Janice W Kansy

Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, United States

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Publications (10)60.99 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Ischemic stroke is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. Treatment options are limited and only a minority of patients receive acute interventions. Understanding the mechanisms that mediate neuronal injury and death may identify targets for neuroprotective treatments. Here we show that the aberrant activity of the protein kinase Cdk5 is a principal cause of neuronal death in rodents during stroke. Ischemia induced either by embolic middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) in vivo or by oxygen and glucose deprivation in brain slices caused calpain-dependent conversion of the Cdk5-activating cofactor p35 to p25. Inhibition of aberrant Cdk5 during ischemia protected dopamine neurotransmission, maintained field potentials, and blocked excitotoxicity. Furthermore, pharmacological inhibition or conditional knock-out (CKO) of Cdk5 prevented neuronal death in response to ischemia. Moreover, Cdk5 CKO dramatically reduced infarctions following MCAO. Thus, targeting aberrant Cdk5 activity may serve as an effective treatment for stroke.
    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 06/2014; 34(24):8259-67.
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    ABSTRACT: Motor learning and neuro-adaptations to drugs of abuse rely upon neuronal signaling in the striatum. Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) regulates striatal dopamine neurotransmission and behavioral responses to cocaine. Although the role for Cdk5 in neurodegeneration in the cortex and hippocampus and in hippocampal-dependent learning has been demonstrated, its dysregulation in the striatum has not been examined. Here we show that strong activation of striatal NMDA receptors produced p25, the truncated form of the Cdk5 co-activator p35. Furthermore, inducible overexpression of p25 in the striatum prevented locomotor sensitization to cocaine and attenuated motor coordination and learning. This corresponded with reduced dendritic spine density, increased neuro-inflammation, altered dopamine signaling, and shifted Cdk5 specificity with regard to physiological and aberrant substrates, but no apparent loss of striatal neurons. Thus, dysregulation of Cdk5 dramatically affects striatal-dependent brain function and may be relevant to non-neurodegenerative disorders involving dopamine neurotransmission.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12/2008; 105(47):18561-6. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The molecular factors regulating adult neurogenesis must be understood to harness the therapeutic potential of neuronal stem cells. Although cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) plays a critical role in embryonic corticogenesis, its function in adult neurogenesis is unknown. Here, we assessed the role of Cdk5 in the generation of dentate gyrus (DG) granule cell neurons in adult mice. Cre recombinase-mediated conditional knockout (KO) of Cdk5 from stem cells and their progeny in the DG subgranular zone (SGZ) prevented maturation of new neurons. In addition, selective KO of Cdk5 from mature neurons throughout the hippocampus reduced the number of immature neurons. Furthermore, Cdk5 gene deletion specifically from DG granule neurons via viral-mediated gene transfer also resulted in fewer immature neurons. In each case, the total number of proliferating cells was unaffected, indicating that Cdk5 is necessary for progression of adult-generated neurons to maturity. This role for Cdk5 in neurogenesis was activating-cofactor specific, as p35 KO but not p39 KO mice also had fewer immature neurons. Thus, Cdk5 has an essential role in the survival, but not proliferation, of adult-generated hippocampal neurons through both cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic mechanisms.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12/2008; 105(47):18567-71. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) regulates dopamine neurotransmission and has been suggested to serve as a homeostatic target of chronic psychostimulant exposure. To study the role of Cdk5 in the modulation of the cellular and behavioral effects of psychoactive drugs of abuse, we developed Cre/loxP conditional knock-out systems that allow temporal and spatial control of Cdk5 expression in the adult brain. Here, we report the generation of Cdk5 conditional knock-out (cKO) mice using the alphaCaMKII promoter-driven Cre transgenic line (CaMKII-Cre). In this model system, loss of Cdk5 in the adult forebrain increased the psychomotor-activating effects of cocaine. Additionally, these CaMKII-Cre Cdk5 cKO mice show enhanced incentive motivation for food as assessed by instrumental responding on a progressive ratio schedule of reinforcement. Behavioral changes were accompanied by increased excitability of medium spiny neurons in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) in Cdk5 cKO mice. To study NAc-specific effects of Cdk5, another model system was used in which recombinant adeno-associated viruses expressing Cre recombinase caused restricted loss of Cdk5 in NAc neurons. Targeted knock-out of Cdk5 in the NAc facilitated cocaine-induced locomotor sensitization and conditioned place preference for cocaine. These results suggest that Cdk5 acts as a negative regulator of neuronal excitability in the NAc and that Cdk5 may govern the behavioral effects of cocaine and motivation for reinforcement.
    Journal of Neuroscience 12/2007; 27(47):12967-76. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Learning is accompanied by modulation of postsynaptic signal transduction pathways in neurons. Although the neuronal protein kinase cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) has been implicated in cognitive disorders, its role in learning has been obscured by the perinatal lethality of constitutive knockout mice. Here we report that conditional knockout of Cdk5 in the adult mouse brain improved performance in spatial learning tasks and enhanced hippocampal long-term potentiation and NMDA receptor (NMDAR)-mediated excitatory postsynaptic currents. Enhanced synaptic plasticity in Cdk5 knockout mice was attributed to reduced NR2B degradation, which caused elevations in total, surface and synaptic NR2B subunit levels and current through NR2B-containing NMDARs. Cdk5 facilitated the degradation of NR2B by directly interacting with both it and its protease, calpain. These findings reveal a previously unknown mechanism by which Cdk5 facilitates calpain-mediated proteolysis of NR2B and may control synaptic plasticity and learning.
    Nature Neuroscience 08/2007; 10(7):880-6. · 15.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Inhibitor-1, the first identified endogenous inhibitor of protein phosphatase 1 (PP-1), was previously reported to be a substrate for cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) at Ser67. Further investigation has revealed the presence of an additional Cdk5 site identified by mass spectrometry and confirmed by site-directed mutagenesis as Ser6. Basal levels of phospho-Ser6 inhibitor-1, as detected by a phosphorylation state-specific antibody against the site, existed in specific regions of the brain and varied with age. In the striatum, basal in vivo phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of Ser6 were mediated by Cdk5, PP-2A, and PP-1, respectively. Additionally, calcineurin contributed to dephosphorylation under conditions of high Ca2+. In biochemical assays the function of Cdk5-dependent phosphorylation of inhibitor-1 at Ser6 and Ser67 was demonstrated to be an intramolecular impairment of the ability of inhibitor-1 to be dephosphorylated at Thr35; this effect was recapitulated in two systems in vivo. Dephosphorylation of inhibitor-1 at Thr35 is equivalent to inactivation of the protein, as inhibitor-1 only serves as an inhibitor of PP-1 when phosphorylated by cAMP-dependent kinase (PKA) at Thr35. Thus, inhibitor-1 serves as a critical junction between kinase- and phosphatase-signaling pathways, linking PP-1 to not only PKA and calcineurin but also Cdk5.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 07/2007; 282(22):16511-20. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Immune responses to beta-hemolytic streptococcal infections are hypothesized to trigger tic disorders and early-onset obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in some pediatric populations. Here we identify the M1 isoform of the glycolytic enzyme, pyruvate kinase (PK) as an autoimmune target in Tourette syndrome and associated disorders. Antibodies to PK reacted strongly with surface antigens of infectious strains of streptococcus, and antibodies to streptococcal M proteins reacted with PK. Moreover, immunoreactivity to PK in patients with exacerbated symptoms who had recently acquired a streptococcal infection was 7-fold higher compared to patients with exacerbated symptoms and no evidence of a streptococcal infection. These data suggest that PK can function as an autoimmune target and that this immunoreactivity may be associated with Tourette syndrome, OCD, and associated disorders.
