Species Differences in the Expression of Ahil, a Protein Implicated in the Neurodevelopmental Disorder Joubert Syndrome, With Preferential Accumulation to Stigmoid Bodies

Department of Biology, Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York 12180, USA.
The Journal of Comparative Neurology (Impact Factor: 3.23). 11/2008; 511(2):238-56. DOI: 10.1002/cne.21824
Source: PubMed


Joubert syndrome (JBTS) is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by cerebellum and brainstem malformations. Individuals with JBTS have abnormal breathing and eye movements, ataxia, hypotonia, and cognitive difficulty, and they display mirror movements. Mutations in the Abelson-helper integration site-1 gene (AHI1) cause JBTS in humans, suggesting that AHI1 is required for hindbrain development; however AHI1 may also be required for neuronal function. Support for this idea comes from studies demonstrating that the AHI1 locus is associated with schizophrenia. To gain further insight into the function of AHI1 in both the developing and mature central nervous system, we determined the spatial and temporal expression patterns of the gene products of AHI1 orthologs throughout development, in human, mouse, and zebrafish. Murine Ahi1 was distributed throughout the cytoplasm, dendrites, and axons of neurons, but was absent in glial cells. Ahi1 expression in the mouse brain was observed as early as embryonic day 10.5 and persisted into adulthood, with peak expression during the first postnatal week. Murine Ahi1 was observed in neurons of the hindbrain, midbrain, and ventral forebrain. Generally, the AHI1/Ahi1/ahi1 orthologs had a conserved distribution pattern in human, mouse, and zebrafish, but mouse Ahi1 was not present in the developing and mature cerebellum. Ahi1 was also observed consistently in the stigmoid body, a poorly characterized cytoplasmic organelle found in neurons. Overall, these results suggest roles for AHI1 in neurodevelopmental processes that underlie most of the neuroanatomical defects in JBTS, and perhaps in neuronal functions that contribute to schizophrenia.

  • Source
    • "Dysfunction of Jouberin may thus lead to autism. In mice, AHI1 was distributed throughout cytoplasm, dendrites and axons of neurons and was expressed from embryonal Day 10.5 onwards [97]. In particular, AHI1 mRNA was expressed in cell bodies of midline-crossing neurons, providing an explanation for axonal abnormalities found in Joubert-syndrome [98]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Microdeletion and microduplication copy number variations are found in patients with autism spectrum disorder and in a number of cases they include genes that are involved in the canonical Wnt signaling pathway (for example, FZD9, BCL9 or CDH8). Association studies investigating WNT2, DISC1, MET, DOCK4 or AHI1 also provide evidence that the canonical Wnt pathway might be affected in autism. Prenatal medication with sodium-valproate or antidepressant drugs increases autism risk. In animal studies, it has been found that these medications promote Wnt signaling, including among others an increase in Wnt2 gene expression. Notably, the available genetic information indicates that not only canonical Wnt pathway activation, but also inhibition seems to increase autism risk. The canonical Wnt pathway plays a role in dendrite growth and suboptimal activity negatively affects the dendritic arbor. In principle, this provides a logical explanation as to why both hypo- and hyperactivity may generate a similar set of behavioral and cognitive symptoms. However, without a validated biomarker to stratify for deviant canonical Wnt pathway activity, it is probably too dangerous to treat patients with compounds that modify pathway activity.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · Molecular Autism
  • Source
    • "There has been no previous documentation of AHI1 spatial expression during development in human tissue. Previous characterisation has been limited to hybridisation to RNA northern blot showing expression in fetal brain, kidney, liver and lung [13], [14] and Western blotting, demonstrating Ahi1 protein expression in fetal cerebellum and spinal cord [50]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Joubert syndrome and related diseases (JSRD) are developmental cerebello-oculo-renal syndromes with phenotypes including cerebellar hypoplasia, retinal dystrophy and nephronophthisis (a cystic kidney disease). We have utilised the MRC-Wellcome Trust Human Developmental Biology Resource (HDBR), to perform in-situ hybridisation studies on embryonic tissues, revealing an early onset neuronal, retinal and renal expression pattern for AHI1. An almost identical pattern of expression is seen with CEP290 in human embryonic and fetal tissue. A novel finding is that both AHI1 and CEP290 demonstrate strong expression within the developing choroid plexus, a ciliated structure important for central nervous system development. To test if AHI1 and CEP290 may have co-evolved, we carried out a genomic survey of a large group of organisms across eukaryotic evolution. We found that, in animals, ahi1 and cep290 are almost always found together; however in other organisms either one may be found independent of the other. Finally, we tested in murine epithelial cells if Ahi1 was required for recruitment of Cep290 to the centrosome. We found no obvious differences in Cep290 localisation in the presence or absence of Ahi1, suggesting that, while Ahi1 and Cep290 may function together in the whole organism, they are not interdependent for localisation within a single cell. Taken together these data support a role for AHI1 and CEP290 in multiple organs throughout development and we suggest that this accounts for the wide phenotypic spectrum of AHI1 and CEP290 mutations in man.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · PLoS ONE
  • Source
    • "Both mouse and human Ahi-1/AHI-1 are highly expressed in brain and testis and have lower expression in liver, lung, thymus, kidney and pancreas [16, 56]. We and others have recently demonstrated that Ahi-1 transcripts are expressed at all stages of mouse embryo development, with increasing expression just prior to birth, suggesting that Ahi-1 expression is developmentally regulated [16, 21, 56]. Mouse Ahi-1 mRNA in the cerebellum has its highest expression at E18 and P5, whereas expression in the cerebral cortex appears maximally at E16 and E18 [21]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Progress in the understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of human cancer, including human leukemia and lymphomas, has been spurred by cloning of fusion genes created by chromosomal translocations or by retroviral insertional mutagenesis; a number of oncogenes and tumor suppressors involved in development of a number of malignancies have been identified in this manner. The BCR-ABL fusion gene, originating in a multipotent hematopoietic stem cell, is the molecular signature of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Discovery of this fusion gene has led to the development of one of the first successful targeted molecular therapies for cancer (Imatinib). It illustrates the advances that can result from an understanding of the molecular basis of disease. However, there still remain many as yet unidentified mutations that may influence the initiation or progression of human diseases. Thus, identification and characterization of the mechanism of action of genes that contribute to human diseases is an important and opportune area of current research. One promising candidate as a potential therapeutic target is Abelson helper integration site-1(Ahi-1/AHI-1) that was identified by retroviral insertional mutagenesis in murine models of leukemia/lymphomas and is highly elevated in certain human lymphoma and leukemia stem/progenitor cells. It encodes a unique protein with a SH3 domain, multiple SH3 binding sites and a WD40-repeat domain, suggesting that the normal protein has novel signaling activities. A new AHI-1-BCR-ABL-JAK2 interaction complex has recently been identified and this complex regulates transforming activities and drug resistance in CML stem/progenitor cells. Importantly, AHI-1 has recently been identified as a susceptibility gene involved in a number of brain disorders, including Joubert syndrome. Therefore, understanding molecular functions of the AHI-1 gene could lead to important and novel insights into disease processes involved in specific types of diseases. Ultimately, this knowledge will set the stage for translation into new and more effective diagnostic and treatment strategies.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · Oncotarget
Show more