Artur Kania

McGill University, Montréal, Quebec, Canada

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Publications (53)392.42 Total impact

  • Artur Kania · Rüdiger Klein
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    ABSTRACT: Eph receptor Tyr kinases and their membrane-tethered ligands, the ephrins, elicit short-distance cell-cell signalling and thus regulate many developmental processes at the interface between pattern formation and morphogenesis, including cell sorting and positioning, and the formation of segmented structures and ordered neural maps. Their roles extend into adulthood, when ephrin-Eph signalling regulates neuronal plasticity, homeostatic events and disease processes. Recently, new insights have been gained into the mechanisms of ephrin-Eph signalling in different cell types, and into the physiological importance of ephrin-Eph in different organs and in disease, raising questions for future research directions.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology

  • No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
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    ABSTRACT: During neural circuit assembly, axonal growth cones are exposed to multiple guidance signals at trajectory choice points. While axonal responses to individual guidance cues have been extensively studied, less is known about responses to combination of signals and underlying molecular mechanisms. Here, we studied the convergence of signals directing trajectory selection of spinal motor axons entering the limb. We first demonstrate that Netrin-1 attracts and repels distinct motor axon populations, according to their expression of Netrin receptors. Quantitative in vitro assays demonstrate that motor axons synergistically integrate both, attractive or repulsive Netrin-1 signals together with repulsive ephrin signals. Our investigations of the mechanism of ephrin-B2 and Netrin-1 integration demonstrate that the Netrin receptor Unc5c and the ephrin receptor EphB2 can form a complex in a ligand-dependent manner and that Netrin-ephrin synergistic growth cones responses involve the potentiation of Src family kinase signaling, a common effector of both pathways.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2015 · eLife Sciences

  • No preview · Conference Paper · Dec 2015
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    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015
  • Chris Law · Matthijs Verhage · Artur Kania

