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    ABSTRACT: We have applied the CRISPR/Cas9 system to Drosophila S2 cells to generate targeted genetic mutations in more than 85% of alleles. By targeting a constitutive exon of the AGO1 gene, we demonstrate homozygous mutation in up to 82% of cells, thereby allowing the study of genetic knockouts in a Drosophila cell line for the first time. We have shown that homologous gene targeting is possible at 1-4% efficiency using this system, allowing for the construction of defined insertions and deletions. We demonstrate that a 1 kb homology arm length is optimal for integration by homologous gene targeting, and demonstrate its efficacy by tagging the endogenous AGO1 protein. This technology enables controlled genetic manipulation in Drosophila cell lines, and its simplicity offers the opportunity to study cellular phenotypes genome-wide.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Biology Open
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    ABSTRACT: iPSCs (induced pluripotent stem cells) are the newest tool used to model PD (Parkinson's disease). Fibroblasts from patients carrying pathogenic mutations that lead to PD have been reprogrammed into iPSCs, which can subsequently be differentiated into important cell types. Given the characteristic loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta of PD patients, iPSC-derived midbrain dopaminergic neurons have been generated to investigate pathogenic mechanisms in this important cell type as a means of modelling PD. iPSC-derived cultures studied so far have been made from patients carrying mutations in LRRK2 (leucine-rich repeat kinase 2), PINK1 [PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10)-induced putative kinase 1], PARK2 (encodes parkin) or GBA (β-glucocerebrosidase), in addition to those with SNCA (α-synuclein) multiplication and idiopathic PD. In some cases, isogenic control lines have been created to minimize inherent variability between lines from different individuals. Disruptions in autophagy, mitochondrial function and dopamine biology at the synapse have been described. Future applications for iPSC-derived models of PD beyond modelling include drug testing and the ability to investigate the genetic diversity of PD.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2013 · Biochemical Society Transactions
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    ABSTRACT: Angiogenesis is thought to decrease stroke size and improve behavioral outcomes and therefore several clinical trials are seeking to augment it. Galectin-3 (Gal-3) expression increases after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) and has been proposed to limit damage 3days after stroke. We carried out mild MCAO that damages the striatum but spares the cerebral cortex and SVZ. Gal-3 gene deletion prevented vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) upregulation after MCAO. This inhibited post-MCAO increases in endothelial proliferation and angiogenesis in the striatum allowing us to uniquely address the function of angiogenesis in this model of stroke. Apoptosis and infarct size were unchanged in Gal-3(-/-) mice 7 and 14days after MCAO, suggesting angiogenesis does not affect lesion size. Microglial and astrocyte activation/proliferation after MCAO were similar in wild type and Gal-3(-/-) mice. In addition, openfield activity, motor hemiparesis, proprioception, reflex, tremors and grooming behaviors were essentially identical between WT and Gal-3(-/-) mice at 1, 3, 7, 10 and 14days after MCAO, suggesting penumbral angiogenesis has limited impact on behavioral recovery. In addition to angiogenesis, increased adult subventricular zone (SVZ) neurogenesis is thought to provide neuroprotection after stroke in animal models. SVZ neurogenesis and migration to lesion was overall unaffected by the loss of Gal-3, suggesting no compensation for the lack of angiogenesis in Gal-3(-/-) mice. Because angiogenesis and neurogenesis are usually coordinately regulated, identifying their individual effects on stroke has hitherto been difficult. These results show that Gal-3 is necessary for angiogenesis in stroke in a VEGF-dependant manner, but suggest that angiogenesis may be dispensable for post-stroke endogenous repair, therefore drawing into question the clinical utility of augmenting angiogenesis.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Neurobiology of Disease
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