[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mobile elements are DNA sequences that can change their position (retrotranspose) within the genome. Although its biological function is largely unappreciated, DNA derived from mobile elements comprises nearly half of the human genome. It has long been thought that neuronal genomes are invariable; however, recent studies have demonstrated that mobile elements actively retrotranspose during neurogenesis, thereby creating genomic diversity between neurons. In addition, mounting data demonstrate that mobile elements are misregulated in certain neurological disorders, including Rett syndrome and schizophrenia.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neural stem cells have been adopted to model a wide range of neuropsychiatric conditions in vitro. However, how well such models correspond to in vivo brain has not been evaluated in an unbiased, comprehensive manner. We used transcriptomic analyses to compare in vitro systems to developing human fetal brain and observed strong conservation of in vivo gene expression and network architecture in differentiating primary human neural progenitor cells (phNPCs). Conserved modules are enriched in genes associated with ASD, supporting the utility of phNPCs for studying neuropsychiatric disease. We also developed and validated a machine learning approach called CoNTExT that identifies the developmental maturity and regional identity of in vitro models. We observed strong differences between in vitro models, including hiPSC-derived neural progenitors from multiple laboratories. This work provides a systems biology framework for evaluating in vitro systems and supports their value in studying the molecular mechanisms of human neurodevelopmental disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Granule neurons in the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) receive their primary inputs from the cortex and are known to be continuously generated throughout adult life. Ongoing integration of newborn neurons into the existing hippocampal neural circuitry provides enhanced neuroplasticity, which plays a crucial role in learning and memory; deficits in this process have been associated with cognitive decline under neuropathological conditions. In this Primer, we summarize the developmental principles that regulate the process of DG neurogenesis and discuss recent advances in harnessing these developmental cues to generate DG granule neurons from human pluripotent stem cells.
Development (Cambridge, England). 06/2014; 141(12):2366-75.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While motor neuron diseases are currently incurable, induced pluripotent stem cell research has uncovered some disease relevant phenotypes. We will discuss strategies to model different aspects of motor neuron disease and the specific neurons involved in the disease. We will then describe recent progress to investigate common forms of motor neuron disease: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, hereditary spastic paraplegia, and spinal muscular atrophy.
Human Molecular Genetics 05/2014; · 7.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The adult dentate gyrus produces new neurons that morphologically and functionally integrate into the hippocampal network. In the adult brain, most excitatory synapses are ensheathed by astrocytic perisynaptic processes that regulate synaptic structure and function. However, these processes are formed during embryonic or early postnatal development and it is unknown whether astrocytes can also ensheathe synapses of neurons born during adulthood and, if so, whether they play a role in their synaptic transmission. Here, we used a combination of serial-section immuno-electron microscopy, confocal microscopy, and electrophysiology to examine the formation of perisynaptic processes on adult-born neurons. We found that the afferent and efferent synapses of newborn neurons are ensheathed by astrocytic processes, irrespective of the age of the neurons or the size of their synapses. The quantification of gliogenesis and the distribution of astrocytic processes on synapses formed by adult-born neurons suggest that the majority of these processes are recruited from pre-existing astrocytes. Furthermore, the inhibition of astrocytic glutamate re-uptake significantly reduced postsynaptic currents and increased paired-pulse facilitation in adult-born neurons, suggesting that perisynaptic processes modulate synaptic transmission on these cells. Finally, some processes were found intercalated between newly formed dendritic spines and potential presynaptic partners, suggesting that they may also play a structural role in the connectivity of new spines. Together, these results indicate that pre-existing astrocytes remodel their processes to ensheathe synapses of adult-born neurons and participate to the functional and structural integration of these cells into the hippocampal network.