    No preview · Article · Dec 2015
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    Daryan Chitsaz · Daniel Morales · Chris Law · Artur Kania
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    ABSTRACT: During neural circuit development, attractive or repulsive guidance cue molecules direct growth cones (GCs) to their targets by eliciting cytoskeletal remodeling, which is reflected in their morphology. The experimental power of in vitro neuronal cultures to assay this process and its molecular mechanisms is well established, however, a method to rapidly find and quantify multiple morphological aspects of GCs is lacking. To this end, we have developed a free, easy to use, and fully automated Fiji macro, Conographer, which accurately identifies and measures many morphological parameters of GCs in 2D explant culture images. These measurements are then subjected to principle component analysis and k-means clustering to mathematically classify the GCs as "collapsed" or "extended". The morphological parameters measured for each GC are found to be significantly different between collapsed and extended GCs, and are sufficient to classify GCs as such with the same level of accuracy as human observers. Application of a known collapse-inducing ligand results in significant changes in all parameters, resulting in an increase in 'collapsed' GCs determined by k-means clustering, as expected. Our strategy provides a powerful tool for exploring the relationship between GC morphology and guidance cue signaling, which in particular will greatly facilitate high-throughput studies of the effects of drugs, gene silencing or overexpression, or any other experimental manipulation in the context of an in vitro axon guidance assay.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Netrin-1 regulates cell migration and adhesion during the development of the nervous system, vasculature, lung, pancreas, muscle, and mammary gland. It is also proposed to function as a dependence ligand that inhibits apoptosis; however, studies disagree regarding whether netrin-1 loss-of-function mice exhibit increased cell death. Furthermore, previously studied netrin-1 loss-of-function gene-trap mice express a netrin-1-β-galactosidase protein chimera with potential for toxic gain-of-function effects, as well as a small amount of wild-type netrin-1 protein. To unambiguously assess loss of function, we generated netrin-1 floxed and netrin-1 null mouse lines. Netrin-1(-/-) mice die earlier and exhibit more severe axon guidance defects than netrin-1 gene-trap mice, revealing that complete loss of function is more severe than previously reported. Netrin-1(-/-) embryos also exhibit increased expression of the netrin receptors DCC and neogenin that are proposed dependence receptors; however, increased apoptosis was not detected, inconsistent with netrin-1 being an essential dependence receptor ligand in the embryonic spinal cord.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Cell Reports
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    ABSTRACT: Spinal cord neurons respond to peripheral noxious stimuli and relay this information to higher brain centers, but the molecules controlling the assembly of such pathways are poorly known. In this study, we use the intersection of Lmx1b and Hoxb8::Cre expression in the spinal cord to genetically define nociceptive circuits. Specifically, we show that Lmx1b, previously shown to be expressed in glutamatergic dorsal horn neurons and critical for dorsal horn development, is expressed in nociceptive dorsal horn neurons and that its deletion results in the specific loss of excitatory dorsal horn neurons by apoptosis, without any effect on inhibitory neuron numbers. To assess the behavioral consequences of Lmx1b deletion in the spinal cord, we used the brain-sparing driver Hoxb8::Cre. We show that such a deletion of Lmxb1 leads to a robust reduction in sensitivity to mechanical and thermal noxious stimulation. Furthermore, such conditional mutant mice show a loss of a subpopulation of glutamatergic dorsal horn neurons, abnormal sensory afferent innervations, and reduced spinofugal innervation of the parabrachial nucleus and the periaqueductal gray, important nociceptive structures. Together, our results demonstrate an important role for the intersection of Lmx1b and Hoxb8::cre expression in the development of nociceptive dorsal horn circuits critical for mechanical and thermal pain processing. Copyright © 2015 the authors 0270-6474/15/355233-14$15.00/0.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
