p21Cip1 restricts neuronal proliferation in the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus

Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 8700 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.67). 02/2008; 105(4):1358-63. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0711030105
Source: PubMed


The subgranular zone (SGZ) of the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus is a brain region where robust neurogenesis continues throughout adulthood. Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) have a primary role in controlling cell division and cellular proliferation. p21(Cip1) (p21) is a CDK inhibitor that restrains cell cycle progression. Confocal microscopy revealed that p21 is abundantly expressed in the nuclei of cells in the SGZ and is colocalized with NeuN, a marker for neurons. Doublecortin (DCX) is a cytoskeletal protein that is primarily expressed by neuroblasts. By using FACS analysis it was found that, among DCX-positive cells, 42.8% stained for p21, indicating that p21 is expressed in neuroblasts and in newly developing neurons. p21-null (p21(-/-)) mice were examined, and the rate of cellular proliferation, as measured by BrdU incorporation, was increased in the SGZ of p21(-/-) compared with WT mice. In addition, the levels of both DCX and NeuN protein were increased in p21(-/-) mice, further demonstrating increased hippocampal neuron proliferation. Chronic treatment with the tricyclic antidepressant imipramine (10 mg/kg per day i.p. for 21 days) markedly decreased hippocampal p21 mRNA and protein levels, produced antidepressant-like behavioral changes in the forced swim test, and stimulated neurogenesis in the hippocampus. These results suggest that p21 restrains neurogenesis in the SGZ and imipramine-induced stimulation of neurogenesis might be a consequence of decreased p21 expression and the subsequent release of neuronal progenitor cells from the blockade of proliferation. Because many antidepressants stimulate neurogenesis, it is possible that their shared common mechanism of action is suppression of p21.

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Available from: Kolja A Wawrowsky
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    • "Previous studies have shown that p21 usually inhibits self-renewal of NSCs (16–19). To test whether p21 specifically affects proliferation of RGCs and IPs, we examined p21 effects by altering its expression levels in mouse embryonic cortices utilizing in utero electroporation (Figure 1A). "
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    ABSTRACT: Expansion of the neural progenitor pool in the developing cerebral cortex is crucial for controlling brain size, since proliferation defects have been associated with the pathogenesis of microcephaly in humans. Cell cycle regulators play important roles in proliferation of neural progenitors. Here, we show that the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21 (also called Cdkn1a and Cip1) negatively regulates proliferation of radial glial cells (RGCs) and intermediate progenitors (IPs) in the embryonic mouse cortex. MicroRNA-17 (miR-17) displays reciprocal expressions with p21 in the developing cortex. Opposite to p21, miR-17 promotes expansion of RGCs and IPs, as demonstrated by overexpressing miR-17 precursors and miR-17 sponges that can knock down the endogenous miR-17. Moreover, p21 is a putative target normally silenced by miR-17. Co-expression of miR-17 with p21 is sufficient to rescue the negative regulation of p21 on progenitor proliferation. Our results indicate a mechanism of controlling the neural progenitor pool, which is to suppress p21 by miR-17 in the developing cortex.
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    • "NSC34 cells showed massive p21 activation and died upon Tra2b knock-down which induced tNasp depletion (Fig. 6C–G). In line with aberrant brain development in neuronal-specific Tra2b KO mice, p21 has been shown to restrict neuronal proliferation in the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus [77] giving an example of how p21 expression can impact CNS development. Hence, tNasp ablation upon Tra2b-induced missplicing might strikingly contribute to cell death and the observed p21 activation and apoptosis in neuronal-specific Tra2b KO mice, strongly accounting for impaired brain development. "
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    ABSTRACT: Alternative splicing (AS) increases the informational content of the genome and is more prevalent in the brain than in any other tissue. The splicing factor Tra2b (Sfrs10) can modulate splicing inclusion of exons by specifically detecting GAA-rich binding motifs and its absence causes early embryonic lethality in mice. TRA2B has been shown to be involved in splicing processes of Nasp (nuclear autoantigenic sperm protein), MAPT (microtubule associated protein tau) and SMN (survival motor neuron), and is therefore implicated in spermatogenesis and neurological diseases like Alzheimer's disease, dementia, Parkinson's disease and spinal muscular atrophy. Here we generated a neuronal-specific Tra2b knock-out mouse that lacks Tra2b expression in neuronal and glial precursor cells by using the Nestin-Cre. Neuronal-specific Tra2b knock-out mice die immediately after birth and show severe abnormalities in cortical development, which are caused by massive apoptotic events in the ventricular layers of the cortex, demonstrating a pivotal role of Tra2b for the developing central nervous system. Using whole brain RNA on exon arrays we identified differentially expressed alternative exons of Tubulinδ1 and Shugoshin-like2 as in vivo targets of Tra2b. Most interestingly, we found increased expression of the cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor 1a (p21) which we could functionally link to neuronal precursor cells in the affected brain regions. We provide further evidence that the absence of Tra2b causes p21 upregulation and ultimately cell death in NSC34 neuronal-like cells. These findings demonstrate that Tra2b regulates splicing events essential for maintaining neuronal viability during development. Apoptotic events triggered via p21 might not be restricted to the developing brain but could possibly be generalized to the whole organism and explain early embryonic lethality in Tra2b-depleted mice.
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    • "All Cip/Kip proteins are expressed in the postnatal brain where they play central function for the regulation of neurogenesis. Indeed, they are detected in adult neurogenic regions where they control proliferation kinetics (Doetsch et al. 2002 ; Li et al. 2009 ) and promote cell cycle exit (Pechnick et al. 2008 ) of specifi c progenitor subtypes. In addition, p21 and p57 control the pool of brain neural stem cell (NSC) by contributing to the regulation of their quiescence (Furutachi et al. 2013 ; Kippin et al. 2005 ). "
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    ABSTRACT: The cerebral cortex is one of the most intricate regions of the brain, which required elaborated cell migration patterns for its development. Experimental observations show that projection neurons migrate radially within the cortical wall, whereas interneurons migrate along multiple tangential paths to reach the developing cortex. Tight regulation of the cell migration processes ensures proper positioning and functional integration of neurons to specific cerebral cortical circuits. Disruption of neuronal migration often lead to cortical dysfunction and/or malformation associated with neurological disorders. Unveiling the molecular control of neuronal migration is thus fundamental to understand the physiological or pathological development of the cerebral cortex. Generation of functional cortical neurons is a complex and stratified process that relies on decision of neural progenitors to leave the cell cycle and generate neurons that migrate and differentiate to reach their final position in the cortical wall. Although accumulating work shed some light on the molecular control of neuronal migration, we currently do not have a comprehensive understanding of how cell cycle exit and migration/differentiation are coordinated at the molecular level. The current chapter tends to lift the veil on this issue by discussing how core cell cycle regulators, and in particular p27(Kip1) acts as a multifunctional protein to control critical steps of neuronal migration through activities that go far beyond cell cycle regulation.
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