Quenten Schwarz

University College London, Londinium, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (36)182.94 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Jaw morphogenesis depends on the growth of Meckel’s cartilage during embryogenesis. However, the cell types and signals that promote chondrocyte proliferation for Meckel’s cartilage growth are poorly defined. Here we show that neural crest cells (NCCs) and their derivatives provide an essential source of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) to enhance jaw vascularization and stabilize the major mandibular artery. We further show in two independent mouse models that blood vessels promote Meckel’s cartilage extension. Coculture experiments of arterial tissue with NCCs or chondrocytes demonstrated that NCC-derived VEGF promotes blood vessel growth and that blood vessels secrete factors to instruct chondrocyte proliferation. Computed tomography and X-ray scans of patients with hemifacial microsomia also showed that jaw hypoplasia correlates with mandibular artery dysgenesis. We conclude that cranial NCCs and their derivatives provide an essential source of VEGF to support blood vessel growth in the developing jaw, which in turn is essential for normal chondrocyte proliferation, and therefore jaw extension.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2015; 112(19):6086. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1419368112 · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT signalling pathway regulates many cellular functions including proliferation, migration, survival and protein synthesis. Somatic mutations in PIK3CA, the gene encoding the p110α catalytic subunit of PI3K enzyme, are commonly associated with many human cancers as well as recently being implicated in human overgrowth syndromes. However, it is not clear if such mutations can be inherited through the germline. We have used a novel mouse model with Cre recombinase (Cre)-conditional knock-in of the common H1047R mutation into the endogenous Pik3ca gene. Heterozygous expression of the Pik3ca(H1047R) mutation in the developing mouse embryo resulted in failed 'turning' of the embryo and disrupted vascular remodelling within the embryonic and extraembryonic tissues, leading to lethality prior to E10. As vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) signalling was disrupted in these embryos, we used Cre under the control of the Tie2 promoter to target the Pik3ca(H1047R) mutation specifically to endothelial cells. In these embryos turning occurred normally but the vascular remodelling defects and embryonic lethality remained, likely as a result of endothelial hyperproliferation. Our results confirm the lethality associated with heterozygous expression of the Pik3ca(H1047R) mutation during development and likely explain the lack of inherited germline PIK3CA mutations in humans. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    Developmental Biology 05/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.ydbio.2015.04.022 · 3.64 Impact Factor
  • Rachael Lumb, Quenten Schwarz
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    ABSTRACT: Neural crest cells (NCCs) are highly migratory progenitor cells that give rise to a vast array of differentiated cell types. One of their key derivatives is the autonomic nervous system (ANS) that is comprised in part from chromaffin cells of the adrenal medulla and organ of Zuckerkandl, the sympathetic chain and additional prevertebral ganglia such as the celiac ganglia, suprarenal ganglia and mesenteric ganglia. In this review we discuss recent advances toward our understanding of how the NCC precursors of the ANS migrate to their target regions, how they are instructed to differentiate into the correct cell types, and the morphogenetic signals controlling their development. Many of these processes remain enigmatic to developmental biologists worldwide. Taking advantage of lineage tracing mouse models one of our own aims is to address the morphogenetic events underpinning the formation of the ANS and to identify the molecular mechanisms that help to segregate a mixed population of NCCs into pathways specific for the sympathetic ganglia, sensory ganglia or adrenal cortex.
    Development Growth and Regeneration 01/2015; 57(2). DOI:10.1111/dgd.12189 · 2.18 Impact Factor
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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. DOI:10.1186/1749-8104-9-24 · 3.37 Impact Factor
  • Cancer Research 10/2014; 74(19 Supplement):86-86. DOI:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2014-86 · 9.28 Impact Factor
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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. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2513-13.2014 · 6.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background 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. Results In a forward genetic screen for mutations that result in loss of habenular asymmetry, we identified two mutant alleles of tcf7l2, a gene that encodes a transcriptional regulator of Wnt signaling. In tcf7l2 mutants, most neurons on both sides differentiate with dHbl identity. Consequently, the habenulae develop symmetrically, with both sides adopting a pronounced leftward character. Tcf7l2 acts cell automously in nascent equipotential neurons, and on the right side, it promotes dHbm and suppresses dHbl differentiation. On the left, the parapineal prevents this Tcf7l2-dependent process, thereby promoting dHbl differentiation. Conclusions Tcf7l2 is essential for lateralized fate selection by habenular neurons that can differentiate along two alternative pathways, thereby leading to major neural circuit asymmetries.
    Current Biology 09/2014; 24(19). DOI:10.1016/j.cub.2014.08.006 · 9.92 Impact Factor
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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 03/2014; DOI:10.3791/51397
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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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    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(12):e327. DOI:10.1038/tp.2013.99 · 4.36 Impact Factor
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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; 383(2). DOI:10.1016/j.ydbio.2013.09.024 · 3.64 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; DOI:10.1016/j.biocel.2013.02.014 · 4.24 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. DOI:10.1016/j.ydbio.2012.06.026 · 3.64 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. DOI:10.1016/j.ydbio.2011.12.032 · 3.64 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. DOI:10.1038/mp.2011.158 · 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. DOI:10.1242/dev.063362 · 6.27 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. DOI:10.1242/dev.062695 · 6.27 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

818 Citations
182.94 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2004–2014
    • University College London
      • Institute of Ophthalmology
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 2013
    • University of Adelaide
      • School of Medicine
      Tarndarnya, South Australia, Australia
    • Adelaide Cancer Centre
      Tarndarnya, South Australia, Australia
  • 2011
    • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
      • Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology
      Urbana, Illinois, United States