Quenten Schwarz

University College London, Londinium, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (32)132.21 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Neural crest cells (NCCs) are a transient embryonic cell type that give rise to a wide spectrum of derivatives, including neurons and glia of the sensory and autonomic nervous system, melanocytes and connective tissues in the head. Lineage-tracing and functional studies have shown that trunk NCCs migrate along two distinct paths that correlate with different developmental fates. Thus, NCCs migrating ventrally through the anterior somite form sympathetic and sensory ganglia, whereas NCCs migrating dorsolaterally form melanocytes. Although the mechanisms promoting migration along the dorsolateral path are well defined, the molecules providing positional identity to sympathetic and sensory-fated NCCs that migrate along the same ventral path are ill defined. Neuropilins (Nrp1 and Nrp2) are transmembrane glycoproteins that are essential for NCC migration. Nrp1 and Nrp2 knockout mice have disparate phenotypes, suggesting that these receptors may play a role in sorting NCCs biased towards sensory and sympathetic fates to appropriate locations.
    Neural Development 11/2014; 9(1):24. · 3.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although left-right asymmetries are common features of nervous systems, their developmental bases are largely unknown. In the zebrafish epithalamus, dorsal habenular neurons adopt medial (dHbm) and lateral (dHbl) subnuclear character at very different frequencies on the left and right sides. The left-sided parapineal promotes the elaboration of dHbl character in the left habenula, albeit by an unknown mechanism. Likewise, the genetic pathways acting within habenular neurons to control their asymmetric differentiated character are unknown.
    Current biology : CB. 09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: During brain development, neural progenitor cells proliferate and differentiate into neural precursors. These neural precursors migrate along the radial glial processes and localize at their final destination in the cortex. Numerous reports have revealed that 14-3-3 proteins are involved in many neuronal activities, although their functions in neurogenesis remain unclear. Here, using 14-3-3ε/ζ double knock-out mice, we found that 14-3-3 proteins are important for proliferation and differentiation of neural progenitor cells in the cortex, resulting in neuronal migration defects and seizures. 14-3-3 deficiency resulted in the increase of δ-catenin and the decrease of β-catenin and αN-catenin. 14-3-3 proteins regulated neuronal differentiation into neurons via direct interactions with phosphorylated δ-catenin to promote F-actin formation through a catenin/Rho GTPase/Limk1/cofilin signaling pathway. Conversely, neuronal migration defects seen in the double knock-out mice were restored by phosphomimic Ndel1 mutants, but not δ-catenin. Our findings provide new evidence that 14-3-3 proteins play important roles in neurogenesis and neuronal migration via the regulation of distinct signaling cascades.
    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 09/2014; 34(36):12168-81.
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    Sophie E Wiszniak, Quenten P Schwarz
    Neural Crest Cells: Evolution, Development and Disease, 1 edited by Paul Trainor, 01/2014: chapter 15: pages 313-333; Academic Press., ISBN: 9780124017306
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    Miguel Tillo, Quenten Schwarz, Christiana Ruhrberg
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    ABSTRACT: Embryonic neurons are born in the ventricular zone of the brain, but subsequently migrate to new destinations to reach appropriate targets. Deciphering the molecular signals that cooperatively guide neuronal migration in the embryonic brain is therefore important to understand how the complex neural networks form which later support postnatal life. Facial branchiomotor (FBM) neurons in the mouse embryo hindbrain migrate from rhombomere (r) 4 caudally to form the paired facial nuclei in the r6-derived region of the hindbrain. Here we provide a detailed protocol for wholemount ex vivo culture of mouse embryo hindbrains suitable to investigate the signaling pathways that regulate FBM migration. In this method, hindbrains of E11.5 mouse embryos are dissected and cultured in an open book preparation on cell culture inserts for 24 hr. During this time, FBM neurons migrate caudally towards r6 and can be exposed to function-blocking antibodies and small molecules in the culture media or heparin beads loaded with recombinant proteins to examine roles for signaling pathways implicated in guiding neuronal migration.
