Quenten Schwarz

Centre for Cancer Biology, Tarndarnya, South Australia, Australia

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Publications (41)199.38 Total impact

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    Sophie Wiszniak · Natasha Harvey · Quenten Schwarz
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    ABSTRACT: Nedd4 is an E3 ubiquitin ligase that has an essential role in craniofacial development. However, how and when Nedd4 controls skull formation is ill defined. Here we have used a collection of complementary genetic mouse models to dissect the cell-autonomous roles of Nedd4 in the formation of neural crest cell derived cranial bone. Removal of Nedd4 specifically from neural crest cells leads to profound craniofacial defects with marked reduction of cranial bone that was preceded by hypoplasia of bone forming osteoblasts. Removal of Nedd4 after differentiation of neural crest cells into progenitors of chondrocytes and osteoblasts also led to profound deficiency of craniofacial bone in the absence of cartilage defects. Notably, these skull malformations were conserved when Nedd4 was specifically removed from the osteoblast lineage after specification of osteoblast precursors from mesenchymal skeletal progenitors. We further show that absence of Nedd4 in pre-osteoblasts results in decreased cell proliferation and altered osteogenic differentiation. Taken together our data demonstrate a novel cell-autonomous role for Nedd4 in promoting expansion of the osteoblast progenitor pool to control craniofacial development. Nedd4 mutant mice therefore represent a unique mouse model of craniofacial anomalies that provide an ideal resource to explore the cell-intrinsic mechanisms of neural crest cells in craniofacial morphogenesis.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Developmental Biology
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    ABSTRACT: We have established a novel Cre mouse line, using genomic elements encompassing the Nrp2 locus, present within a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clone. By crossing this Cre driver line to R26R LacZ reporter mice, we have documented the temporal expression and lineage traced tissues in which Cre is expressed. Nrp2-Cre drives expression in primitive blood cells arising from the yolk sac, venous and lymphatic endothelial cells, peripheral sensory ganglia and the lung bud. This mouse line will provide a new tool to researchers wishing to study the development of various tissues and organs in which this Cre driver is expressed, as well as allow tissue-specific knockout of genes of interest to study protein function. This work also presents the first evidence for expression of Nrp2 protein in a mesodermal progenitor with restricted hematopoietic potential, which will significantly advance the study of primitive erythropoiesis. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · genesis
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    ABSTRACT: Clozapine is an atypical antipsychotic drug used in the treatment of schizophrenia, which has been shown to reverse behavioural and dendritic spine deficits in mice. It has recently been shown that deficiency of 14-3-3ζ has an association with schizophrenia, and that a mouse model lacking this protein displays several schizophrenia-like behavioural deficits. To test the effect of clozapine in this mouse model, 14-3-3ζ KO mice were administered clozapine (5mg/kg) for two weeks prior to being analysed in a test battery of cognition, anxiety, and despair (depression-like) behaviours. Following behavioural testing brain samples were collected for analysis of specific anatomical defects and dendritic spine formation. We found that clozapine reduced despair behaviour of 14-3-3ζ KO mice in the Forced Swim Test (FST) and altered the behaviour of wild types and 14-3-3ζ KO mice in the Y-maze task. In contrast, clozapine had no effects on hippocampal laminar defects or decreased dendritic spine density observed in 14-3-3ζ KO mice. Our results suggest that clozapine may have beneficial effects on clinical behaviours associated with deficiencies in the 14-3-3ζ molecular pathway, despite having no effects on morphological defects. These findings may provide mechanistic insight to the action of this drug.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
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    ABSTRACT: Sequencing and expression analyses implicate 14-3-3ζ as a genetic risk factor for neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia and autism. In support of this notion, we recently found that 14-3-3ζ−/− mice in the Sv/129 background display schizophrenia-like defects. As epistatic interactions play a significant role in disease pathogenesis we generated a new congenic strain in the BALB/c background to determine the impact of genetic interactions on the 14-3-3ζ−/− phenotype. In addition to replicating defects such as aberrant mossy fibre connectivity and impaired spatial memory, our analysis of 14-3-3ζ−/− BALB/c mice identified enlarged lateral ventricles, reduced synaptic density and ectopically positioned pyramidal neurons in all subfields of the hippocampus. In contrast to our previous analyses, 14-3-3ζ−/− BALB/c mice lacked locomotor hyperactivity that was underscored by normal levels of the dopamine transporter (DAT) and dopamine signalling. Taken together, our results demo
