC) population that acts much as an equivalence group in its interactions with specific local cephalic epithelial signals. Craniofacial pattern and morphogenesis is therefore controlled in large part through the regulation of these local cephalic epithelial signals. Here, we demonstrate that Pax6 is essential to the formation and maturation of the complex cephalic ectodermal patterning centers that govern the development and morphogenesis of the upper jaws and associated nasal capsules. Previous examinations of the craniofacial skeletal defects associated with Pax6 mutations have suggested that they arise from an optic-associated blockage in the migration of a specific subpopulation of midbrain CNC to the lateral frontonasal processes. We have addressed an alternative explanation for the craniofacial skeletal defects. We show that in Pax6(SeyN/SeyN) mutants regional CNC is present by E9.25 while there is already specific disruption in the early ontogenetic elaboration of cephalic ectodermal expression, associated with the nascent lambdoidal junction, of secreted signaling factors (including Fgf8 and Bmp4) and transcription factors (including Six1 and Dlx5) essential for upper jaw and/or nasal capsular development. Pax6 therefore regulates craniofacial form, at stages when CNC has just arrived in the frontonasal region, through its control of surface cephalic ectodermal competence to form an essential craniofacial patterning center.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coordinated transfer of information between the brain hemispheres is essential for function and occurs via three axonal commissures in the telencephalon: the corpus callosum (CC), hippocampal commissure (HC), and anterior commissure (AC). Commissural malformations occur in over 50 human congenital syndromes causing mild to severe cognitive impairment. Disruption of multiple commissures in some syndromes suggests that common mechanisms may underpin their development. Diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging revealed that forebrain commissures crossed the midline in a highly specific manner within an oblique plane of tissue, referred to as the commissural plate. This specific anatomical positioning suggests that correct patterning of the commissural plate may influence forebrain commissure formation. No analysis of the molecular specification of the commissural plate has been performed in any species; therefore, we utilized specific transcription factor markers to delineate the commissural plate and identify its various subdomains. We found that the mouse commissural plate consists of four domains and tested the hypothesis that disruption of these domains might affect commissure formation. Disruption of the dorsal domains occurred in strains with commissural defects such as Emx2 and Nfia knockout mice but commissural plate patterning was normal in other acallosal strains such as Satb2(-/-). Finally, we demonstrate an essential role for the morphogen Fgf8 in establishing the commissural plate at later developmental stages. The results demonstrate that correct patterning of the commissural plate is an important mechanism in forebrain commissure formation.
The Journal of Comparative Neurology 09/2010; 518(18):3645-61. · 3.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Apoptosis of neurons in the maturing neocortex has been recorded in a wide variety of mammals, but very little is known about its effects on cortical differentiation. Recent research has implicated the RhoA GTPase subfamily in the control of apoptosis in the developing nervous system and in other tissue types. Rho GTPases are important components of the signaling pathways linking extracellular signals to the cytoskeleton. To investigate the role of the RhoA GTPase subfamily in neocortical apoptosis and differentiation, we have engineered a mouse line in which a dominant-negative RhoA mutant (N19-RhoA) is expressed from the Mapt locus, such that all neurons of the developing nervous system are expressing the N19-RhoA inhibitor. Postnatal expression of N19-RhoA led to no major changes in neocortical anatomy. Six layers of the neocortex developed and barrels (whisker-related neural modules) formed in layer IV. However, the density and absolute number of neurons in the somatosensory cortex increased by 12-26% compared with wild-type littermates. This was not explained by a change in the migration of neurons during the formation of cortical layers but rather by a large decrease in the amount of neuronal apoptosis at postnatal day 5, the developmental maximum of cortical apoptosis. In addition, overexpression of RhoA in cortical neurons was seen to cause high levels of apoptosis. These results demonstrate that RhoA-subfamily members play a major role in developmental apoptosis in postnatal neocortex of the mouse but that decreased apoptosis does not alter cortical cytoarchitecture and patterning.
Journal of Neuroscience 03/2010; 30(12):4221-31. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The fate of cortical progenitors, which progressively generate neurons and glial cells during development, is determined by temporally and spatially regulated signaling mechanisms. We found that the transcription factor Sip1 (Zfhx1b), which is produced at high levels in postmitotic neocortical neurons, regulates progenitor fate non-cell autonomously. Conditional deletion of Sip1 in young neurons induced premature production of upper-layer neurons at the expense of deep layers, precocious and increased generation of glial precursors, and enhanced postnatal astrocytogenesis. The premature upper-layer generation coincided with overexpression of the neurotrophin-3 (Ntf3) gene and upregulation of fibroblast growth factor 9 (Fgf9) gene expression preceded precocious gliogenesis. Exogenous application of Fgf9 to mouse cortical slices induced excessive generation of glial precursors in the germinal zone. Our data suggest that Sip1 restrains the production of signaling factors in postmitotic neurons that feed back to progenitors to regulate the timing of cell fate switch and the number of neurons and glial cells throughout corticogenesis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An important feature of the cerebral cortex is its layered organization, which is modulated in an area-specific manner. We found that the transcription factor AP2gamma regulates laminar fate in a region-specific manner. Deletion of AP2gamma (also known as Tcfap2c) during development resulted in a specific reduction of upper layer neurons in the occipital cortex, leading to impaired function and enhanced plasticity of the adult visual cortex. AP2gamma functions in apical progenitors, and its absence resulted in mis-specification of basal progenitors in the occipital cortex at the time at which upper layer neurons were generated. AP2gamma directly regulated the basal progenitor fate determinants Math3 (also known as Neurod4) and Tbr2, and its overexpression promoted the generation of layer II/III neurons in a time- and region-specific manner. Thus, AP2gamma acts as a regulator of basal progenitor fate, linking regional and laminar specification in the mouse developing cerebral cortex.