Wenbin Yang

University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States

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Publications (3)13.39 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The cellular distribution of TAR DNA binding protein (TDP-43) is disrupted in several neurodegenerative disorders, including frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-positive inclusions (FTLD-U subtype) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In these conditions, TDP-43 is found in neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions, with loss of the normal nuclear expression. The mechanisms leading to TDP-43 redistribution and its role in disease pathophysiology remain unknown. We describe an in vitro neural tissue model that reproduces TDP-43 relocalization and inclusion formation. Two week-old coronal organotypic mouse brain slice cultures were treated with tunicamycin for 7 days. In cortical regions of treated slice cultures, cytoplasmic inclusions of TDP-43 immunoreactivity were observed, with loss of nuclear TDP-43 immunoreactivity. These inclusions were found in both astrocytes and neurons, and were of both skein-like and round morphologies. In contrast, TDP-43 cytoplasmic inclusions were not found in slices treated with staurosporine to induce apoptosis, or with trans-4-carboxy-l-proline (PDC) to induce chronic glutamate excitotoxicity. Furthermore, TDP-43 cytoplasmic inclusions did not co-localize with cleaved caspase-3, suggesting that TDP-43 mislocalization does not generally accompany caspase activation or apoptosis. The induction of TDP-43 cytoplasmic translocation in cerebrocortical slice cultures by tunicamycin provides a platform for further mechanistic investigations of pathological processing of TDP-43.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2012 · Journal of the neurological sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Prion diseases result from the accumulation of a misfolded isoform (PrPSc) of the normal host prion protein (PrPC). PrPSc propagates by templating its conformation onto resident PrPC to generate new PrPSc. Although the nature of the PrPSc-PrPC complex is unresolved, certain segments or specific residues are thought to feature critically in its formation. The polymorphic residue 129 is one such site under considerable study. We combined transmission studies with a novel live cell yeast-based fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) system that models the molecular association of PrP in a PrPSc-like state, as a way to explore the role of residue 129 in this process. We show that a reduction in efficiency of prion transmission between donor PrPSc and recipient PrPC that are mismatched at residue 129 correlates with a reduction in FRET between PrP-129M and PrP-129V in our yeast model. We further show that this effect depends on the different secondary structure propensities of Met and Val, rather than the specific amino acids. Finally, introduction of the disease-associated P101L mutation (mouse- equivalent) abolished FRET with wild-type mouse PrP, whereas mutant PrP-P101L displayed high FRET with homologous PrP-P101L, as long as residue 129 matched. These studies provide the first evidence for a physical alteration in the molecular association of PrP molecules differing in one or more residues, and they further predict that the different secondary structure propensities of Met and Val define the impaired association observed between PrPSc and PrPC mismatched at residue 129.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2010 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker syndrome (GSS) is a genetic prion disease typified clinically by the development of progressive ataxia and dementia, and histopathologically by the presence of prion protein (PrP) amyloid plaques in the CNS, especially within the cerebellum. Several mutations of the PrP gene (PRNP) are associated with GSS, but only the P102L mutation has been convincingly modeled in transgenic (Tg) mice. To determine whether other mutations carry specific GSS phenotypic information, we constructed Tg mice that express PrP carrying the mouse homolog of the GSS-associated A117V mutation. Tg(A116V) mice express approximately six times the endogenous levels of PrP, develop progressive ataxia by approximately 140 d, and die by approximately 170 d. Compared with a mouse model of transmissible Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), the ataxia of Tg(A116V) mice is more prominent, and the course of disease is more protracted, paralleling that observed in human disease. Neuropathology includes mild scattered vacuolation and prominent, mainly cerebellar localized, thioflavin S-positive PrP plaques comprised of full-length PrP(A116V). In some mice, more prominent vacuolation or a noncerebellar distribution of PrP plaques was evident, suggesting some variability in phenotype. The biophysical properties of PrP from Tg(A116V) mice and human GSS(A117V) revealed a similarly low fraction of insoluble PrP and a weakly protease-resistant approximately 13 kDa midspan PrP fragment, not observed in CJD. Overall, Tg(A116V) mice recapitulate many clinicopathologic features of GSS(A117V) that are distinct from CJD, supporting PrP(A116V) to carry specific phenotypic information. The occasional variation in histopathology they exhibit may shed light on a similar observation in human GSS(A117V).
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2009 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience