[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS), resulting from mutations in transcription factor PHOX2B, manifests with impaired responses to hypoxemia and hypercapnia especially during sleep. To identify brainstem structures developmentally affected in CCHS, we analyzed two postmortem neonatal-lethal cases with confirmed polyalanine repeat expansion (PARM) or Non-PARM (PHOX2B∆8) mutation of PHOX2B. Both human cases showed neuronal losses within the locus coeruleus (LC), which is important for central noradrenergic signaling. Using a conditionally active transgenic mouse model of the PHOX2B∆8 mutation, we found that early embryonic expression (<E10.5) caused failure of LC neuronal specification and perinatal respiratory lethality. In contrast, later onset (E11.5) of PHOX2B∆8 expression was not deleterious to LC development and perinatal respiratory lethality was rescued, despite failure of chemosensor retrotrapezoid nucleus formation. Our findings indicate that early-onset mutant PHOX2B expression inhibits LC neuronal development in CCHS. They further suggest that such mutations result in dysregulation of central noradrenergic signaling, and therefore, potential for early pharmacologic intervention in humans with CCHS.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malignant gliomas are a leading cause of tumor-related mortality in children. Current therapies often have significant adverse
effects on brain development and are largely ineffective against aggressive gliomas. The development of rational therapies
has been limited by poor information regarding the cell of origin for pediatric glioma and the relevant underlying genetic
alterations. Recent findings now reveal that mutations existing in pediatric glioma are different than those seen in adult
gliomas. For example, BRAFV600E activating mutations are associated with deletion of the tumor suppressor gene, p16 (Ink4a-Arf),
in about 15% of pediatric gliomas. We have generated a faithful genetic mouse model in which there is concomitant activation
of BRAFV600E and deletion of Ink4a-Arf in oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) leading to the generation of pediatric high-grade
glioma. OPCs have been shown to be a potential cell of origin for glioma and expression of Olig2 is found in 100 percent of
human pediatric and adult high-grade gliomas. Given that Olig2 is also required for normal myelin development, targeting all
Olig2-expressing cells with small molecule inhibitors would likely have detrimental effects. We have recently found that Olig2
protein is present in a phosphorylated form that promotes proliferation of adult glioma cells. In this study, we demonstrate
that phospho-Olig2 is expressed in tumorigenic oligodendrocyte progenitor cells and is required for pediatric glioma generation.
In addition, we found that phospho-Olig2 and Olig2 interact with different proteins, some of which are feasible drug targets.
This study gives insights into new therapies by understanding key protein interactions in normal oligodendrocyte development
as well as in tumorigenic oligodendrocyte progenitor cells.
Cancer Research 10/2014; 74(19 Supplement):LB-206-LB-206. DOI:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2014-LB-206 · 9.33 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Myelin sheaths provide critical functional and trophic support for axons in white matter tracts of the brain. Oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) have extraordinary metabolic requirements during development as they differentiate to produce multiple myelin segments, implying that they must first secure adequate access to blood supply. However, mechanisms that coordinate myelination and angiogenesis are unclear. Here, we show that oxygen tension, mediated by OPC-encoded hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) function, is an essential regulator of postnatal myelination. Constitutive HIF1/2α stabilization resulted in OPC maturation arrest through autocrine activation of canonical Wnt7a/7b. Surprisingly, such OPCs also show paracrine activity that induces excessive postnatal white matter angiogenesis in vivo and directly stimulates endothelial cell proliferation in vitro. Conversely, OPC-specific HIF1/2α loss of function leads to insufficient angiogenesis in corpus callosum and catastrophic axon loss. These findings indicate that OPC-intrinsic HIF signaling couples postnatal white matter angiogenesis, axon integrity, and the onset of myelination in mammalian forebrain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The bHLH transcription factor Olig2 is expressed in cycling neural progenitor cells but also in terminally differentiated, myelinating oligodendrocytes. Sustained expression of Olig2 is counterintuitive because all known functions of the protein in expansion of neural progenitors and specification of oligodendrocyte progenitors are completed with the formation of mature white matter. How are the biological functions of Olig2 suppressed in terminally differentiated oligodendrocytes? In previous studies, we have shown that a triple serine motif in the amino terminus of Olig2 is phosphorylated in cycling neural progenitors but not in their differentiated progeny. We now show that phosphorylation of the triple serine motif regulates intranuclear compartmentalization of murine Olig2. Phosphorylated Olig2 is preferentially localized to a transcriptionally active "open" chromatin compartment together with coregulator proteins essential for regulation of gene expression. Unphosphorylated Olig2, as seen in mature white matter, is localized mainly within a transcriptionally inactive, chromatin fraction characterized by condensed and inaccessible DNA. Of special note is the observation that the p53 tumor suppressor protein is confined to the open chromatin fraction. Proximity ligation assays show that phosphorylation brings Olig2 within 30 nm of p53 within the open chromatin compartment. The data thus shed light on previously noted promitogenic functions of phosphorylated Olig2, which reflect, at least in part, an oppositional relationship with p53 functions.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 06/2014; 34(25):8507-18. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0309-14.2014 · 6.34 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Astrocytes, the most abundant cells in the central nervous system, promote synapse formation and help to refine neural connectivity. Although they are allocated to spatially distinct regional domains during development, it is unknown whether region-restricted astrocytes are functionally heterogeneous. Here we show that postnatal spinal cord astrocytes express several region-specific genes, and that ventral astrocyte-encoded semaphorin 3a (Sema3a) is required for proper motor neuron and sensory neuron circuit organization. Loss of astrocyte-encoded Sema3a leads to dysregulated α-motor neuron axon initial segment orientation, markedly abnormal synaptic inputs, and selective death of α- but not of adjacent γ-motor neurons. In addition, a subset of TrkA(+) sensory afferents projects to ectopic ventral positions. These findings demonstrate that stable maintenance of a positional cue by developing astrocytes influences multiple aspects of sensorimotor circuit formation. More generally, they suggest that regional astrocyte heterogeneity may help to coordinate postnatal neural circuit refinement.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In colon cancer, mutation of the Wnt repressor APC (encoding adenomatous polyposis coli) leads to a state of aberrant and unrestricted high-activity signaling. However, the relevance of high Wnt tone in non-genetic human disease is unknown. Here we demonstrate that distinct functional states of Wnt activity determine oligodendrocyte precursor cell (OPC) differentiation and myelination. Mouse OPCs with genetic Wnt dysregulation (high tone) express multiple genes in common with colon cancer, including Lef1, Sp5, Ets2, Rnf43 and Dusp4. Surprisingly, we found that OPCs in lesions of hypoxic human neonatal white matter injury upregulated markers of high Wnt activity and lacked expression of APC. We also found that lack of Wnt repressor tone promoted permanent white matter injury after mild hypoxic insult. These findings suggest a state of pathological high-activity Wnt signaling in human disease tissues that lack predisposing genetic mutation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abnormal GABAergic interneuron density, and imbalance of excitatory versus inhibitory tone, is thought to result in epilepsy, neurodevelopmental disorders, and psychiatric disease. Recent studies indicate that interneuron cortical density is determined primarily by the size of the precursor pool in the embryonic telencephalon. However, factors essential for regulating interneuron allocation from telencephalic multipotent precursors are poorly understood. Here we report that Olig1 represses production of GABAergic interneurons throughout the mouse brain. Olig1 deletion in mutant mice results in ectopic expression and upregulation of Dlx1/2 genes in the ventral medial ganglionic eminences and adjacent regions of the septum, resulting in an ∼30% increase in adult cortical interneuron numbers. We show that Olig1 directly represses the Dlx1/2 I12b intergenic enhancer and that Dlx1/2 functions genetically downstream of Olig1. These findings establish Olig1 as an essential repressor of Dlx1/2 and interneuron production in developing mammalian brain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glial cells are present in all organisms with a CNS and, with increasing brain complexity, glial cells have undergone substantive increases in cell number, diversity, and functions. Invertebrates, such as Drosophila, possess glial subtypes with similarity to mammalian astrocytes in their basic morphology and function, representing fertile ground for unraveling fundamental aspects of glial biology. Although glial subtypes in simple organisms may be relatively homogenous, emerging evidence suggests the possibility that mammalian astrocytes might be highly diversified to match the needs of local neuronal subtypes. In this Perspective, we review classic and new roles identified for astrocytes and oligodendrocytes by recent studies. We propose that delineating genetic and developmental programs across species will be essential to understand the core functions of glia that allow enhanced neuronal function and to achieve new insights into glial roles in higher-order brain function and neurological disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mammalian genome encodes two A-type cyclins, which are considered potentially redundant yet essential regulators of the cell cycle. Here, we tested requirements for cyclin A1 and cyclin A2 function in cerebellar development. Compound conditional loss of cyclin A1/A2 in neural progenitors resulted in severe cerebellar hypoplasia, decreased proliferation of cerebellar granule neuron progenitors (CGNP), and Purkinje (PC) neuron dyslamination. Deletion of cyclin A2 alone showed an identical phenotype, demonstrating that cyclin A1 does not compensate for cyclin A2 loss in neural progenitors. Cyclin A2 loss lead to increased apoptosis at early embryonic time points but not at post-natal time points. In contrast, neural progenitors of the VZ/SVZ did not undergo increased apoptosis, indicating that VZ/SVZ-derived and rhombic lip-derived progenitor cells show differential requirements to cyclin A2. Conditional knockout of cyclin A2 or the SHH proliferative target Nmyc in CGNP also resulted in PC neuron dyslamination. Although cyclin E1 has been reported to compensate for cyclin A2 function in fibroblasts and is upregulated in cyclin A2 null cerebella, cyclin E1 expression was unable to compensate for loss-of cyclin A2 function.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Midbrain- and hindbrain-derived GABAergic interneurons are critical for regulation of sleep, respiratory, sensory-motor and motivational processes, and they are implicated in human neurological disorders. However, the precise mechanisms that underlie generation of GABAergic neuron diversity in the midbrain-hindbrain region are poorly understood. Here, we show unique and overlapping requirements for the related bHLH proteins Tal1 and Tal2 in GABAergic neurogenesis in the midbrain. We show that Tal2 and Tal1 are specifically and sequentially activated during midbrain GABAergic neurogenesis. Similar to Gata2, a post-mitotic selector of the midbrain GABAergic neuron identity, Tal2 expression is activated very early during GABAergic neuron differentiation. Although the expression of Tal2 and Gata2 genes are independent of each other, Tal2 is important for normal midbrain GABAergic neurogenesis, possibly as a partner of Gata2. In the absence of Tal2, the majority of midbrain GABAergic neurons switch to a glutamatergic-like phenotype. In contrast, Tal1 expression is activated in a Gata2 and Tal2 dependent fashion in the more mature midbrain GABAergic neuron precursors, but Tal1 alone is not required for GABAergic neuron differentiation from the midbrain neuroepithelium. However, inactivation of both Tal2 and Tal1 in the developing midbrain suggests that the two factors co-operate to guide GABAergic neuron differentiation in a specific ventro-lateral midbrain domain. The observed similarities and differences between Tal1/Tal2 and Gata2 mutants suggest both co-operative and unique roles for these factors in determination of midbrain GABAergic neuron identities.
Biology Open 10/2013; 2(10):990-7. DOI:10.1242/bio.20135041 · 2.42 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Developmental regulation of gliogenesis in the mammalian CNS is incompletely understood, in part due to a limited repertoire of lineage-specific genes. We used Aldh1l1-GFP as a marker for gliogenic radial glia and later-stage precursors of developing astrocytes and performed gene expression profiling of these cells. We then used this dataset to identify candidate transcription factors that may serve as glial markers or regulators of glial fate. Our analysis generated a database of developmental stage-related markers of Aldh1l1+ cells between murine embryonic day 13.5-18.5. Using these data we identify the bZIP transcription factor Nfe2l1 and demonstrate that it promotes glial fate under direct Sox9 regulatory control. Thus, this dataset represents a resource for identifying novel regulators of glial development. GLIA 2013.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The decline of cognitive function has emerged as one of the greatest health threats of old age. Age-related cognitive decline is caused by an impacted neuronal circuitry, yet the molecular mechanisms responsible are unknown. C1q, the initiating protein of the classical complement cascade and powerful effector of the peripheral immune response, mediates synapse elimination in the developing CNS. Here we show that C1q protein levels dramatically increase in the normal aging mouse and human brain, by as much as 300-fold. This increase was predominantly localized in close proximity to synapses and occurred earliest and most dramatically in certain regions of the brain, including some but not all regions known to be selectively vulnerable in neurodegenerative diseases, i.e., the hippocampus, substantia nigra, and piriform cortex. C1q-deficient mice exhibited enhanced synaptic plasticity in the adult and reorganization of the circuitry in the aging hippocampal dentate gyrus. Moreover, aged C1q-deficient mice exhibited significantly less cognitive and memory decline in certain hippocampus-dependent behavior tests compared with their wild-type littermates. Unlike in the developing CNS, the complement cascade effector C3 was only present at very low levels in the adult and aging brain. In addition, the aging-dependent effect of C1q on the hippocampal circuitry was independent of C3 and unaccompanied by detectable synapse loss, providing evidence for a novel, complement- and synapse elimination-independent role for C1q in CNS aging.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 08/2013; 33(33):13460-13474. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1333-13.2013 · 6.34 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cellular stress responses are frequently governed by the subcellular localization of critical effector proteins. Apoptosis-inducing Factor (AIF) or Glyceraldehyde 3-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (GAPDH), for example, can translocate from mitochondria to the nucleus, where they modulate apoptotic death pathways. Hypoxia-inducible gene domain 1A (HIGD1A) is a mitochondrial protein regulated by Hypoxia-inducible Factor-1α (HIF1α). Here we show that while HIGD1A resides in mitochondria during physiological hypoxia, severe metabolic stress, such as glucose starvation coupled with hypoxia, in addition to DNA damage induced by etoposide, triggers its nuclear accumulation. We show that nuclear localization of HIGD1A overlaps with that of AIF, and is dependent on the presence of BAX and BAK. Furthermore, we show that AIF and HIGD1A physically interact. Additionally, we demonstrate that nuclear HIGD1A is a potential marker of metabolic stress in vivo, frequently observed in diverse pathological states such as myocardial infarction, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), and different types of cancer. In summary, we demonstrate a novel nuclear localization of HIGD1A that is commonly observed in human disease processes in vivo.
PLoS ONE 04/2013; 8(4):e62758. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0062758 · 3.23 Impact Factor