[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The habenular complex in the epithalamus consists of distinct regions with diverse neuronal populations. Past studies have suggested a role for the habenula in voluntary exercise motivation and reinforcement of intracranial self-stimulation but have not assigned these effects to specific habenula subnuclei. Here, we have developed a genetic model in which neurons of the dorsal medial habenula (dMHb) are developmentally eliminated, via tissue-specific deletion of the transcription factor Pou4f1 (Brn3a). Mice with dMHb lesions perform poorly in motivation-based locomotor behaviors, such as voluntary wheel running and the accelerating rotarod, but show only minor abnormalities in gait and balance and exhibit normal levels of basal locomotion. These mice also show deficits in sucrose preference, but not in the forced swim test, two measures of depression-related phenotypes in rodents. We have also used Cre recombinase-mediated expression of channelrhodopsin-2 and halorhodopsin to activate dMHb neurons or silence their output in freely moving mice, respectively. Optical activation of the dMHb in vivo supports intracranial self-stimulation, showing that dMHb activity is intrinsically reinforcing, whereas optical silencing of dMHb outputs is aversive. Together, our findings demonstrate that the dMHb is involved in exercise motivation and the regulation of hedonic state, and is part of an intrinsic reinforcement circuit.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 08/2014; 34(34):11366-84. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1861-14.2014 · 6.34 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neuropeptides are a diverse category of signaling molecules in the nervous system regulating a variety of processes including food intake, social behavior, circadian rhythms, learning, and memory. Both the identification and functional characterization of specific neuropeptides are ongoing fields of research. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) analysis of nervous tissues from a variety of organisms allows direct detection and identification of neuropeptides. Here, we demonstrate an analysis workflow that allows for the detection of differences in specific neuropeptides amongst a variety of neuropeptides being simultaneously measured. For sample preparation, we describe a straight-forward and rapid (minutes) method where individual adult Drosophila melanogaster brains are analyzed. Using a MATLAB-based data analysis workflow, also compatible with MALDI-TOF mass spectra obtained from other sample preparations and instrumentation, we demonstrate how changes in neuropeptides levels can be detected with this method.
Over fifty isotopically resolved ion signals in the peptide mass range are reproducibly observed across experiments. MALDI-TOF MS profile spectra were used to statistically identify distinct relative differences in organ-wide endogenous levels of detected neuropeptides between biological conditions. In particular, three distinct levels of a particular neuropeptide, pigment dispersing factor, were detected by comparing groups of preprocessed spectra obtained from individual brains across three different D. melanogaster strains, each of which express different amounts of this neuropeptide. Using the same sample preparation, MALDI-TOF/TOF tandem mass spectrometry confirmed that at least 14 ion signals observed across experiments are indeed neuropeptides. Among the identified neuropeptides were three products of the neuropeptide-like precursor 1 gene previously not identified in the literature.
Using MALDI-TOF MS and preprocessing/statistical analysis, changes in relative levels of a particular neuropeptide in D. melanogaster tissue can be statistically detected amongst a variety of neuropeptides. While the data analysis methods should be compatible with other sample preparations, the presented sample preparation method was sufficient to identify previously unconfirmed D. melanogaster neuropeptides.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Chrna5 gene encodes the α5 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit, an "accessory" subunit of pentameric nicotinic receptors, that has been shown to play a role in nicotine-related behaviors in rodents and is genetically linked to smoking behavior in humans. Here we have used a BAC transgenic mouse line, α5(GFP), to examine the cellular phenotype, connectivity, and function of α5-expressing neurons. Although the medial habenula (MHb) has been proposed as a site of α5 function, α5(GFP) is not detectable in the MHb, and α5 mRNA is expressed there only at very low levels. However, α5(GFP) is strongly expressed in a subset of neurons in the interpeduncular nucleus (IP), median raphe/paramedian raphe (MnR/PMnR), and dorsal tegmental area (DTg). Double-label fluorescence in situ hybridization reveals that these neurons are exclusively GABAergic. Transgenic and conventional tract tracing show that α5(GFP) neurons in the IP project principally to the MnR/PMnR and DTg/interfascicular dorsal raphe, both areas rich in serotonergic neurons. The α5(GFP) neurons in the IP are located in a region that receives cholinergic fiber inputs from the ventral MHb, and optogenetically assisted circuit mapping demonstrates a monosynaptic connection between these cholinergic neurons and α5(GFP) IP neurons. Selective inhibitors of both α4β2- and α3β4-containing nicotinic receptors were able to reduce nicotine-evoked inward currents in α5(GFP) neurons in the IP, suggesting a mixed nicotinic receptor profile in these cells. Together, these findings show that the α5-GABAergic interneurons form a link from the MHb to serotonergic brain centers, which is likely to mediate some of the behavioral effects of nicotine.