Yin Guo

University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, United States

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Publications (9)63.14 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Development of prefrontal and other higher-order association cortices is associated with widespread changes in the cortical transcriptome, particularly during the transitions from prenatal to postnatal development, and from early infancy to later stages of childhood and early adulthood. However, the timing and longitudinal trajectories of neuronal gene expression programs during these periods remain unclear in part because of confounding effects of concomitantly occurring shifts in neuron-to-glia ratios. Here, we used cell type-specific chromatin sorting techniques for genome-wide profiling of a histone mark associated with transcriptional regulation-H3 with trimethylated lysine 4 (H3K4me3)-in neuronal chromatin from 31 subjects from the late gestational period to 80 years of age. H3K4me3 landscapes of prefrontal neurons were developmentally regulated at 1,157 loci, including 768 loci that were proximal to transcription start sites. Multiple algorithms consistently revealed that the overwhelming majority and perhaps all of developmentally regulated H3K4me3 peaks were on a unidirectional trajectory defined by either rapid gain or loss of histone methylation during the late prenatal period and the first year after birth, followed by similar changes but with progressively slower kinetics during early and later childhood and only minimal changes later in life. Developmentally downregulated H3K4me3 peaks in prefrontal neurons were enriched for Paired box (Pax) and multiple Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription (STAT) motifs, which are known to promote glial differentiation. In contrast, H3K4me3 peaks subject to a progressive increase in maturing prefrontal neurons were enriched for activating protein-1 (AP-1) recognition elements that are commonly associated with activity-dependent regulation of neuronal gene expression. We uncovered a developmental program governing the remodeling of neuronal histone methylation landscapes in the prefrontal cortex from the late prenatal period to early adolescence, which is linked to cis-regulatory sequences around transcription start sites.
    PLoS Genetics 04/2013; 9(4):e1003433. · 8.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Clinical, epidemiological and experimental studies confirm a connection between the common degenerative movement disorder Parkinson’s disease (PD) that affects over 1 million individuals, and Gaucher disease, the most prevalent lysosomal storage disorder. Recently, human imaging studies have implicated impaired striatal dopaminergic neurotransmission in early PD pathogenesis in the context of Gaucher disease mutations, but the underlying mechanisms have yet to be characterized. In this report we describe and characterize two novel long-lived transgenic mouse models of Gba deficiency, along with a subchronic conduritol-ß-epoxide (CBE) exposure paradigm. All three murine models revealed striking glial activation within nigrostriatal pathways, accompanied by abnormal α-synuclein accumulation. Importantly, the CBE-induced, pharmacological Gaucher mouse model replicated this change in dopamine neurotransmission, revealing a markedly reduced evoked striatal dopamine release (approximately 2-fold) that indicates synaptic dysfunction. Other changes in synaptic plasticity markers, including microRNA profile and a 24.9% reduction in post-synaptic density size, were concomitant with diminished evoked dopamine release following CBE exposure. These studies afford new insights into the mechanisms underlying the Parkinson’s-Gaucher disease connection, and into the physiological impact of related abnormal α-synuclein accumulation and neuroinflammation on nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurotransmission.
    Molecular Genetics and Metabolism 01/2013; · 2.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Parkinson's disease (PD) patients often times experience impairment in their cognitive abilities early on in the progression of the disease. The reported deficits appear to mainly involve functions that are associated with frontal lobe and frontal-striatal pathways subserving attentional set-shifting, working memory and executive function. The current study explored executive function deficits in a rat model of PD in the pre-motor deficit stage. The rats were lesioned with 12 μg of 6-hydroxydonpamine (6-OHDA) in the striatum in a two step process (10 μg/μl followed by 2 μg/μl) 48 hours apart. Executive function was tested at 3 weeks post-surgery using a rat analogue of Wisconsin card sorting test called the Extra Dimensional/Intra Dimensional (ED/ID) set-shifting task. The results demonstrated that performance by the pre-motor rat model of PD was equivalent to that of the control groups in the simple and the compound discriminations as well as the intra-dimensional set-shifting. However the PD group exhibited attentional set-shifting deficits similar to those observed in PD patients. Additionally, sodium butyrate, a short chain fatty acid derivative and inhibitor of class I and II histone deacetylase (HDACi), was tested as a potential therapeutic agent to mitigate the pre-motor cognitive deficits in PD. The results indicated that the sodium butyrate treatment not only effectively alleviated the set-shifting deficits, but also improved the attentional set formation in the treated rats.
