Xin Liu

University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States

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Publications (8)50.87 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: In the developing nervous system, constitutive activation of the AKT/mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) pathway in myelinating glial cells is associated with hypermyelination of the brain, but is reportedly insufficient to drive myelination by Schwann cells. We have hypothesized that it requires additional mechanisms downstream of NRG1/ErbB signaling to trigger myelination in the peripheral nervous system. Here, we demonstrate that elevated levels of phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate (PIP3) have developmental effects on both oligodendrocytes and Schwann cells. By generating conditional mouse mutants, we found that Pten-deficient Schwann cells are enhanced in number and can sort and myelinate axons with calibers well below 1 microm. Unexpectedly, mutant glial cells also spirally enwrap C-fiber axons within Remak bundles and even collagen fibrils, which lack any membrane surface. Importantly, PIP3-dependent hypermyelination of central axons, which is observed when targeting Pten in oligodendrocytes, can also be induced after tamoxifen-mediated Cre recombination in adult mice. We conclude that it requires distinct PIP3 effector mechanisms to trigger axonal wrapping. That myelin synthesis is not restricted to early development but can occur later in life is relevant to developmental disorders and myelin disease.
    Journal of Neuroscience 06/2010; 30(26):8953-64. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The maintenance of spine and synapse number during development is critical for neuronal circuit formation and function. Here we show that delta-catenin, a component of the cadherin-catenin cell adhesion complex, regulates spine and synapse morphogenesis during development. Genetic ablation or acute knockdown of delta-catenin leads to increases in spine and synapse density, accompanied by a decrease in tetrodotoxin induced spine plasticity. Our results indicate that delta-catenin may mediate conversion of activity-dependent signals to morphological spine plasticity. The functional role of delta-catenin in regulating spine density does not require binding to cadherins, but does require interactions with PDZ domain-containing proteins. We propose that the perturbations in spine and synaptic structure and function observed after depletion of delta-catenin during development may contribute to functional alterations in neural circuitry, the cognitive deficits observed in mutant mice, and the mental retardation pathology of Cri-du-chat syndrome.
    Journal of Neuroscience 05/2009; 29(17):5435-42. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The LAP [leucine-rich and postsynaptic density-95/Discs large/zona occludens-1 (PDZ)] protein erbin and delta-catenin, a component of the cadherin-catenin cell adhesion complex, are highly expressed in neurons and associate through PDZ-mediated interaction, but have incompletely characterized neuronal functions. We show that short hairpin RNA-mediated knockdown of erbin and knockdown or genetic ablation of delta-catenin severely impaired dendritic morphogenesis in hippocampal neurons. Simultaneous loss of erbin and delta-catenin does not enhance severity of this phenotype. The dendritic phenotype observed after erbin depletion is rescued by overexpression of delta-catenin and requires a domain in delta-catenin that has been shown to regulate dendritic branching. Knockdown of delta-catenin cannot be rescued by overexpression of erbin, indicating that erbin is upstream of delta-catenin. delta-Catenin-null neurons have no alterations in global levels of active Rac1/RhoA. Knockdown of erbin results in alterations in localization of delta-catenin. These results suggest a critical role for erbin in regulating dendritic morphogenesis by maintaining appropriate localization of delta-catenin.
    Journal of Neuroscience 08/2008; 28(28):7047-56. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Delta-catenin belongs to the p120-catenin (p120(ctn)) protein family, which is characterized by ten, characteristically spaced Armadillo repeats that bind to the juxtamembrane segment of the classical cadherins. Delta-catenin is the only member of this family that is expressed specifically in neurons, where it binds to PDZ domain proteins in the post-synaptic compartment. As a component of both adherens and synaptic junctions, delta-catenin can link the adherens junction to the synapse and, thereby, coordinate synaptic input with changes in the adherens junction. By virtue of its restriction to the post-synaptic area, delta-catenin creates an asymmetric adherens junction in the region of the synapse. The crucial nature of the specialized function of delta-catenin in neurons is demonstrated by a targeted gene mutation, which causes deficits in learning and in synaptic plasticity. Taken together, recent evidence indicates that delta-catenin is a sensor of synaptic activity and implements activity-related morphological changes at the synapse.
    Trends in Cell Biology 04/2005; 15(3):172-8. · 11.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Delta-catenin (delta-catenin) is a neuron-specific catenin, which has been implicated in adhesion and dendritic branching. Moreover, deletions of delta-catenin correlate with the severity of mental retardation in Cri-du-Chat syndrome (CDCS), which may account for 1% of all mentally retarded individuals. Interestingly, delta-catenin was first identified through its interaction with Presenilin-1 (PS1), the molecule most frequently mutated in familial Alzheimer's Disease (FAD). We investigated whether deletion of delta-catenin would be sufficient to cause cognitive dysfunction by generating mice with a targeted mutation of the delta-catenin gene (delta-cat(-/-)). We observed that delta-cat(-/-) animals are viable and have severe impairments in cognitive function. Furthermore, mutant mice display a range of abnormalities in hippocampal short-term and long-term synaptic plasticity. Also, N-cadherin and PSD-95, two proteins that interact with delta-catenin, are significantly reduced in mutant mice. These deficits are severe but specific because delta-cat(-/-) mice display a variety of normal behaviors, exhibit normal baseline synaptic transmission, and have normal levels of the synaptic adherens proteins E-cadherin and beta-catenin. These data reveal a critical role for delta-catenin in brain function and may have important implications for understanding mental retardation syndromes such as Cri-du-Chat and neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, that are characterized by cognitive decline.
    Current Biology 10/2004; 14(18):1657-63. · 9.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Signaling via G-protein-coupled receptors undergoes desensitization after prolonged agonist exposure. Here we investigated the role of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) and its downstream pathways in desensitization of micro-opioid inhibition of neuronal Ca2+ channels. In cultured mouse dorsal root ganglion neurons, two mechanistically different forms of desensitization were observed after acute or chronic treatment with the micro agonist [D-Ala2, N-MePhe4, Gly-ol5]-enkephalin (DAMGO). Chronic DAMGO desensitization was heterologous in nature and significantly attenuated by blocking the activity of PI3K or mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). A combined application of PI3K and MAPK inhibitors showed no additive effect, suggesting that these two kinases act in a common pathway to facilitate chronic desensitization. Acute DAMGO desensitization, however, was not affected by the inhibitors. Furthermore, upregulation of the PI3K-Akt pathway in mutant mice lacking phosphatase and tensin homolog, a lipid phosphatase counteracting PI3K, selectively enhanced chronic desensitization in a PI3K- and MAPK-dependent manner. Using the prepulse facilitation (PPF) test, we further examined changes in the voltage-dependent component of DAMGO action that requires direct interactions between betagamma subunits of G-proteins and Ca2+ channels. DAMGO-induced PPF was diminished after chronic treatment, suggesting disruption of G-protein-channel interactions. Such disruption could occur at the postreceptor level, because chronic DAMGO also reduced GTPgammaS-induced PPF that was independent of receptor activation. Again, inhibition of PI3K or MAPK reduced desensitization of PPF. Our data suggest that the PI3Kcascade involving MAPK and Akt enhances micro-opioid desensitization via postreceptor modifications that interfere with G-protein-effector interactions.
    Journal of Neuroscience 12/2003; 23(32):10292-301. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tolerance is an important component of opiate addiction, but the molecular basis for this phenomenon remains obscure. Here, we report that mice lacking neurotrophin-4 (NT4) display substantially reduced tolerance to morphine compared to wild-type. However, there were no deficits in sensitization and withdrawal, other behaviors relevant to drug addiction. Since NT4 knockout mice also show abnormalities in long-term but not short-term memory, our findings suggest common molecular pathways for some of the enduring changes of drug addiction and memory consolidation.
    Neuroscience Letters 05/2003; 340(2):103-6. · 2.03 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Neuroscience, v.30, 8953-8964 (2010).