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 11/2013; 33(46):18022-35. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2927-13.2013 · 6.34 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hmx1 is a variant homeodomain transcription factor expressed in the developing sensory nervous system, retina, and craniofacial mesenchyme. Recently, mutations at the Hmx1 locus have been linked to craniofacial defects in humans, rats, and mice, but its role in nervous system development is largely unknown. Here we show that Hmx1 is expressed in a subset of sensory neurons in the cranial and dorsal root ganglia which does not correspond to any specific sensory modality. Sensory neurons in the dorsal root and trigeminal ganglia of Hmx1dm/dm mouse embryos have no detectable Hmx1 protein, yet they undergo neurogenesis and express sensory subtype markers normally, demonstrating that Hmx1 is not globally required for the specification of sensory neurons from neural crest precursors. Loss of Hmx1 expression has no obvious effect on the early development of the trigeminal (V), superior (IX/X), or dorsal root ganglia neurons in which it is expressed, but results in marked defects in the geniculate (VII) ganglion. Hmx1dm/dm mouse embryos possess only a vestigial posterior auricular nerve, and general somatosensory neurons in the geniculate ganglion are greatly reduced by mid-gestation. Although Hmx1 is expressed in geniculate neurons prior to cell cycle exit, it does not appear to be required for neurogenesis, and the loss of geniculate neurons is likely to be the result of increased cell death. Fate mapping of neural crest-derived tissues indicates that Hmx1-expressing somatosensory neurons at different axial levels may be derived from either the neural crest or the neurogenic placodes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cell type-specific expression of optogenetic molecules allows temporally precise manipulation of targeted neuronal activity. Here we present a toolbox of four knock-in mouse lines engineered for strong, Cre-dependent expression of channelrhodopsins ChR2-tdTomato and ChR2-EYFP, halorhodopsin eNpHR3.0 and archaerhodopsin Arch-ER2. All four transgenes mediated Cre-dependent, robust activation or silencing of cortical pyramidal neurons in vitro and in vivo upon light stimulation, with ChR2-EYFP and Arch-ER2 demonstrating light sensitivity approaching that of in utero or virally transduced neurons. We further show specific photoactivation of parvalbumin-positive interneurons in behaving ChR2-EYFP reporter mice. The robust, consistent and inducible nature of our ChR2 mice represents a significant advance over previous lines, and the Arch-ER2 and eNpHR3.0 mice are to our knowledge the first demonstration of successful conditional transgenic optogenetic silencing. When combined with the hundreds of available Cre driver lines, this optimized toolbox of reporter mice will enable widespread investigations of neural circuit function with unprecedented reliability and accuracy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intertidal species have both circadian and circatidal clocks. Although the behavioral evidence for these oscillators is more than 5 decades old, virtually nothing is known about their molecular clockwork. Pigment-dispersing hormones (PDHs) were originally described in crustaceans. Their insect homologs, pigment-dispersing factors (PDFs), have a prominent role as clock output and synchronizing signals released from clock neurons. We show that gene duplication in crabs has led to two PDH genes (β-pdh-I and β-pdh-II). Phylogenetically, β-pdh-I is more closely related to insect pdf than to β-pdh-II, and we hypothesized that β-PDH-I may represent a canonical clock output signal. Accordingly, β-PDH-I expression in the brain of the intertidal crab Cancer productus is similar to that of PDF in Drosophila melanogaster, and neurons that express PDH-I also show CYCLE-like immunoreactivity. Using D. melanogaster pdf-null mutants (pdf(01)) as a heterologous system, we show that β-pdh-I is indistinguishable from pdf in its ability to rescue the mutant arrhythmic phenotype, but β-pdh-II fails to restore the wild-type phenotype. Application of the three peptides to explanted brains shows that PDF and β-PDH-I are equally effective in inducing the signal transduction cascade of the PDF receptor, but β-PDH-II fails to induce a normal cascade. Our results represent the first functional characterization of a putative molecular clock output in an intertidal species and may provide a critical step towards the characterization of molecular components of biological clocks in intertidal organisms.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Animals with habitats within the intertidal zone are exposed to environmental cycles that include the ebb and flow of tidal waters, changes in tidal levels associated with the lunar month, the light-dark cycle and the alternation of seasons. This intricate temporal environment results in the selection of biological timing systems with endogenous clocks that can oscillate with this wide range of periodicities. Whereas great progress has been made in our understanding of the molecular and neural bases of circadian rhythms, that is, endogenous rhythms synchronized to the solar day, there is little understanding on how circatidal rhythms, namely endogenous rhythms synchronized to tides, are generated. Intertidal crustaceans have been a pivotal group for the demonstration of the endogenous nature of circatidal rhythms and their mechanisms of entrainment. We review here some of the classic work using intertidal crustaceans to unmask basic properties of circatidal systems, as well as work from our laboratory that aims to identify putative chemical signals that could be involved in the circatidal systems of decapod crustaceans.
