[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, is a commonly used model organism for neurodegenerative diseases. Its major advantages include a short lifespan and its susceptibility to manipulation using sophisticated genetic techniques. Here, we report the systematic comparison of fly models of two polyglutamine (polyQ) diseases. We induced expression of the normal and mutant forms of full-length Ataxin-1 and Huntingtin exon 1 in cholinergic, dopaminergic, and motor neurons, and glial cells using cell type-specific drivers. We systematically analyzed their effects based on multiple phenotypes: eclosion rate, lifespan, motor performance, and circadian rhythms of spontaneous activity. This systematic assay system enabled us to quantitatively evaluate and compare the functional disabilities of different genotypes. The results suggest different effects of Ataxin-1 and Huntingtin on specific types of neural cells during development and in adulthood. In addition, we confirmed the therapeutic effects of LiCl and butyrate using representative models. These results support the usefulness of this assay system for screening candidate chemical compounds that modify the pathologies of polyQ diseases.
PLoS ONE 12/2014; 9(12):e116567. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DNA damage repair is implicated in neurodegenerative diseases; however, the relative contributions of various DNA repair systems to the pathology of these diseases have not been investigated systematically. In this study, we performed a systematic in vivo screen of all available Drosophila melanogaster homolog DNA repair genes, and we tested the effect of their overexpression on lifespan and developmental viability in Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 1 (SCA1) Drosophila models expressing human mutant Ataxin-1 (Atxn1). We identified genes previously unknown to be involved in CAG-/polyQ-related pathogenesis that function in multiple DNA damage repair systems. Beyond the significance of each repair system, systems biology analyses unraveled the core networks connecting positive genes in the gene screen that could contribute to SCA1 pathology. In particular, RpA1, which had the largest effect on lifespan in the SCA1 fly model, was located at the hub position linked to such core repair systems, including homologous recombination (HR). We revealed that Atxn1 actually interacted with RpA1 and its essential partners BRCA1/2. Furthermore, mutant but not normal Atxn1 impaired the dynamics of RpA1 in the nucleus after DNA damage. Uptake of BrdU by Purkinje cells was observed in mutant Atxn1 knock-in mice, suggesting their abnormal entry to the S-phase. In addition, chemical and genetic inhibitions of Chk1 elongated lifespan and recovered eye degeneration. Collectively, we elucidated core networks for DNA damage repair in SCA1 that might include the aberrant usage of HR.
Human Molecular Genetics 10/2013; · 6.68 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is hypothesized that a common underlying mechanism links multiple neurodegenerative disorders. Here we show that transitional endoplasmic reticulum ATPase (TERA)/ valosin-containing protein (VCP)/p97 directly binds to multiple polyglutamine disease proteins (huntingtin, ataxin-1, ataxin-7 and androgen receptor) via polyglutamine sequence. Although normal and mutant polyglutamine proteins interact with TERA/VCP/p97, only mutant proteins affect dynamism of TERA/VCP/p97. Among multiple functions of TERA/VCP/p97, we reveal that functional defect of TERA/VCP/p97 in DNA double-stranded break repair is critical for the pathology of neurons in which TERA/VCP/p97 is located dominantly in the nucleus in vivo. Mutant polyglutamine proteins impair accumulation of TERA/VCP/p97 and interaction of related double-stranded break repair proteins, finally causing the increase of unrepaired double-stranded break. Consistently, the recovery of lifespan in polyglutamine disease fly models by TERA/VCP/p97 corresponds well to the improvement of double-stranded break in neurons. Taken together, our results provide a novel common pathomechanism in multiple polyglutamine diseases that is mediated by DNA repair function of TERA/VCP/p97.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is hypothesized that a common underlying mechanism links multiple neurodegenerative disorders. Here we show that transitional endoplasmic reticulum ATPase (TERA)/valosin-containing protein (VCP)/p97 directly binds to multiple polyglutamine disease proteins (huntingtin, ataxin-1, ataxin-7 and androgen receptor) via polyglutamine sequence. Although normal and mutant polyglutamine proteins interact with TERA/VCP/p97, only mutant proteins affect dynamism of TERA/VCP/p97. Among multiple functions of TERA/VCP/p97, we reveal that functional defect of TERA/VCP/p97 in DNA double-stranded break repair is critical for the pathology of neurons in which TERA/VCP/p97 is located dominantly in the nucleus in vivo. Mutant polyglutamine proteins impair accumulation of TERA/VCP/p97 and interaction of related double-stranded break repair proteins, finally causing the increase of unrepaired double-stranded break. Consistently, the recovery of lifespan in polyglutamine disease fly models by TERA/VCP/p97 corresponds well to the improvement of double-stranded break in neurons. Taken together, our results provide a novel common pathomechanism in multiple polyglutamine diseases that is mediated by DNA repair function of TERA/VCP/p97.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A number of neurological diseases are caused by mutations of RNA metabolism-related genes. A complicating issue is that whether under- or overfunction of such genes is responsible for the phenotype. Polyglutamine tract binding protein-1, a causative gene for X-linked mental retardation, is also involved in RNA metabolism, and both mutation and duplication of the gene were reported in human patients. In this study, we first report a novel phenotype of dPQBP1 (drosophila homolog of Polyglutamine tract binding protein-1)-mutant flies, lifespan shortening. We next address the gene dose-phenotype relationship in lifespan shortening and in learning disability, a previously described phenotype. The 2 phenotypes are rescued by dPQBP1 but in different dose-phenotype relationships. Either insufficient or excessive expression of dPQBP1 does not recover lifespan, while excessive expression recovers learning ability. We finally address the mechanism of lifespan shortening. Tissue-specific expression of dPQBP1-RNA interference construct reveals both neural and nonneural dPQBP1 contribute to the lifespan, while the latter has a dominant effect. Gene expression profiling suggested retinophilin/MORN repeat containing 4, a gene promoting axonal degeneration, to contribute to lifespan shortening by neural dPQBP1. Systems biology analysis of the gene expression profiles revealed indirect influence of dPQBP1 on insulin-like growth factor 1, insulin receptor, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptorα/γ signaling pathways in nonneural tissues. Collectively, given that dPQBP1 affects multiple pathways in different dose-dependent and tissue-specific manners, dPQBP1 at a restricted expression level is needed for the best longevity.
Neurobiology of aging 08/2012; · 5.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DNA damage accumulates in genome DNA during the long life of neurons, thus DNA damage repair is indispensable to keep normal functions of neurons. We previously reported that Ku70, a critical molecule for DNA double strand break (DSB) repair, is involved in the pathology of Huntington's disease (HD). Mutant huntingtin (Htt) impaired Ku70 function via direct interaction, and Ku70 supplementation recovered phenotypes of a mouse HD model. In this study, we generate multiple Drosophila HD models that express mutant huntingtin (Htt) in eye or motor neuron by different drivers and show various phenotypes. In such fly models, Ku70 co-expression recovers lifespan, locomotive activity and eye degeneration. In contrast, Ku70 reduction by heterozygous null mutation or siRNA-mediated knock down accelerates lifespan shortening and locomotion disability. These results collectively support that Ku70 is a critical mediator of the HD pathology and a candidate therapeutic target in HD.
PLoS ONE 11/2011; 6(11):e27408. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Polyglutamine tract-binding protein-1 (PQBP1) is involved in the transcription-splicing coupling, and its mutations cause a group of human mental retardation syndromes. We generated a fly model in which the Drosophila homolog of PQBP1 (dPQBP1) is repressed by insertion of piggyBac. In classical odor conditioning, learning acquisition was significantly impaired in homozygous piggyBac-inserted flies, whereas the following memory retention was completely normal. Mushroom bodies (MBs) and antennal lobes were morphologically normal in dPQBP1-mutant flies. Projection neurons (PNs) were not reduced in number and their fiber connections were not changed, whereas gene expressions including NMDA receptor subunit 1 (NR1) were decreased in PNs. Targeted double-stranded RNA-mediated silencing of dPQBP1 in PNs, but not in MBs, similarly disrupted learning acquisition. NR1 overexpression in PNs rescued the learning disturbance of dPQBP1 mutants. HDAC (histone deacetylase) inhibitors, SAHA (suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid) and PBA (phenylbutyrate), that upregulated NR1 partially rescued the learning disturbance. Collectively, these findings identify dPQBP1 as a novel gene regulating learning acquisition at PNs.