Brain Structure and Function 04/2014; · 7.84 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prenatal exposure of the developing brain to various environmental challenges increases susceptibility to late onset of neuropsychiatric dysfunction; still, the underlying mechanisms remain obscure. Here we show that exposure of embryos to a variety of environmental factors such as alcohol, methylmercury, and maternal seizure activates HSF1 in cerebral cortical cells. Furthermore, Hsf1 deficiency in the mouse cortex exposed in utero to subthreshold levels of these challenges causes structural abnormalities and increases seizure susceptibility after birth. In addition, we found that human neural progenitor cells differentiated from induced pluripotent stem cells derived from schizophrenia patients show higher variability in the levels of HSF1 activation induced by environmental challenges compared to controls. We propose that HSF1 plays a crucial role in the response of brain cells to prenatal environmental insults and may be a key component in the pathogenesis of late-onset neuropsychiatric disorders.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Consistent with recent reports indicating that neurons differentiated in vitro from human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) are immature relative to those in the human brain, gene expression comparisons of our hiPSC-derived neurons to the Allen BrainSpan Atlas indicate that they most resemble fetal brain tissue. This finding suggests that, rather than modeling the late features of schizophrenia (SZ), hiPSC-based models may be better suited for the study of disease predisposition. We now report that a significant fraction of the gene signature of SZ hiPSC-derived neurons is conserved in SZ hiPSC neural progenitor cells (NPCs). We used two independent discovery-based approaches-microarray gene expression and stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture (SILAC) quantitative proteomic mass spectrometry analyses-to identify cellular phenotypes in SZ hiPSC NPCs from four SZ patients. From our findings that SZ hiPSC NPCs show abnormal gene expression and protein levels related to cytoskeletal remodeling and oxidative stress, we predicted, and subsequently observed, aberrant migration and increased oxidative stress in SZ hiPSC NPCs. These reproducible NPC phenotypes were identified through scalable assays that can be applied to expanded cohorts of SZ patients, making them a potentially valuable tool with which to study the developmental mechanisms contributing to SZ.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 1 April 2014; doi:10.1038/mp.2014.22.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies, α-synuclein aggregates to form oligomers and fibrils; however, the precise nature of the toxic α-synuclein species remains unclear. A number of synthetic α-synuclein mutations were recently created (E57K and E35K) that produce species of α-synuclein that preferentially form oligomers and increase α-synuclein-mediated toxicity. We have shown that acute lentiviral expression of α-synuclein E57K leads to the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons; however, the effects of chronic expression of oligomer-prone α-synuclein in synapses throughout the brain have not been investigated. Such a study could provide insight into the possible mechanism(s) through which accumulation of α-synuclein oligomers in the synapse leads to neurodegeneration. For this purpose, we compared the patterns of neurodegeneration and synaptic damage between a newly generated mThy-1 α-synuclein E57K transgenic mouse model that is prone to forming oligomers and the mThy-1 α-synuclein wild-type mouse model (Line 61), which accumulates various forms of α-synuclein. Three lines of α-synuclein E57K (Lines 9, 16 and 54) were generated and compared with the wild-type. The α-synuclein E57K Lines 9 and 16 were higher expressings of α-synuclein, similar to α-synuclein wild-type Line 61, and Line 54 was a low expressing of α-synuclein compared to Line 61. By immunoblot analysis, the higher-expressing α-synuclein E57K transgenic mice showed abundant oligomeric, but not fibrillar, α-synuclein whereas lower-expressing mice accumulated monomeric α-synuclein. Monomers, oligomers, and fibrils were present in α-synuclein wild-type Line 61. Immunohistochemical and ultrastructural analyses demonstrated that α-synuclein accumulated in the synapses but not in the neuronal cells bodies, which was different from the α-synuclein wild-type Line 61, which accumulates α-synuclein in the soma. Compared to non-transgenic and lower-expressing mice, the higher-expressing α-synuclein E57K mice displayed synaptic and dendritic loss, reduced levels of synapsin 1 and synaptic vesicles, and behavioural deficits. Similar alterations, but to a lesser extent, were seen in the α-synuclein wild-type mice. Moreover, although the oligomer-prone α-synuclein mice displayed neurodegeneration in the frontal cortex and hippocampus, the α-synuclein wild-type only displayed neuronal loss in the hippocampus. These results support the hypothesis that accumulating oligomeric α-synuclein may mediate early synaptic pathology in Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies by disrupting synaptic vesicles. This oligomer-prone model might be useful for evaluating therapies directed at oligomer reduction.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite therapeutic advancement, pulmonary disease still remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality around the world. Opportunities to study human lung disease either in vivo or in vitro are currently limited. Using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), we generated mature multiciliated cells in a functional airway epithelium. Robust multiciliogenesis occurred when notch signaling was inhibited and was confirmed by (i) the assembly of multiple pericentrin-stained centrioles at the apical surface, (ii) expression of transcription factor forkhead box protein J1, and (iii) presence of multiple acetylated tubulin-labeled cilia projections in individual cells. Clara, goblet, and basal cells were all present, confirming the generation of a complete polarized epithelial-cell layer. Additionally, cAMP-activated and cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator inhibitor 172-sensitive cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator currents were recorded in isolated epithelial cells. Our report demonstrating the generation of mature multiciliated cells in respiratory epithelium from iPSCs is a significant advance toward modeling a number of human respiratory diseases in vitro.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2014; · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Breast cancer susceptibility gene 1 (BRCA1) is a breast and ovarian cancer tumor suppressor whose loss leads to DNA damage and defective centrosome functions. Despite its tumor suppression functions, BRCA1 is most highly expressed in the embryonic neuroepithelium when the neural progenitors are highly proliferative. To determine its functional significance, we deleted BRCA1 in the developing brain using a neural progenitor-specific driver. The phenotype is characterized by severe agenesis of multiple laminated cerebral structures affecting most notably the neocortex, hippocampus, cerebellum, and olfactory bulbs. Major phenotypes are caused by excess apoptosis, as these could be significantly suppressed by the concomitant deletion of p53. Certain phenotypes attributable to centrosomal and cell polarity functions could not be rescued by p53 deletion. A double KO with the DNA damage sensor kinase ATM was able to rescue BRCA1 loss to a greater extent than p53. Our results suggest distinct apoptotic and centrosomal functions of BRCA1 in neural progenitors, with important implications to understand the sensitivity of the embryonic brain to DNA damage, as well as the developmental regulation of brain size.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2014; · 9.81 Impact Factor