Frontiers in bioscience (Elite edition) 01/2010; 2(4):1394-404. DOI:10.2741/E200
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recently, we demonstrated that the four known sinus gland (SG) isoforms of Cancer productus crustacean hyperglycemic hormone precursor-related peptide (Capr-CPRP I-IV) are differentially distributed in conserved patterns among individual crabs. This finding strongly supported the presence of multiple prepro-crustacean hyperglycemic hormone (chh) transcripts in each crab, as well as the translation and processing of the encoded prepro-hormones. Whether these transcripts contained common or distinct isoforms of CHH remained unknown. To address this question, molecular analyses of the C. productus eyestalk prepro-chhs were undertaken. Using a PCR-based cloning strategy, four prepro-chh cDNAs were characterized: one encoding CPRP I, one encoding CPRP III (found to possess Ile(26) rather than Leu(26) as reported previously), and two encoding CPRP II. No cDNA encoding CPRP IV was identified. The deduced CHH present in the prepro-hormones containing CPRP I and III were identical (Capr-CHH I) and differed from that (Capr-CHH II) present in the two prepro-hormones containing Capr-CPRP II at a single residue, a Thr(5) for Ser(5) substitution. As both CHH isoforms possess Glu at position 1, a cyclization of this residue to pyroglutamine is likely as the peptides mature, as has been seen for the CHHs of other brachyuran species. Likewise, homology to other CHHs suggests all C. productus isoforms are C-terminally amidated. These post-translational modifications would result in four SG isoforms of CHH: Capr-CHH I, Capr-pyro-CHH I, Capr-CHH II, and Capr-pyro-CHH II. Southern blotting supported the hypothesis that at least three prepro-chh transcripts are present in each crab, while dual in situ hybridization-immunohistochemistry localized the transcripts to previously mapped CHH immunopositive somata in the X-organ, the major source of innervation to the SG.
General and Comparative Endocrinology 03/2008; 155(3):517-25. DOI:10.1016/j.ygcen.2007.09.001 · 2.47 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Over the past decade, mass spectrometry has become a prominent technique for identifying peptide hormones. In crustaceans, studies directed at characterizing the peptide complements present in neuroendocrine structures have generally involved the isolation of tissue from a large number of individuals, which are pooled, extracted, purified, and then analyzed via chromatographic techniques coupled with mass spectrometry. While this approach provides information on the peptides present in the population of animals used as the tissue source, data on the peptide complement present in any individual animal are lost. Direct tissue matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization Fourier transform mass spectrometry (MALDI-FTMS) of single tissues has the potential to identify differences in peptide expression between individuals. Here, we have used direct tissue MALDI-FTMS of individual sinus glands (SGs) to show that the four isoforms of crustacean hyperglycemic hormone precursor-related peptide (CPRP) identified previously from pooled Cancer productus SGs (i.e. Fu, Q., Christie, A.E., Li, L. 2005. Mass spectrometric characterization of crustacean hyperglycemic hormone precursor-related peptides (CPRPs) from the sinus gland of the crab, Cancer productus. Peptides 26, 2137-2150.) are differentially distributed in conserved patterns among individual crabs. Of the crabs examined, approximately 61% of the individuals possessed Capr-CPRP I and II, but not III or IV, approximately 26% Capr-CPRP I, II and III, but not IV, and approximately 13% Capr-CPRP I, II and IV, but not III. Our findings set the stage for future molecular investigations on the origin(s) of this individual-specific variation in CPRP complement, as well as investigations of the function and regulation of the individual isoforms. These data also lend a cautionary note to the assumption that the peptides identified via pooled tissues reveal an accurate picture of the peptides present in any given individual.
General and Comparative Endocrinology 10/2007; 154(1-3):184-92. DOI:10.1016/j.ygcen.2007.06.025 · 2.47 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Over a quarter of a century ago, Mykles described the presence of putative endocrine cells in the midgut epithelium of the crab Cancer magister (Mykles, 1979). In the years that have followed, these cells have been largely ignored and nothing is known about their hormone content or the functions they play in this species. Here, we used a combination of immunohistochemistry and mass spectrometric techniques to investigate these questions. Using immunohistochemistry, we identified both SIFamide- and tachykinin-related peptide (TRP)-like immunopositive cells in the midgut epithelium of C. magister, as well as in that of Cancer borealis and Cancer productus. In each species, the SIFamide-like labeling was restricted to the anterior portion of the midgut, including the paired anterior midgut caeca, whereas the TRP-like immunoreactivity predominated in the posterior midgut and the posterior midgut caecum. Regardless of location, label or species, the morphology of the immunopositive cells matched that of the putative endocrine cells characterized ultrastructurally by Mykles (Mykles, 1979). Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-Fourier transform mass spectrometry identified the peptides responsible for the immunoreactivities as GYRKPPFNGSIFamide (Gly1-SIFamide) and APSGFLGMRamide [Cancer borealis tachykinin-related peptide Ia (CabTRP Ia)], respectively, both of which are known neuropeptides of Cancer species. Although the function of these midgut-derived peptides remains unknown, we found that both Gly1-SIFamide and CabTRP Ia were released when the midgut was exposed to high-potassium saline. In addition, CabTRP Ia was detectable in the hemolymph of crabs that had been held without food for several days, but not in that of fed animals, paralleling results that were attributed to TRP release from midgut endocrine cells in insects. Thus, one function that midgut-derived CabTRP Ia may play in Cancer species is paracrine/hormonal control of feeding-related behavior, as has been postulated for TRPs released from homologous cells in insects.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The crustacean hyperglycemic hormone (CHH) family of peptides includes CHH, moult-inhibiting hormone (MIH) and mandibular organ-inhibiting hormone (MOIH). In the crab Cancer pagurus, isoforms of these peptides, as well as CHH precursor-related peptide (CPRP), have been identified in the X-organ-sinus gland (XO-SG) system. Using peptides isolated from the C. pagurus SG, antibodies to each family member and CPRP were generated. These sera were then used to map the distributions and co-localization patterns of these peptides in the neuroendocrine organs of seven Cancer species: Cancer antennarius, Cancer anthonyi, Cancer borealis, Cancer gracilis, Cancer irroratus, Cancer magister and Cancer productus. In addition to the XO-SG, the pericardial organ (PO) and two other neuroendocrine sites contained within the stomatogastric nervous system, the anterior cardiac plexus (ACP) and the anterior commissural organ (ACO), were studied. In all species, the peptides were found to be differentially distributed between the neuroendocrine sites in conserved patterns: i.e. CHH, CPRP, MIH and MOIH in the XO-SG, CHH, CPRP and MOIH in the PO, and MOIH in the ACP (no immunolabeling was found in the ACO). Moreover, in C. productus (and probably in all species), the peptides present in the XO-SG and PO were differentially distributed between the neurons within each of these neuroendocrine organs (e.g. CHH and CPRP in one set of XO somata with MIH and MOIH co-localized in a different set of cell bodies). Taken collectively, the differential distributions of CHH family members and CPRP both between and within the neuroendocrine organs of crabs of the genus Cancer suggests that each of these peptides may be released into the circulatory system in response to varied, tissue-specific cues and that the PO- and/or ACP-derived isoforms may possess functions distinct from those classically ascribed to their release from the SG.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, the peptide VYRKPPFNGSIFamide (Val(1)-SIFamide) was identified in the stomatogastric nervous system (STNS) of the American lobster, Homarus americanus, using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-Fourier transform mass spectrometry (MALDI-FTMS). When bath-applied to the stomatogastric ganglion (STG), synthetic Val(1)-SIFamide activated the pyloric motor pattern, increasing both burst amplitude and duration in the pyloric dilator (PD) neurons. To determine the distribution of this novel SIFamide isoform within the lobster STNS and neuroendocrine organs, a rabbit polyclonal antibody was generated against synthetic Val(1)-SIFamide. Whole-mount immunolabeling with this antibody showed that this peptide is widely distributed within the STNS, including extensive neuropil staining in the STG and commissural ganglia (CoGs) as well as immunopositive somata in the CoGs and the oesophageal ganglion. Labeling was also occasionally seen in the pericardial organ (PO), but not in the sinus gland. When present in the PO, labeling was restricted to fibers-of-passage and was never seen in release terminals. Adsorption of the antibody by either Val(1)-SIFamide or Gly(1)-SIFamide abolished all Val(1)-SIFamide staining within the STNS, including the STG neuropil, whereas adsorption by other lobster neuropeptides had no effect on immunolabeling. These data strongly suggest that the staining we report is a true reflection of the distribution of this peptide in the STNS. Collectively, our mass spectrometric, physiological, and anatomical data are consistent with Val(1)-SIFamide serving as a locally released neuromodulator in the lobster STG. Thus, our study provides the first direct demonstration of function for an SIFamide isoform in any species.
The Journal of Comparative Neurology 05/2006; 496(3):406-21. DOI:10.1002/cne.20932 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In crustaceans, circulating hormones influence many physiological processes. Two neuroendocrine organs, the sinus gland (SG) and the pericardial organ (PO), are the sources of many of these compounds. As a first step in determining the roles played by hemolymph-borne agents in the crab Cancer productus, we characterized the hormone complement of its SG and PO. We show via transmission electron microscopy that the nerve terminals making up each site possess dense-core and/or electron-lucent vesicles, suggesting diverse complements of bioactive molecules for both structures. By using immunohistochemistry, we show that small molecule transmitters, amines and peptides, are among the hormones present in these tissues, with many differentially distributed between the two sites (e.g., serotonin in the PO but not the SG). With several mass spectrometric (MS) methods, we identified many of the peptides responsible for the immunolabeling and surveyed the SG and PO for peptides for which no antibodies exist. By using MS, we characterized 39 known peptides [e.g., beta-pigment-dispersing hormone (beta-PDH), crustacean cardioactive peptide, and red pigment-concentrating hormone] and de novo sequenced 23 novel ones (e.g., a new beta-PDH isoform and the first B-type allatostatins identified from a non-insect species). Collectively, our results show that diverse and unique complements of hormones, including many previously unknown peptides, are present in the SG and PO of C. productus. Moreover, our study sets the stage for future biochemical and physiological studies of these molecules and ultimately the elucidation of the role(s) they play in hormonal control in C. productus.
The Journal of Comparative Neurology 12/2005; 493(4):607-26. DOI:10.1002/cne.20773 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A club-shaped, tachykinin-immunopositive structure first described nearly two decades ago in the commissural ganglion (CoG) of three species of decapod crustaceans has remained enigmatic, as its function is unknown. Here, we use a combination of anatomical, mass spectrometric and electrophysiological techniques to address this issue in the crab Cancer productus. Immunohistochemistry using an antibody to the vertebrate tachykinin substance P shows that a homologous site exists in each CoG of this crab. Confocal microscopy reveals that its structure and organization are similar to those of known neuroendocrine organs. Based on its location in the anterior medial quadrant of the CoG, we have named this structure the anterior commissural organ (ACO). Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization Fourier transform mass spectrometry shows that the ACO contains the peptide APSGFLGMRamide, commonly known as Cancer borealis tachykinin-related peptide Ia (CabTRP Ia). Using the same technique, we show that CabTRP Ia is also released into the hemolymph. As no tachykinin-like labeling is seen in any of the other known neuroendocrine sites of this species (i.e. the sinus gland, the pericardial organ and the anterior cardiac plexus), the ACO is a prime candidate to be the source of CabTRP Ia present in the circulatory system. Our electrophysiological studies indicate that one target of hemolymph-borne CabTRP Ia is the foregut musculature. Here, no direct CabTRP Ia innervation is present, yet several gastric mill and pyloric muscles are nonetheless modulated by hormonally relevant concentrations of the peptide. Collectively, our findings show that the C. productus ACO is a neuroendocrine organ providing hormonal CabTRP Ia modulation to the foregut musculature. Homologous structures in other decapods are hypothesized to function similarly.