Journal of Neuroscience 10/2010; 30(42):14091-101. · 6.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Non-cell-autonomous effect of mutant proteins expressed in glia has been implicated in several neurodegenerative disorders, whereas molecules mediating the toxicity are currently not known. We identified a novel molecule named multiple alpha-helix protein located at ER (Maxer) downregulated by mutant ataxin-1 (Atx1) in Bergmann glia. Maxer is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane protein interacting with CDK5RAP3. Maxer anchors CDK5RAP3 to the ER and inhibits its function of Cyclin D1 transcription repression in the nucleus. The loss of Maxer eventually induces cell accumulation at G1 phase. It was also shown that mutant Atx1 represses Maxer and inhibits proliferation of Bergmann glia in vitro. Consistently, Bergmann glia are reduced in the cerebellum of mutant Atx1 knockin mice before onset. Glutamate-aspartate transporter reduction in Bergmann glia by mutant Atx1 and vulnerability of Purkinje cell to glutamate are both strengthened by Maxer knockdown in Bergmann glia, whereas Maxer overexpression rescues them. Collectively, these results suggest that the reduction of Maxer mediates functional deficiency of Bergmann glia, and might contribute to the non-cell-autonomous pathology of SCA1.
The EMBO Journal 07/2010; 29(14):2446-60. · 10.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DNA repair defends against naturally occurring or disease-associated DNA damage during the long lifespan of neurons and is implicated in polyglutamine disease pathology. In this study, we report that mutant huntingtin (Htt) expression in neurons causes double-strand breaks (DSBs) of genomic DNA, and Htt further promotes DSBs by impairing DNA repair. We identify Ku70, a component of the DNA damage repair complex, as a mediator of the DNA repair dysfunction in mutant Htt-expressing neurons. Mutant Htt interacts with Ku70, impairs DNA-dependent protein kinase function in nonhomologous end joining, and consequently increases DSB accumulation. Expression of exogenous Ku70 rescues abnormal behavior and pathological phenotypes in the R6/2 mouse model of Huntington's disease (HD). These results collectively suggest that Ku70 is a critical regulator of DNA damage in HD pathology.
The Journal of Cell Biology 05/2010; 189(3):425-43. · 9.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In several neurodegenerative disorders, toxic effects of glial cells on neurons are implicated. However the generality of the non-cell autonomous pathologies derived from glial cells has not been established, and the specificity among different neurodegenerative disorders remains unknown.
We newly generated Drosophila models expressing human mutant huntingtin (hHtt103Q) or ataxin-1 (hAtx1-82Q) in the glial cell lineage at different stages of differentiation, and analyzed their morphological and behavioral phenotypes. To express hHtt103Q and hAtx1-82Q, we used 2 different Gal4 drivers, gcm-Gal4 and repo-Gal4. Gcm-Gal4 is known to be a neuroglioblast/glioblast-specific driver whose effect is limited to development. Repo-Gal4 is known to be a pan-glial driver and the expression starts at glioblasts and continues after terminal differentiation. Gcm-Gal4-induced hHtt103Q was more toxic than repo-Gal4-induced hHtt103Q from the aspects of development, locomotive activity and survival of flies. When hAtx1-82Q was expressed by gcm- or repo-Gal4 driver, no fly became adult. Interestingly, the head and brain sizes were markedly reduced in a part of pupae expressing hAtx1-82Q under the control of gcm-Gal4, and these pupae showed extreme destruction of the brain structure. The other pupae expressing hAtx1-82Q also showed brain shrinkage and abnormal connections of neurons. These results suggested that expression of polyQ proteins in neuroglioblasts provided a remarkable effect on the developmental and adult brains, and that glial cell lineage expression of hAtx1-82Q was more toxic than that of hHtt103Q in our assays.
All these studies suggested that the non-cell autonomous effect of glial cells might be a common pathology shared by multiple neurodegenerative disorders. In addition, the fly models would be available for analyzing molecular pathologies and developing novel therapeutics against the non-cell autonomous polyQ pathology. In conclusion, our novel fly models have extended the non-cell autonomous pathology hypothesis as well as the developmental effect hypothesis to multiple polyQ diseases. The two pathologies might be generally shared in neurodegeneration.
PLoS ONE 02/2009; 4(1):e4262. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The subcellular localization of membrane and secreted proteins is finely and dynamically regulated through intracellular vesicular trafficking for permitting various biological processes. Drosophila Amyloid precursor protein like (APPL) and Hikaru genki (HIG) are examples of proteins that show differential subcellular localization among several developmental stages.
During the study of the localization mechanisms of APPL and HIG, we isolated a novel mutant of the gene, CG1973, which we named yata. This molecule interacted genetically with Appl and is structurally similar to mouse NTKL/SCYL1, whose mutation was reported to cause neurodegeneration. yata null mutants showed phenotypes that included developmental abnormalities, progressive eye vacuolization, brain volume reduction, and lifespan shortening. Exogenous expression of Appl or hig in neurons partially rescued the mutant phenotypes of yata. Conversely, the phenotypes were exacerbated in double null mutants for yata and Appl. We also examined the subcellular localization of endogenous APPL and exogenously pulse-induced APPL tagged with FLAG by immunostaining the pupal brain and larval motor neurons in yata mutants. Our data revealed that yata mutants showed impaired subcellular localization of APPL. Finally, yata mutant pupal brains occasionally showed aberrant accumulation of Sec23p, a component of the COPII coat of secretory vesicles traveling from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to the Golgi.
We identified a novel gene, yata, which is essential for the normal development and survival of tissues. Loss of yata resulted in the progressive deterioration of the nervous system and premature lethality. Our genetic data showed a functional relationship between yata and Appl. As a candidate mechanism of the abnormalities, we found that yata regulates the subcellular localization of APPL and possibly other proteins.
PLoS ONE 02/2009; 4(2):e4466. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The molecular machinery governing glutamatergic-GABAergic neuronal subtype specification is unclear. Here we describe a cerebellar mutant, cerebelless, which lacks the entire cerebellar cortex in adults. The primary defect of the mutant brains was a specific inhibition of GABAergic neuron production from the cerebellar ventricular zone (VZ), resulting in secondary and complete loss of external germinal layer, pontine, and olivary nuclei during development. We identified the responsible gene, Ptf1a, whose expression was lost in the cerebellar VZ but was maintained in the pancreas in cerebelless. Lineage tracing revealed that two types of neural precursors exist in the cerebellar VZ: Ptf1a-expressing and -nonexpressing precursors, which generate GABAergic and glutamatergic neurons, respectively. Introduction of Ptf1a into glutamatergic neuron precursors in the dorsal telencephalon generated GABAergic neurons with representative morphological and migratory features. Our results suggest that Ptf1a is involved in driving neural precursors to differentiate into GABAergic neurons in the cerebellum.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rho-family GTPases play key roles in regulating cytoskeletal reorganization, contributing to many aspects of nervous system development. Their activities are known to be regulated by guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs), in response to various extracellular cues. P-Rex1, a GEF for Rac, has been mainly investigated in neutrophils, in which this molecule contributes to reactive oxygen species formation. However, its role in the nervous system is essentially unknown. Here we describe the expression profile and a physiological function of P-Rex1 in nervous system development. In situ hybridization revealed that P-Rex1 is dynamically expressed in a variety of cells in the developing mouse brain, including some cortical and DRG neurons. In migrating neurons in the intermediate zone, P-Rex1 protein was found to localize in the leading process and adjacent cytoplasmic region. When transfected in pheochromocytoma PC12 cells, P-Rex1 can be activated by NGF, causing an increase in GTP-bound Rac1 and cell motility. Deletion analyses suggested roles for distinct domains of this molecule. Experiments using a P-Rex1 mutant lacking the Dbl-homology domain, a dominant-negative-like form, and small interfering RNA showed that endogenous P-Rex1 was involved in cell migration of PC12 cells and primary cultured neurons from the embryonic day 14 cerebral cortices, induced by extracellular stimuli (NGF, BDNF, and epidermal growth factor). Furthermore, in utero electroporation of the mutant protein into the embryonic cerebral cortex perturbed radial neuronal migration. These findings suggest that P-Rex1, which is expressed in a variety of cell types, is activated by extracellular cues such as neurotrophins and contributes to neuronal migration in the developing nervous system.