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    ABSTRACT: Axonal guidance involves extrinsic molecular cues that bind growth cone receptors and signal to the cytoskeleton through divergent pathways. Some signaling intermediates are deployed downstream of molecularly distinct axon guidance receptor families, but the scope of this overlap is unclear, as is the impact of embryonic axon guidance fidelity on adult nervous system function. Here, we demonstrate that the Rho-GTPase-activating protein α2-chimaerin is specifically required for EphA and not EphB receptor signaling in mouse and chick spinal motor axons. Reflecting this specificity, the loss of α2-chimaerin function disrupts the limb trajectory of extensor-muscle-innervating motor axons the guidance of which depends on EphA signaling. These embryonic defects affect coordinated contraction of antagonistic flexor-extensor muscles in the adult, indicating that accurate embryonic motor axon guidance is critical for optimal neuromuscular function. Together, our observations provide the first functional evidence of an Eph receptor-class-specific intracellular signaling protein that is required for appropriate neuromuscular connectivity. Copyright © 2015 the authors 0270-6474/15/352344-14$15.00/0.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Proteolytic processing of axon guidance receptors modulates their expression and functions. Contact repulsion by membrane-associated ephrins and Eph receptors was proposed to be facilitated by ectodomain cleavage, but whether this phenomenon is required for axon guidance in vivo is unknown. Results: In support of established models, we find that cleavage of EphA4 promotes cell-cell and growth cone-cell detachment in vitro. Unexpectedly, however, a cleavage resistant isoform of EphA4 is as effective as a wild-type EphA4 in redirecting motor axons in limbs. Mice in which EphA4 cleavage is genetically abolished have motor axon guidance defects, suggesting an important role of EphA4 cleavage in nonneuronal tissues such as the limb mesenchyme target of spinal motor neurons. Indeed, we find that blocking EphA4 cleavage increases expression of full-length EphA4 in limb mesenchyme, which—via cis-attenuation—apparently reduces the effective concentration of ephrinAs capable of triggering EphA4 forward signaling in the motor axons. Conclusions: We propose that EphA4 cleavage is required to establish the concentration differential of active ephrins in the target tissue that is required for proper axon guidance. Our study reveals a novel mechanism to regulate guidance decision at an intermediate target based on the modulation of ligand availability by the proteolytic processing of the receptor.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2014 · Current Biology
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    Chris Law · Michel Paquet · Artur Kania
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    ABSTRACT: In the developing nervous system, ordered neuronal activity patterns can occur even in the absence of sensory input and to investigate how these arise, we have used the model system of the embryonic chicken spinal motor circuit, focusing on motor neurons of the lateral motor column (LMC). At the earliest stages of their molecular differentiation, we can detect differences between medial and lateral LMC neurons in terms of expression of neurotransmitter receptor subunits, including CHRNA5, CHRNA7, GRIN2A, GRIK1, HTR1A and HTR1B, as well as the KCC2 transporter. Using patch-clamp recordings we also demonstrate that medial and lateral LMC motor neurons have subtly different activity patterns that reflect the differential expression of neurotransmitter receptor subunits. Using a combination of patch-clamp recordings in single neurons and calcium-imaging of motor neuron populations, we demonstrate that inhibition of nicotinic, muscarinic or GABA-ergic activity, has profound effects of motor circuit activity during the initial stages of neuromuscular junction formation. Finally, by analysing the activity of large populations of motor neurons at different developmental stages, we show that the asynchronous, disordered neuronal activity that occurs at early stages of circuit formation develops into organised, synchronous activity evident at the stage of LMC neuron muscle innervation. In light of the considerable diversity of neurotransmitter receptor expression, activity patterns in the LMC are surprisingly similar between neuronal types, however the emergence of patterned activity, in conjunction with the differential expression of transmitter systems likely leads to the development of near-mature patterns of locomotor activity by perinatal ages.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    Artur Kania