    Journal of Visualized Experiments 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Dopamine (DA) neurotransmission requires a complex series of enzymatic reactions that are tightly linked to catecholamine exocytosis and receptor interactions on pre- and postsynaptic neurons. Regulation of dopaminergic signalling is primarily achieved through reuptake of extracellular DA by the DA transporter (DAT) on presynaptic neurons. Aberrant regulation of DA signalling, and in particular hyperactivation, has been proposed as a key insult in the presentation of schizophrenia and related neuropsychiatric disorders. We recently identified 14-3-3ζ as an essential component of neurodevelopment and a central risk factor in the schizophrenia protein interaction network. Our analysis of 14-3-3ζ-deficient mice now shows that baseline hyperactivity of knockout (KO) mice is rescued by the antipsychotic drug clozapine. 14-3-3ζ KO mice displayed enhanced locomotor hyperactivity induced by the DA releaser amphetamine. Consistent with 14-3-3ζ having a role in DA signalling, we found increased levels of DA in the striatum of 14-3-3ζ KO mice. Although 14-3-3ζ is proposed to modulate activity of the rate-limiting DA biosynthesis enzyme, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), we were unable to identify any differences in total TH levels, TH localization or TH activation in 14-3-3ζ KO mice. Rather, our analysis identified significantly reduced levels of DAT in the absence of notable differences in RNA or protein levels of DA receptors D1-D5. Providing insight into the mechanisms by which 14-3-3ζ controls DAT stability, we found a physical association between 14-3-3ζ and DAT by co-immunoprecipitation. Taken together, our results identify a novel role for 14-3-3ζ in DA neurotransmission and provide support to the hyperdopaminergic basis of pathologies associated with schizophrenia and related disorders.
    Translational psychiatry. 12/2013; 3:e327.
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    ABSTRACT: The integration of multiple morphogenic signalling pathways and transcription factor networks is essential to mediate neural crest (NC) cell induction, delamination, survival, stem-cell properties, fate choice and differentiation. Although the transcriptional control of NC development is well documented in mammals, the role of post-transcriptional modifications, and in particular ubiquitination, has not been explored. Here we report an essential role for the ubiquitin ligase Nedd4 in cranial NC cell development. Our analysis of Nedd4(-/-) embryos identified profound deficiency of cranial NC cells in the absence of structural defects in the neural tube. Nedd4 is expressed in migrating cranial NC cells and was found to positively regulate expression of the NC transcription factors Sox9, Sox10 and FoxD3. We found that in the absence of these factors, a subset of cranial NC cells undergo apoptosis. In accordance with a lack of cranial NC cells, Nedd4(-/-) embryos have deficiency of the trigeminal ganglia, NC derived bone and malformation of the craniofacial skeleton. Our analyses therefore uncover an essential role for Nedd4 in a subset of cranial NC cells and highlight E3 ubiquitin ligases as a likely point of convergence for multiple NC signalling pathways and transcription factor networks.
    Developmental Biology 09/2013; · 3.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neural crest cells are a transient population of stem cells that give rise to a diverse range of cell types during embryonic development. Through gain-of-function and loss-of-function studies in several model organisms many key signalling pathways and cell-type specific transcription factors essential for neural crest cell development have been identified. However, the role of post-translational regulation remains largely unexplored. Here we review this cell type with a foray into the known and potential roles of the ubiquitination system in key signalling events during neural crest cell development.
    The international journal of biochemistry & cell biology 02/2013; · 4.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) arises from neural crest (NC) cells during embryonic development and innervates the internal organs of vertebrates to modulate their stress response. NRP1 and NRP2 are receptors for guidance cues of the class 3 semaphorin (SEMA) family and are expressed in partially overlapping patterns in sympathetic NC cells and their progeny. By comparing the phenotypes of mice lacking NRP1 or its ligand SEMA3A with mice lacking NRP1 in the sympathetic versus vascular endothelial cell lineages, we demonstrate that SEMA3A signalling through NRP1 has multiple cell-autonomous roles in SNS development. These roles include neuronal cell body positioning, neuronal aggregation and axon guidance, first during sympathetic chain assembly and then to regulate the innervation of the heart and aorta. Loss of NRP2 or its ligand SEMA3F impaired sympathetic gangliogenesis more mildly than loss of SEMA3A/NRP1 signalling, but caused ectopic neurite extension along the embryonic aorta. The analysis of compound mutants lacking SEMA3A and SEMA3F or NRP1 and NRP2 in the SNS demonstrated that both signalling pathways cooperate to organise the SNS. We further show that abnormal sympathetic development in mice lacking NRP1 in the sympathetic lineage has functional consequences, as it causes sinus bradycardia, similar to mice lacking SEMA3A.
    Developmental Biology 07/2012; 369(2):277-85. · 3.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During lymphangiogenesis in the mammalian embryo, a subset of vascular endothelial cells in the cardinal veins is reprogrammed to adopt a lymphatic endothelial fate. The prevailing model of lymphangiogenesis contends that these lymphatic precursor cells migrate away from the cardinal veins and reassemble peripherally as lymph sacs from which a lymphatic vasculature is generated. However, this model fails to account for a number of observations that, as a result, have remained anecdotal. Here, we use optical projection tomography, confocal microscopy and in vivo live imaging to uncover three key stages of lymphatic vascular morphogenesis in the mouse embryo at high resolution. First, we define territories or "pre-lymphatic clusters" of Prox1-positive lymphatic endothelial progenitor cells along the antero-posterior axis of the cardinal veins. Second, these pre-lymphatic clusters undergo progressive extrusion ("ballooning") to generate primitive lymph sacs. Third, lymphatic vessels emerge by a combination of mechanisms including sprouting from the lymph sacs and direct delamination of streams of cells from the cardinal veins. Our data support a new model for lymphatic vascular patterning and morphogenesis, as a basis for identifying the molecular cues governing these processes.
    Developmental Biology 12/2011; 364(2):89-98. · 3.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Complex neuropsychiatric disorders are believed to arise from multiple synergistic deficiencies within connected biological networks controlling neuronal migration, axonal pathfinding and synapse formation. Here, we show that deletion of 14-3-3ζ causes neurodevelopmental anomalies similar to those seen in neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder and bipolar disorder. 14-3-3ζ-deficient mice displayed striking behavioural and cognitive deficiencies including a reduced capacity to learn and remember, hyperactivity and disrupted sensorimotor gating. These deficits are accompanied by subtle developmental abnormalities of the hippocampus that are underpinned by aberrant neuronal migration. Significantly, 14-3-3ζ-deficient mice exhibited abnormal mossy fibre navigation and glutamatergic synapse formation. The molecular basis of these defects involves the schizophrenia risk factor, DISC1, which interacts isoform specifically with 14-3-3ζ. Our data provide the first evidence of a direct role for 14-3-3ζ deficiency in the aetiology of neurodevelopmental disorders and identifies 14-3-3ζ as a central risk factor in the schizophrenia protein interaction network.
    Molecular Psychiatry 11/2011; 17(4):451-66. · 15.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons are neuroendocrine cells that are born in the nasal placode during embryonic development and migrate through the nose and forebrain to the hypothalamus, where they regulate reproduction. Many molecular pathways that guide their migration have been identified, but little is known about the factors that control the survival of the migrating GnRH neurons as they negotiate different environments. We previously reported that the class 3 semaphorin SEMA3A signals through its neuropilin receptors, NRP1 and NRP2, to organise the axons that guide migrating GnRH neurons from their birthplace into the brain. By combining analysis of genetically altered mice with in vitro models, we show here that the alternative neuropilin ligand VEGF164 promotes the survival of migrating GnRH neurons by co-activating the ERK and AKT signalling pathways through NRP1. We also demonstrate that survival signalling relies on neuronal, but not endothelial, NRP1 expression and that it occurs independently of KDR, the main VEGF receptor in blood vessels. Therefore, VEGF164 provides survival signals directly to developing GnRH neurons, independently of its role in blood vessels. Finally, we show that the VEGF164-mediated neuronal survival and SEMA3A-mediated axon guidance cooperate to ensure that migrating GnRH neurons reach the brain. Thus, the loss of both neuropilin ligands leads to an almost complete failure to establish the GnRH neuron system.
    Development 09/2011; 138(17):3723-33. · 6.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During tissue morphogenesis and differentiation, cells must self-renew while contemporaneously generating daughters that contribute to the growing tissue. How tissues achieve this precise balance between proliferation and differentiation is, in most instances, poorly understood. This is in part due to the difficulties in dissociating the mechanisms that underlie tissue patterning from those that regulate proliferation. In the migrating posterior lateral line primordium (PLLP), proliferation is predominantly localised to the leading zone. As cells emerge from this zone, they periodically organise into rosettes that subsequently dissociate from the primordium and differentiate as neuromasts. Despite this reiterative loss of cells, the primordium maintains its size through regenerative cell proliferation until it reaches the tail. In this study, we identify a null mutation in the Wnt-pathway transcription factor Lef1 and show that its activity is required to maintain proliferation in the progenitor pool of cells that sustains the PLLP as it undergoes migration, morphogenesis and differentiation. In absence of Lef1, the leading zone becomes depleted of cells during its migration leading to the collapse of the primordium into a couple of terminal neuromasts. We show that this behaviour resembles the process by which the PLLP normally ends its migration, suggesting that suppression of Wnt signalling is required for termination of neuromast production in the tail. Our data support a model in which Lef1 sustains proliferation of leading zone progenitors, maintaining the primordium size and defining neuromast deposition rate.