Journal of Neuroscience 05/2005; 25(17):4406-19. · 6.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dbl-family guanine nucleotide exchange factors (Dbl-GEFs) act as activators of Rho-like small G proteins such as Rac1, Cdc42 and RhoA. Recently, some GEFs have been suggested to play important roles in the development of the nervous system. Here, we report a comprehensive expression profile analysis of 20 Dbl-GEFs that have yet to be well investigated. Northern analyses of murine mRNAs from brains of E13, E17, P7 and adult mice revealed expression of 18 out of 20 GEFs in some or all stages. In addition, we found that three human GEFs were highly expressed in the brain. Examination of the spatial expression patterns of five GEFs in embryos or neonatal brain by in situ hybridization revealed distinct patterns for each GEF. Our study reveals the dynamic and coordinated expression profiles of the Dbl-GEFs and provides a basic framework for understanding the function of GEFs in neural development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: STEF (Sif- and Tiam1-like exchange factor), a guanine nucleotide exchange factor, was identified as a candidate molecule in regulation of neural development. The STEF gene product specifically activates Rac1, a member of the Rho-like small G proteins. Here we report the detailed examination of the expression profile of the stef gene in the mouse brain. In situ hybridization revealed that the stef gene was expressed in a stage- and region-specific manner in the mouse brain; it was expressed during certain developmental stages in the cerebral cortex, the olfactory bulb, the rostral migratory pathway (RMP) and the hippocampus. In the cerebral cortex, stef transcripts were detected in migrating cells in the intermediate zone as well as neurons in the cortical plate. While the expression in the cerebral cortex was reduced at adult stages, considerable expression was found to be maintained in other regions (RMP, olfactory bulb, hippocampal formation), which are the tissues where neurons continue to undergo morphological remodeling including cellular migration, neurite extension and synapse formation even in adults. Thus, stef gene expression appears to correspond to neuronal morphological changes.
Mechanisms of Development 05/2002; 113(1):65-8. · 2.24 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A cell-adhesion molecule fasciclin 2 (FAS2), which is required for synaptic growth and still life (SIF), an activator of RAC, were found to localize in the surrounding region of the active zone, defining the periactive zone in Drosophila neuromuscular synapses. BetaPS integrin and discs large (DLG), both involved in synaptic development, also decorated the zone. However, shibire (SHI), the Drosophila dynamin that regulates endocytosis, was found in the distinct region. Mutant analyses showed that sif genetically interacted with Fas2 in synaptic growth and that the proper localization of SIF required FAS2, suggesting that they are components in related signaling pathways that locally function in the periactive zones. We propose that neurotransmission and synaptic growth are primarily regulated in segregated subcellular spaces, active zones and periactive zones, respectively.
Development 11/2000; 127(19):4157-68. · 6.27 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We identified the Drosophila trio gene, which encodes a Dbl family protein carrying two Dbl homology (DH) domains, each of which potentially activates Rho family GTPases. Trio was distributed along axons in the central nervous system (CNS) of embryos and was strongly expressed in subsets of brain regions, including the mushroom body (MB). Loss-of-function trio mutations resulted in the misdirection or stall of axons in embryos and also caused malformation of the MB. The MB phenotypes were attributed to alteration in the intrinsic nature of neurites, as revealed by clonal analyses. Thus, Trio is essential in order for neurites to faithfully extend on the correct pathways. In addition, the localization of Trio in the adult brain suggests its postdevelopmental role in neurite terminals.