    Preview · Article · Apr 2014 · PLoS Genetics
  • Rüdiger Klein · Artur Kania
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    ABSTRACT: Ephrin ligands and their Eph receptors hold our attention since their link to axon guidance almost twenty years ago. Since then, they have been shown to be critical for short distance cell-cell interactions in the nervous system. The interest in their function has not abated, leading to ever-more sophisticated studies generating as many surprising answers about their function as new questions. We discuss recent insights into their functions in the developing nervous system, including neuronal progenitor sorting, stochastic cell migration, guidance of neuronal growth cones, topographic map formation, as well as synaptic plasticity.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Current opinion in neurobiology
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    ABSTRACT: Muscle fibers form as a result of myoblast fusion, yet the cell surface receptors regulating this process are unknown in vertebrates. In Drosophila, myoblast fusion involves the activation of the Rac pathway by the guanine nucleotide exchange factor Myoblast City and its scaffolding protein ELMO, downstream of cell-surface cell-adhesion receptors. We previously showed that the mammalian ortholog of Myoblast City, DOCK1, functions in an evolutionarily conserved manner to promote myoblast fusion in mice. In search for regulators of myoblast fusion, we identified the G-protein coupled receptor brain-specific angiogenesis inhibitor (BAI3) as a cell surface protein that interacts with ELMO. In cultured cells, BAI3 or ELMO1/2 loss of function severely impaired myoblast fusion without affecting differentiation and cannot be rescued by reexpression of BAI3 mutants deficient in ELMO binding. The related BAI protein family member, BAI1, is functionally distinct from BAI3, because it cannot rescue the myoblast fusion defects caused by the loss of BAI3 function. Finally, embryonic muscle precursor expression of a BAI3 mutant unable to bind ELMO was sufficient to block myoblast fusion in vivo. Collectively, our findings provide a role for BAI3 in the relay of extracellular fusion signals to their intracellular effectors, identifying it as an essential transmembrane protein for embryonic vertebrate myoblast fusion.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2014 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: The establishment of anatomically stereotyped axonal projections is fundamental to neuronal function. While most neurons project their axons within the central nervous system (CNS), only axons of centrally born motoneurons and peripherally born sensory neurons link the CNS and peripheral nervous system (PNS) together by navigating through specialized CNS/PNS transition zones. Such selective restriction is of importance because inappropriate CNS axonal exit could lead to loss of correct connectivity and also to gain of erroneous functions. However, to date, surprisingly little is known about the molecular-genetic mechanisms that regulate how central axons are confined within the CNS during development. Here, we show that netrin 1/Dcc/Unc5 chemotropism contributes to axonal confinement within the CNS. In both Ntn1 and Dcc mutant mouse embryos, some spinal interneuronal axons exit the CNS by traversing the CNS/PNS transition zones normally reserved for motor and sensory axons. We provide evidence that netrin 1 signalling preserves CNS/PNS axonal integrity in three ways: (1) netrin 1/Dcc ventral attraction diverts axons away from potential exit points; (2) a Dcc/Unc5c-dependent netrin 1 chemoinhibitory barrier in the dorsolateral spinal cord prevents interneurons from being close to the dorsal CNS/PNS transition zone; and (3) a netrin 1/Dcc-dependent, Unc5c-independent mechanism that actively prevents exit from the CNS. Together, these findings provide insights into the molecular mechanisms that maintain CNS/PNS integrity and, to the best of our knowledge, present the first evidence that chemotropic signalling regulates interneuronal CNS axonal confinement in vertebrates.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · Development
  • Rüdiger Klein · Artur Kania
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    ABSTRACT: Ephrin ligands and their Eph receptors hold our attention since their link to axon guidance almost twenty years ago. Since then, they have been shown to be critical for short distance cell–cell interactions in the nervous system. The interest in their function has not abated, leading to ever-more sophisticated studies generating as many surprising answers about their function as new questions. We discuss recent insights into their functions in the developing nervous system, including neuronal progenitor sorting, stochastic cell migration, guidance of neuronal growth cones, topographic map formation, as well as synaptic plasticity.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2014
  • Artur Kania
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    ABSTRACT: The nervous system displays a high degree of topographic organisation such that neuronal soma position is closely correlated to axonal trajectory. One example of such order is the myotopic organisation of the motor system where spinal motor neuron position parallels that of target muscles. This chapter will discuss the molecular mechanisms underlying motor neuron soma positioning, which include transcriptional control of Reelin signaling and cadherin expression. As the same transcription factors have been shown to control motor axon innervation of target muscles, a simple mechanism of topographic organisation specification is becoming evident raising the question of how coordinating soma position with axon trajectory might be important for nervous system wiring and its function.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2014 · Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
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    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
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    ABSTRACT: Classic studies have proposed that genetically encoded programs and spontaneous activity play complementary but independent roles in the development of neural circuits. Recent evidence, however, suggests that these two mechanisms could interact extensively, with spontaneous activity affecting the expression and function of guidance molecules at early developmental stages. Here, using the developing chick spinal cord and the mouse visual system to ectopically express the inwardly rectifying potassium channel Kir2.1 in individual embryonic neurons, we demonstrate that cell-intrinsic blockade of spontaneous activity in vivo does not affect neuronal identity specification, axon pathfinding, or EphA/ephrinA signaling during the development of topographic maps. However, intrinsic spontaneous activity is critical for axon branching and pruning once axonal growth cones reach their correct topographic position in the target tissues. Our experiments argue for the dissociation of spontaneous activity from hard-wired developmental programs in early phases of neural circuit formation.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Publication Stats

2k Citations
392.42 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2008-2015
    • McGill University
      • • Division of Experimental Medicine
      • • Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • 2006-2015
    • Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • 2011-2014
    • Université de Montréal
      • Department of Medicine
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • 2013
    • Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche
      • Instituto de Neurociencias
      Elche, Valencia, Spain
  • 1999-2006
    • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
      Ашбърн, Virginia, United States
  • 2005
    • Baylor College of Medicine
      • Department of Molecular & Human Genetics
      Houston, Texas, United States