    Journal of Neuroimmunology 01/2007; 181(1-2):165-76. · 3.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Regulation of cytoskeletal dynamics is essential to neuronal plasticity during development and adulthood. Dysregulation of these mechanisms may contribute to neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. The neuronal protein kinase, cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5), is involved in multiple aspects of neuronal function, including regulation of cytoskeleton. A neuroproteomic search identified the tubulin-binding protein, stathmin, as a novel Cdk5 substrate. Stathmin was phosphorylated by Cdk5 in vitro at Ser25 and Ser38, previously identified as mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and p38 MAPKdelta sites. Cdk5 predominantly phosphorylated Ser38, while MAPK and p38 MAPKdelta predominantly phosphorylated Ser25. Stathmin was phosphorylated at both sites in mouse brain, with higher levels in cortex and striatum. Cdk5 knockout mice exhibited decreased phospho-Ser38 levels. During development, phospho-Ser25 and -Ser38 levels peaked at post-natal day 7, followed by reduction in total stathmin. Inhibition of protein phosphatases in striatal slices caused an increase in phospho-Ser25 and a decrease in total stathmin. Interestingly, the prefrontal cortex of schizophrenic patients had increased phospho-Ser25 levels. In contrast, total and phospho-Ser25 stoichiometries were decreased in the hippocampus of Alzheimer's patients. Thus, microtubule regulatory mechanisms involving the phosphorylation of stathmin may contribute to developmental synaptic pruning and structural plasticity, and may be involved in neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 11/2006; 99(1):237-50. · 3.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) is emerging as a neuronal protein kinase involved in multiple aspects of neurotransmission in both post- and presynaptic compartments. Within the reward/motor circuitry of the basal ganglia, Cdk5 regulates dopamine neurotransmission via phosphorylation of the postsynaptic signal transduction pathway integrator, DARPP-32 (dopamine- and cyclic AMP-regulated phosphoprotein, M(r) 32,000). Cdk5 has also been implicated in regulating various steps in the presynaptic vesicle cycle. Here we report that Cdk5 phosphorylates tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), the key enzyme for synthesis of dopamine. Using phosphopeptide mapping, site-directed mutagenesis, and phosphorylation state-specific antibodies, the site was identified as Ser31, a previously defined extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2) site. The phosphorylation of Ser31 by Cdk5 versus ERK1/2 was investigated in intact mouse striatal tissue using a pharmacological approach. The results indicated that Cdk5 phosphorylates TH directly and also regulates ERK1/2-dependent phosphorylation of TH through the phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 1 (MEK1). Finally, phospho-Ser31 TH levels were increased in dopaminergic neurons of rats trained to chronically self-administer cocaine. These results demonstrate direct and indirect regulation of the phosphorylation state of a Cdk5/ERK1/2 site on TH and suggest a role for these pathways in the neuroadaptive changes associated with chronic cocaine exposure.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 11/2004; 91(2):374-84. · 3.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The regulation of adenosine kinase (AK) activity has the potential to control intracellular and interstitial adenosine (Ado) concentrations. In an effort to study the role of AK in Ado homeostasis in the central nervous system, two isoforms of the enzyme were cloned from a mouse brain cDNA library. Following overexpression in bacterial cells, the corresponding proteins were purified to homogeneity. Both isoforms were enzymatically active and found to possess K(m) and V(max) values in agreement with kinetic parameters described for other forms of AK. The distribution of AK in discrete brain regions and various peripheral tissues was defined. To investigate the possibility that AK activity is regulated by protein phosphorylation, a panel of protein kinases was screened for ability to phosphorylate recombinant mouse AK. Data from these in vitro phosphorylation studies suggest that AK is most likely not an efficient substrate for PKA, PKG, CaMKII, CK1, CK2, MAPK, Cdk1, or Cdk5. PKC was found to phosphorylate recombinant AK efficiently in vitro. Further analysis revealed, however, that this PKC-dependent phosphorylation occurred at one or more serine residues associated with the N-terminal affinity tag used for protein purification.
    European Journal of Biochemistry 10/2004; 271(17):3547-55. · 3.58 Impact Factor