    Development 09/2011; 138(18):3931-41. · 6.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neuropilin 1 (NRP1) is a transmembrane glycoprotein that is essential for blood vessel development in vertebrates. Best known for its ability to bind members of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and class 3 semaphorin families through its extracellular domain, it also has a highly conserved cytoplasmic domain, which terminates in a SEA motif that binds the PDZ protein synectin/GIPC1/NIP. Previous studies in zebrafish embryos and tissue culture models raised the possibility that the SEA motif of NRP1 is essential for angiogenesis. Here, we describe the generation of mice that express a form of NRP1 that lacks the cytoplasmic domain and, therefore, the SEA motif (Nrp1(cyto)(Δ)(/)(Δ) mice). Our analysis of pre- and perinatal vascular development revealed that vasculogenesis and angiogenesis proceed normally in these mutants, demonstrating that the membrane-anchored extracellular domain is sufficient for vessel growth. By contrast, the NRP1 cytoplasmic domain is required for normal arteriovenous patterning, because arteries and veins crossed each other at an abnormally high frequency in the Nrp1(cyto)(Δ)(/)(Δ) retina, as previously reported for mice with haploinsufficient expression of VEGF in neural progenitors. At crossing sites, the artery was positioned anteriorly to the vein, and both vessels were embedded in a shared collagen sleeve. In human eyes, similar arteriovenous crossings are risk factors for branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO), an eye disease in which compression of the vein by the artery disrupts retinal blood flow, causing local tissue hypoxia and impairing vision. Nrp1(cyto)(Δ)(/)(Δ) mice may therefore provide a suitable genetic model to study the aetiology of BRVO.
    Development 08/2011; 138(19):4185-91. · 6.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During development, the axons of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) neurons must decide whether to cross or avoid the midline at the optic chiasm to project to targets on both sides of the brain. By combining genetic analyses with in vitro assays, we show that neuropilin 1 (NRP1) promotes contralateral RGC projection in mammals. Unexpectedly, the NRP1 ligand involved is not an axon guidance cue of the class 3 semaphorin family, but VEGF164, the neuropilin-binding isoform of the classical vascular growth factor VEGF-A. VEGF164 is expressed at the chiasm midline and is required for normal contralateral growth in vivo. In outgrowth and growth cone turning assays, VEGF164 acts directly on NRP1-expressing contralateral RGCs to provide growth-promoting and chemoattractive signals. These findings have identified a permissive midline signal for axons at the chiasm midline and provide in vivo evidence that VEGF-A is an essential axon guidance cue.
    Neuron 06/2011; 70(5):951-65. · 15.77 Impact Factor
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    Christiana Ruhrberg, Quenten Schwarz
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    ABSTRACT: Neural crest cells (NCCs) are migratory cells that delaminate from the neural tube early in development and then disseminate throughout the embryo to give rise to a wide variety of cell types that are key to the vertebrate body plan. During their journey from the neural tube to their peripheral targets, NCCs progressively differentiate, raising the question when the fate of an individual NCC is sealed. One hypothesis suggests that the fate of a NCC is specified by target-derived signals emanating from the environment they migrate through, while another hypothesis proposes that NCCs are already specified to differentiate along select lineages at the time they are born in the neural tube, with environmental signals helping them to realize their prespecified fate potential. Alternatively, both mechanisms may cooperate to drive NCC diversity. This review highlights recent advances in our understanding of prespecification during trunk NCC development.
    Cell adhesion & migration 10/2010; 4(4):622-30. · 2.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Blood vessel networks expand in a 2-step process that begins with vessel sprouting and is followed by vessel anastomosis. Vessel sprouting is induced by chemotactic gradients of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which stimulates tip cell protrusion. Yet it is not known which factors promote the fusion of neighboring tip cells to add new circuits to the existing vessel network. By combining the analysis of mouse mutants defective in macrophage development or VEGF signaling with live imaging in zebrafish, we now show that macrophages promote tip cell fusion downstream of VEGF-mediated tip cell induction. Macrophages therefore play a hitherto unidentified and unexpected role as vascular fusion cells. Moreover, we show that there are striking molecular similarities between the pro-angiogenic tissue macrophages essential for vascular development and those that promote the angiogenic switch in cancer, including the expression of the cell-surface proteins TIE2 and NRP1. Our findings suggest that tissue macrophages are a target for antiangiogenic therapies, but that they could equally well be exploited to stimulate tissue vascularization in ischemic disease.
    Blood 08/2010; 116(5):829-40. · 9.78 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

641 Citations
132.21 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2004–2014
    • University College London
      • • Institute of Ophthalmology
      • • Department of Cell and Developmental Biology
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 2013
    • Adelaide Cancer Centre
      Tarndarnya, South Australia, Australia
    • University of Adelaide
      Tarndarnya, South Australia, Australia
  • 2011
    • University of Aberdeen
      • Institute of Medical Sciences
      Aberdeen, SCT, United Kingdom
  • 2010
    • UCL Eastman Dental Institute
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom