[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glial cells are an integral part of functional communication in the brain. Here we show that astrocytes contribute to the fast dynamics of neural circuits that underlie normal cognitive behaviors. In particular, we found that the selective expression of tetanus neurotoxin (TeNT) in astrocytes significantly reduced the duration of carbachol-induced gamma oscillations in hippocampal slices. These data prompted us to develop a novel transgenic mouse model, specifically with inducible tetanus toxin expression in astrocytes. In this in vivo model, we found evidence of a marked decrease in electroencephalographic (EEG) power in the gamma frequency range in awake-behaving mice, whereas neuronal synaptic activity remained intact. The reduction in cortical gamma oscillations was accompanied by impaired behavioral performance in the novel object recognition test, whereas other forms of memory, including working memory and fear conditioning, remained unchanged. These results support a key role for gamma oscillations in recognition memory. Both EEG alterations and behavioral deficits in novel object recognition were reversed by suppression of tetanus toxin expression. These data reveal an unexpected role for astrocytes as essential contributors to information processing and cognitive behavior.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/2014; · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is characterized by widespread neurodegeneration throughout the association cortex and limbic system, deposition of Aβ in the neuropil and around the blood vessels, and formation of neurofibrillary tangles. The endopeptidase neprilysin has been successfully used to reduce the accumulation of Aβ following intra-cranial viral vector delivery or ex vivo manipulated intra-cranial delivery. These therapies have relied on direct injections into the brain, whereas a clinically desirable therapy would involve i.v infusion of a recombinant enzyme. We previously characterized a recombinant neprilysin that contained a 38 amino acid brain-targeting domain. Recombinant cell lines have been generated expressing this brain-targeted enzyme (ASN12). In this report, we characterize the ASN12 recombinant protein for pharmacology in a mouse as well as efficacy in two APPtg mouse models of AD. The recombinant ASN12 transited to the brain with a t1/2 of 24 hours and accumulated to 1.7% of injected dose at 24 hours following i.v. delivery. We examined pharmacodynamics in the tg2576 APPtg mouse with the prion promoter APP695 SWE mutation and in the Line41 mThy1 APP751 mutation mouse. Treatment of either APPtg mouse resulted in reduced Aβ, increased neuronal synapses and improved learning and memory. In addition, the Line41 APPtg mice showed increased levels of c-terminal NPY fragments and increased neurogenesis. These results suggest that the recombinant brain-targeted neprilysin, ASN12, may be an effective treatment for AD and warrant further investigation in clinical trials.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 05/2014; · 4.60 Impact Factor
[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
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Regenerative medicine aims to replace the lost or damaged cells in the human body through a new source of healthy transplanted cells or by endogenous repair. Although human embryonic stem cells were first thought to be the ideal source for cell therapy and tissue repair in humans, the discovery by Yamanaka and colleagues revolutionized the field. Almost any differentiated cell can be sent back in time to a pluripotency state by expressing the appropriate transcription factors. The process of somatic reprogramming using Yamanaka factors, many of which are oncogenes, offers a glimpse into how cancer stem cells may originate. In this review we discuss the similarities between tumor dedifferentiation and somatic cell reprogramming and how this may pose a risk to the application of this new technology in regenerative medicine.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Activation of the IκB kinase (IKK) is central to NF-κB signaling. However, the precise activation mechanism by which catalytic IKK subunits gain the ability to induce NF-κB transcriptional activity is not well understood. Here we report a 4 Å x-ray crystal structure of human IKK2 (hIKK2) in its catalytically active conformation. The hIKK2 domain architecture closely resembles that of Xenopus IKK2 (xIKK2). However, whereas inactivated xIKK2 displays a closed dimeric structure, hIKK2 dimers adopt open conformations that permit higher order oligomerization within the crystal. Reversible oligomerization of hIKK2 dimers is observed in solution. Mutagenesis confirms that two of the surfaces that mediate oligomerization within the crystal are also critical for the process of hIKK2 activation in cells. We propose that IKK2 dimers transiently associate with one another through these interaction surfaces to promote trans auto-phosphorylation as part of their mechanism of activation. This structure-based model supports recently published structural data that implicate strand exchange as part of a mechanism for IKK2 activation via trans auto-phosphorylation. Moreover, oligomerization through the interfaces identified in this study and subsequent trans auto-phosphorylation account for the rapid amplification of IKK2 phosphorylation observed even in the absence of any upstream kinase.