    Neuropharmacology 02/2012; 62(7):2409-12. · 4.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neuronal dysfunction in cerebral cortex and other brain regions could contribute to the cognitive and behavioral defects in autism. To characterize epigenetic signatures of autism in prefrontal cortex neurons. We performed fluorescence-activated sorting and separation of neuronal and nonneuronal nuclei from postmortem prefrontal cortex, digested the chromatin with micrococcal nuclease, and deeply sequenced the DNA from the mononucleosomes with trimethylated H3K4 (H3K4me3), a histone mark associated with transcriptional regulation. Approximately 15 billion base pairs of H3K4me3-enriched sequences were collected from 32 brains. Academic medical center. A total of 16 subjects diagnosed as having autism and 16 control subjects ranging in age from 0.5 to 70 years. Identification of genomic loci showing autism-associated H3K4me3 changes in prefrontal cortex neurons. Subjects with autism showed no evidence for generalized disruption of the developmentally regulated remodeling of the H3K4me3 landscape that defines normal prefrontal cortex neurons in early infancy. However, excess spreading of H3K4me3 from the transcription start sites into downstream gene bodies and upstream promoters was observed specifically in neuronal chromatin from 4 of 16 autism cases but not in controls. Variable subsets of autism cases exhibit altered H3K4me3 peaks at numerous genes regulating neuronal connectivity, social behaviors, and cognition, often in conjunction with altered expression of the corresponding transcripts. Autism-associated H3K4me3 peaks were significantly enriched in genes and loci implicated in neurodevelopmental diseases. Prefrontal cortex neurons from subjects with autism show changes in chromatin structures at hundreds of loci genome-wide, revealing considerable overlap between genetic and epigenetic risk maps of developmental brain disorders.
    Archives of general psychiatry 11/2011; 69(3):314-24. · 12.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rett syndrome (RTT, OMIM # 312750), a neurodevelopmental disorder of early childhood, is primarily caused by mutations in the gene encoding methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2). Various molecular functions have been ascribed to MECP2, including the regulation of histone modifications associated with repressive chromatin remodeling, but the role of these mechanisms for the pathophysiology of RTT remains unclear. Here, we explore whether or not neuronal expression of the histone H3-lysine 9 specific methyl-transferase, Setdb1 (Set domain, bifurcated 1)/Eset/Kmt1e, which is normally present only at low levels in differentiated neurons, rescues the RTT-like phenotype of Mecp2-deficient mice. A myc-tagged Setdb1 cDNA was expressed through the tau locus for ubiquitous expression in CNS neurons, or under control of the calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CK) promoter to selectively target postmitotic neurons in forebrain. However, the CK-Setdb1 transgene lead to an enhanced neurological deficit, and the tauSetdb1 allele further shortened life span of mice with a brain-wide deletion of Mecp2 during prenatal development. In contrast, no neurological deficits or premature death was observed in CK-Setdb1 and tauSetdb1 mice expressing wildtype Mecp2. However, levels of trimethylated H3K9 at pericentromeric repeats were fully maintained in differentiated neurons from symptomatic Mecp2 null mutant mice. Based on these results, we draw two conclusions: First, neuronal chromatin in RTT brain is not affected by a generalized deficit in H3K9 trimethylation. Second, artificial up-regulation of this repressive chromatin mark via Setdb1 gene delivery specifically to neurons is harmful for the Mecp2-deficient brain. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Trends in neuropharmacology: in memory of Erminio Costa'.
    Neuropharmacology 06/2011; 60(7-8):1088-97. · 4.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The rostro-medial cortex of the mouse and rat, considered the functional homolog to the primate prefrontal cortex (PFC), is of growing importance for preclinical models of schizophrenia and other neurodevelopmental diseases for which symptoms typically emerge in adolescence and early adulthood. Therefore, in order to explore molecular mechanisms operating during these critical stages of PFC development, it will be important to develop an efficient gene delivery system for the PFC of juvenile animals. To this end, adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based systems are increasingly used in mice for targeted gene delivery in specific brain regions such as the hippocampus. Strikingly, there is very little literature on vector-mediated gene expression in the rostro-medial cortex. In addition, multiple AAV serotypes exist based on differences in their envelope capsid proteins. However, to date, the large majority of studies in the central nervous system (CNS) have utilized the AAV2 serotype. This is typically limited to a very focal transduction pattern and therefore is not ideal for the murine PFC, which occupies several square millimeters in the rostral hemisphere. Here, we introduce a protocol for efficient, AAV9-serotype-mediated gene delivery in juvenile (postnatal day 21) and young adult PFC, resulting in long-lasting transgene expression.
    Cold Spring Harbor Protocols 04/2010; 2010(4):pdb.prot5417. · 4.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Increased neuronal density in prefrontal, parietal, and temporal white matter of schizophrenia subjects is thought to reflect disordered neurodevelopment; however, it is not known if this cellular alteration affects the cingulate cortex and whether similar changes exist in bipolar disorder. Eighty-two postmortem specimens (bipolar 15, schizophrenia 22, control 45) were included in this clinical study. Densities for two neuronal markers, neuron-specific nuclear protein (NeuN) and neuregulin 1 alpha (NRG), were determined in white matter up to 2.5 mm beneath the anterior cingulate cortex; density of NeuN immunopositive neurons (NeuN+) was also determined for a subset of cases in prefrontal cortex. Changes during normal development were monitored in a separate cohort of 14 brains. Both the schizophrenia and bipolar cohorts demonstrated a twofold increase in NeuN+ density in cingulate white matter; this effect could be attributed to approximately 25% of cases that exceeded the second standard deviation from control subjects. Similar changes were observed in prefrontal cortex. In contrast density of NRG expressing neurons was unaltered. Cases with increased NeuN+ densities in two-dimensional (2-D) counts also showed a pronounced, > fivefold elevation in NeuN+ nuclei per cubic millimeter. Additionally, the developmental cohort demonstrated a 75% decline in NeuN+ neuronal density during the first postnatal year but was stable thereafter. Increased neuronal density in white matter of cingulate cortex in schizophrenia provides further evidence that this alteration occurs in multiple cortical areas. Similar changes in some cases with bipolar illness suggest that the two disorders may share a common underlying defect in late prenatal or early postnatal neurodevelopment.
    Biological psychiatry 06/2009; 66(5):486-93. · 8.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia is frequently accompanied by hypometabolism and altered gene expression in the prefrontal cortex. Cellular metabolism regulates chromatin structure, including covalent histone modifications, which are epigenetic regulators of gene expression. To test the hypothesis that down-regulated metabolic gene expression is associated with histone modification changes in the prefrontal cortex of subjects with schizophrenia. Histones and gene transcripts were profiled in the postmortem prefrontal cortex of 41 subjects with schizophrenia and 41 matched controls. The phosphorylation, acetylation, and methylation of 6 lysine, serine, and arginine residues of histones H3 and H4 were examined together with 16 metabolic gene transcripts using serial immunoblotting, immunohistochemical analysis, custom-made complementary DNA arrays, and quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Subjects with schizophrenia, as a group, showed no significant alterations in histone profiles or gene expression. In a subgroup of 8 patients with schizophrenia, levels of H3-(methyl)arginine 17, H3meR17, exceeded control values by 30%, and this was associated with the decreased expression of 4 metabolic transcripts. High levels of H3-(methyl)arginine 17 are associated with down-regulated metabolic gene expression in the prefrontal cortex of a subset of subjects with schizophrenia. Histone modifications may contribute to the pathogenesis of prefrontal dysfunction in schizophrenia.
    Archives of General Psychiatry 09/2005; 62(8):829-40. · 13.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Antipsychotic drugs regulate gene transcription in striatal neurons by blocking dopamine D2-like receptors. Little is known about the underlying changes in chromatin structure, including covalent modifications at histone N-terminal tails that are epigenetic regulators of gene expression. We show that treatment with D2-like antagonists rapidly induces the phosphorylation of histone H3 at serine 10 and the acetylation of H3-lysine 14 in bulk chromatin from striatum and in nuclei of striatal neurons. We find that, in vivo, D2-like antagonist-induced H3 phospho-acetylation is inhibited by the NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801 and by the protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor Rp-adenosine 3c',5c'-cyclic monophosphorothioate triethylammonium salt but increased by the PKA activator Sp-adenosine 3c',5c'-cyclic monophosphorothioate triethylammonium salt. Furthermore, in dissociated striatal cultures which lack midbrain and cortical pre-synaptic inputs, H3 phospho-acetylation was induced by glutamate, L-type Ca2+ channel agonists and activators of cAMP-dependent PKA but inhibited by NMDA receptor antagonists or PKA antagonists. The dual modification, H3pS10-acK14, was enriched at genomic sites with active transcription and showed the kinetics of the early response. Together, these results suggest that histone modifications and chromatin structure in striatal neurons are dynamically regulated by dopaminergic and glutamatergic inputs converging on the cellular level. Blockade of D2-like receptors induces H3 phospho-acetylation, H3pS10-acK14, through cAMP-dependent PKA, and post-synaptic NMDA receptor signaling.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 10/2004; 90(5):1117-31. · 3.97 Impact Factor