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Scientific Reports
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    ABSTRACT: Jaw morphogenesis depends on the growth of Meckel’s cartilage during embryogenesis. However, the cell types and signals that promote chondrocyte proliferation for Meckel’s cartilage growth are poorly defined. Here we show that neural crest cells (NCCs) and their derivatives provide an essential source of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) to enhance jaw vascularization and stabilize the major mandibular artery. We further show in two independent mouse models that blood vessels promote Meckel’s cartilage extension. Coculture experiments of arterial tissue with NCCs or chondrocytes demonstrated that NCC-derived VEGF promotes blood vessel growth and that blood vessels secrete factors to instruct chondrocyte proliferation. Computed tomography and X-ray scans of patients with hemifacial microsomia also showed that jaw hypoplasia correlates with mandibular artery dysgenesis. We conclude that cranial NCCs and their derivatives provide an essential source of VEGF to support blood vessel growth in the developing jaw, which in turn is essential for normal chondrocyte proliferation, and therefore jaw extension.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: The phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT signalling pathway regulates many cellular functions including proliferation, migration, survival and protein synthesis. Somatic mutations in PIK3CA, the gene encoding the p110α catalytic subunit of PI3K enzyme, are commonly associated with many human cancers as well as recently being implicated in human overgrowth syndromes. However, it is not clear if such mutations can be inherited through the germline. We have used a novel mouse model with Cre recombinase (Cre)-conditional knock-in of the common H1047R mutation into the endogenous Pik3ca gene. Heterozygous expression of the Pik3ca(H1047R) mutation in the developing mouse embryo resulted in failed 'turning' of the embryo and disrupted vascular remodelling within the embryonic and extraembryonic tissues, leading to lethality prior to E10. As vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) signalling was disrupted in these embryos, we used Cre under the control of the Tie2 promoter to target the Pik3ca(H1047R) mutation specifically to endothelial cells. In these embryos turning occurred normally but the vascular remodelling defects and embryonic lethality remained, likely as a result of endothelial hyperproliferation. Our results confirm the lethality associated with heterozygous expression of the Pik3ca(H1047R) mutation during development and likely explain the lack of inherited germline PIK3CA mutations in humans. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Developmental Biology
  • Rachael Lumb · Quenten Schwarz
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    ABSTRACT: Neural crest cells (NCCs) are highly migratory progenitor cells that give rise to a vast array of differentiated cell types. One of their key derivatives is the autonomic nervous system (ANS) that is comprised in part from chromaffin cells of the adrenal medulla and organ of Zuckerkandl, the sympathetic chain and additional prevertebral ganglia such as the celiac ganglia, suprarenal ganglia and mesenteric ganglia. In this review we discuss recent advances toward our understanding of how the NCC precursors of the ANS migrate to their target regions, how they are instructed to differentiate into the correct cell types, and the morphogenetic signals controlling their development. Many of these processes remain enigmatic to developmental biologists worldwide. Taking advantage of lineage tracing mouse models one of our own aims is to address the morphogenetic events underpinning the formation of the ANS and to identify the molecular mechanisms that help to segregate a mixed population of NCCs into pathways specific for the sympathetic ganglia, sensory ganglia or adrenal cortex.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Development Growth and Regeneration
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    Sophie E Wiszniak · Quenten P Schwarz
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    ABSTRACT: Tightly regulated interactions between developing neural crest cells (NCC) and developing blood vessels are essential to providing a functional cardiovascular system that supports organism function. By providing instructive signals for heart remodeling, structural support for blood vessels, and controlling vascular tone and heart rate, the neural crest plays central roles in cardiovascular morphogenesis and homeostasis. Despite the intersection of these systems being recognized for over five centuries, surprisingly little is known about the molecules coordinating their development. In this chapter, we discuss the processes by which these systems interact, and how they come to pattern each other and provide insight into the molecular mechanisms involved.
    Full-text · Chapter · Dec 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Background Neural crest cells (NCCs) are a transient embryonic cell type that give rise to a wide spectrum of derivatives, including neurons and glia of the sensory and autonomic nervous system, melanocytes and connective tissues in the head. Lineage-tracing and functional studies have shown that trunk NCCs migrate along two distinct paths that correlate with different developmental fates. Thus, NCCs migrating ventrally through the anterior somite form sympathetic and sensory ganglia, whereas NCCs migrating dorsolaterally form melanocytes. Although the mechanisms promoting migration along the dorsolateral path are well defined, the molecules providing positional identity to sympathetic and sensory-fated NCCs that migrate along the same ventral path are ill defined. Neuropilins (Nrp1 and Nrp2) are transmembrane glycoproteins that are essential for NCC migration. Nrp1 and Nrp2 knockout mice have disparate phenotypes, suggesting that these receptors may play a role in sorting NCCs biased towards sensory and sympathetic fates to appropriate locations. Results Here we have combined in situ hybridisation, immunohistochemistry and lineage-tracing analyses to demonstrate that neuropilins are expressed in a non-overlapping pattern within NCCs. Whereas Nrp1 is expressed in NCCs emigrating from hindbrain rhombomere 4 (r4) and within trunk NCCs giving rise to sympathetic and sensory ganglia, Nrp2 is preferentially expressed in NCCs emigrating from r2 and in trunk NCCs giving rise to sensory ganglia. By generating a tamoxifen-inducible lineage-tracing system, we further demonstrate that Nrp2-expressing NCCs specifically populate sensory ganglia including the trigeminal ganglia (V) in the head and the dorsal root ganglia in the trunk. Conclusions Taken together, our results demonstrate that Nrp1 and Nrp2 are expressed in different populations of NCCs, and that Nrp2-expressing NCCs are strongly biased towards a sensory fate. In the trunk, Nrp2-expressing NCCs specifically give rise to sensory ganglia, whereas Nrp1-expressing NCCs likely give rise to both sensory and sympathetic ganglia. Our findings therefore suggest that neuropilins play an essential role in coordinating NCC migration with fate specification.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Neural Development

  • No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: During brain development, neural progenitor cells proliferate and differentiate into neural precursors. These neural precursors migrate along the radial glial processes and localize at their final destination in the cortex. Numerous reports have revealed that 14-3-3 proteins are involved in many neuronal activities, although their functions in neurogenesis remain unclear. Here, using 14-3-3ε/ζ double knock-out mice, we found that 14-3-3 proteins are important for proliferation and differentiation of neural progenitor cells in the cortex, resulting in neuronal migration defects and seizures. 14-3-3 deficiency resulted in the increase of δ-catenin and the decrease of β-catenin and αN-catenin. 14-3-3 proteins regulated neuronal differentiation into neurons via direct interactions with phosphorylated δ-catenin to promote F-actin formation through a catenin/Rho GTPase/Limk1/cofilin signaling pathway. Conversely, neuronal migration defects seen in the double knock-out mice were restored by phosphomimic Ndel1 mutants, but not δ-catenin. Our findings provide new evidence that 14-3-3 proteins play important roles in neurogenesis and neuronal migration via the regulation of distinct signaling cascades.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
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    ABSTRACT: Background Although left-right asymmetries are common features of nervous systems, their developmental bases are largely unknown. In the zebrafish epithalamus, dorsal habenular neurons adopt medial (dHbm) and lateral (dHbl) subnuclear character at very different frequencies on the left and right sides. The left-sided parapineal promotes the elaboration of dHbl character in the left habenula, albeit by an unknown mechanism. Likewise, the genetic pathways acting within habenular neurons to control their asymmetric differentiated character are unknown. Results In a forward genetic screen for mutations that result in loss of habenular asymmetry, we identified two mutant alleles of tcf7l2, a gene that encodes a transcriptional regulator of Wnt signaling. In tcf7l2 mutants, most neurons on both sides differentiate with dHbl identity. Consequently, the habenulae develop symmetrically, with both sides adopting a pronounced leftward character. Tcf7l2 acts cell automously in nascent equipotential neurons, and on the right side, it promotes dHbm and suppresses dHbl differentiation. On the left, the parapineal prevents this Tcf7l2-dependent process, thereby promoting dHbl differentiation. Conclusions Tcf7l2 is essential for lateralized fate selection by habenular neurons that can differentiate along two alternative pathways, thereby leading to major neural circuit asymmetries.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Current Biology
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    Miguel Tillo · Quenten Schwarz · Christiana Ruhrberg
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    ABSTRACT: Embryonic neurons are born in the ventricular zone of the brain, but subsequently migrate to new destinations to reach appropriate targets. Deciphering the molecular signals that cooperatively guide neuronal migration in the embryonic brain is therefore important to understand how the complex neural networks form which later support postnatal life. Facial branchiomotor (FBM) neurons in the mouse embryo hindbrain migrate from rhombomere (r) 4 caudally to form the paired facial nuclei in the r6-derived region of the hindbrain. Here we provide a detailed protocol for wholemount ex vivo culture of mouse embryo hindbrains suitable to investigate the signaling pathways that regulate FBM migration. In this method, hindbrains of E11.5 mouse embryos are dissected and cultured in an open book preparation on cell culture inserts for 24 hr. During this time, FBM neurons migrate caudally towards r6 and can be exposed to function-blocking antibodies and small molecules in the culture media or heparin beads loaded with recombinant proteins to examine roles for signaling pathways implicated in guiding neuronal migration.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Journal of Visualized Experiments
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    ABSTRACT: Dopamine (DA) neurotransmission requires a complex series of enzymatic reactions that are tightly linked to catecholamine exocytosis and receptor interactions on pre- and postsynaptic neurons. Regulation of dopaminergic signalling is primarily achieved through reuptake of extracellular DA by the DA transporter (DAT) on presynaptic neurons. Aberrant regulation of DA signalling, and in particular hyperactivation, has been proposed as a key insult in the presentation of schizophrenia and related neuropsychiatric disorders. We recently identified 14-3-3ζ as an essential component of neurodevelopment and a central risk factor in the schizophrenia protein interaction network. Our analysis of 14-3-3ζ-deficient mice now shows that baseline hyperactivity of knockout (KO) mice is rescued by the antipsychotic drug clozapine. 14-3-3ζ KO mice displayed enhanced locomotor hyperactivity induced by the DA releaser amphetamine. Consistent with 14-3-3ζ having a role in DA signalling, we found increased levels of DA in the striatum of 14-3-3ζ KO mice. Although 14-3-3ζ is proposed to modulate activity of the rate-limiting DA biosynthesis enzyme, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), we were unable to identify any differences in total TH levels, TH localization or TH activation in 14-3-3ζ KO mice. Rather, our analysis identified significantly reduced levels of DAT in the absence of notable differences in RNA or protein levels of DA receptors D1-D5. Providing insight into the mechanisms by which 14-3-3ζ controls DAT stability, we found a physical association between 14-3-3ζ and DAT by co-immunoprecipitation. Taken together, our results identify a novel role for 14-3-3ζ in DA neurotransmission and provide support to the hyperdopaminergic basis of pathologies associated with schizophrenia and related disorders.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Translational Psychiatry
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    ABSTRACT: The integration of multiple morphogenic signalling pathways and transcription factor networks is essential to mediate neural crest (NC) cell induction, delamination, survival, stem-cell properties, fate choice and differentiation. Although the transcriptional control of NC development is well documented in mammals, the role of post-transcriptional modifications, and in particular ubiquitination, has not been explored. Here we report an essential role for the ubiquitin ligase Nedd4 in cranial NC cell development. Our analysis of Nedd4(-/-) embryos identified profound deficiency of cranial NC cells in the absence of structural defects in the neural tube. Nedd4 is expressed in migrating cranial NC cells and was found to positively regulate expression of the NC transcription factors Sox9, Sox10 and FoxD3. We found that in the absence of these factors, a subset of cranial NC cells undergo apoptosis. In accordance with a lack of cranial NC cells, Nedd4(-/-) embryos have deficiency of the trigeminal ganglia, NC derived bone and malformation of the craniofacial skeleton. Our analyses therefore uncover an essential role for Nedd4 in a subset of cranial NC cells and highlight E3 ubiquitin ligases as a likely point of convergence for multiple NC signalling pathways and transcription factor networks.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Developmental Biology
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    Full-text · Dataset · Aug 2013
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    Full-text · Dataset · Aug 2013
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    Q. Schwarz · C.H. Maden · K. Davidson · C. Ruhrberg

    Full-text · Dataset · Aug 2013
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    ABSTRACT: Neural crest cells are a transient population of stem cells that give rise to a diverse range of cell types during embryonic development. Through gain-of-function and loss-of-function studies in several model organisms many key signalling pathways and cell-type specific transcription factors essential for neural crest cell development have been identified. However, the role of post-translational regulation remains largely unexplored. Here we review this cell type with a foray into the known and potential roles of the ubiquitination system in key signalling events during neural crest cell development.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · The international journal of biochemistry & cell biology
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    ABSTRACT: The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) arises from neural crest (NC) cells during embryonic development and innervates the internal organs of vertebrates to modulate their stress response. NRP1 and NRP2 are receptors for guidance cues of the class 3 semaphorin (SEMA) family and are expressed in partially overlapping patterns in sympathetic NC cells and their progeny. By comparing the phenotypes of mice lacking NRP1 or its ligand SEMA3A with mice lacking NRP1 in the sympathetic versus vascular endothelial cell lineages, we demonstrate that SEMA3A signalling through NRP1 has multiple cell-autonomous roles in SNS development. These roles include neuronal cell body positioning, neuronal aggregation and axon guidance, first during sympathetic chain assembly and then to regulate the innervation of the heart and aorta. Loss of NRP2 or its ligand SEMA3F impaired sympathetic gangliogenesis more mildly than loss of SEMA3A/NRP1 signalling, but caused ectopic neurite extension along the embryonic aorta. The analysis of compound mutants lacking SEMA3A and SEMA3F or NRP1 and NRP2 in the SNS demonstrated that both signalling pathways cooperate to organise the SNS. We further show that abnormal sympathetic development in mice lacking NRP1 in the sympathetic lineage has functional consequences, as it causes sinus bradycardia, similar to mice lacking SEMA3A.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2012 · Developmental Biology

Publication Stats

1k Citations
199.38 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2014-2015
    • Centre for Cancer Biology
      Tarndarnya, South Australia, Australia
    • University of South Australia
      Tarndarnya, South Australia, Australia
  • 2004-2014
    • University College London
      • • Institute of Ophthalmology
      • • Department of Cell and Developmental Biology
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 2013
    • University of Adelaide
      • School of Medicine
      Tarndarnya, South Australia, Australia
  • 2009-2013
    • Adelaide Cancer Centre
      Tarndarnya, South Australia, Australia
  • 2011
    • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
      • Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology
      Urbana, Illinois, United States