[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although conversion of the cellular form of the prion protein (PrPC) into a misfolded isoform is the underlying cause of prion diseases, understanding PrPC physiological functions has remained challenging. PrPC depletion or overexpression alters the proliferation and differentiation properties of various types of stem and progenitor cells in vitro by unknown mechanisms. Such involvement remains uncertain in vivo in the absence of any drastic phenotype of mice lacking PrPC. Here, we report PrPC enrichment at the base of the primary cilium in stem and progenitor cells from the central nervous system and cardiovascular system of developing mouse embryos. PrPC depletion in a neuroepithelial cell line dramatically altered key cilium-dependent processes, such as Sonic hedgehog signalling and alpha-tubulin post-translational modifications. These processes were also affected over a limited time window in PrPC-ablated embryos. Thus, our study reveals PrPC as a potential actor in the developmental regulation of microtubule dynamics and ciliary functions.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Scientific Reports
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Preeclampsia is a disease of pregnancy involving systemic endothelial dysfunction. However, cardiovascular consequences of preeclampsia are difficult to analyze in humans. The objective of the present study is to evaluate the cardiovascular dysfunction induced by preeclampsia by examining the endothelium of mice suffering of severe preeclampsia induced by STOX1 overexpression. Using Next Generation Sequencing on endothelial cells of mice carrying either transgenic or control embryos, we discovered significant alterations of gene networks involved in inflammation, cell cycle, and cardiac hypertrophy. In addition, the heart of the preeclamptic mice revealed cardiac hypertrophy associated with histological anomalies. Bioinformatics comparison of the networks of modified genes in the endothelial cells of the preeclamptic mice and HUVECs exposed to plasma from preeclamptic women identified striking similarities. The cardiovascular alterations in the pregnant mice are comparable to those endured by the cardiovascular system of preeclamptic women. The STOX1 mice could help to better understand the endothelial dysfunction in the context of preeclampsia, and guide the search for efficient therapies able to protect the maternal endothelium during the disease and its aftermath.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Scientific Reports
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Three genes of the prion protein gene family are expressed in gonads. Comparative analyses of their expression patterns in mice and goats revealed constant expression of PRNP and SPRN in both species and in both male and female gonads, but with a weaker expression of SPRN. By contrast, expression of PRND was found to be sex-dimorphic, in agreement with its role in spermatogenesis. More importantly, our study revealed that PRND seems to be a key marker of foetal Leydig cells specifically in goats, suggesting a yet unknown role for its encoded protein Doppel during gonadal differentiation in nonrodent mammals.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammalian prions are proteinaceous infectious agents composed of misfolded assemblies of the host-encoded, cellular prion protein (PrP). Physiologically, the 23-31 N-terminal polybasic region of PrP has been shown to be involved in its endocytic trafficking and interactions with glycosaminoglycans or putative ectodomains of membrane-associated proteins. Several recent reports also describe this PrP region as important for the toxicity of mutant prion proteins and the efficiency of prion propagation, both
. The question remains as to whether the latter observations made with mouse PrP and mouse prions would be relevant to other PrP species/prion strain combinations given the dramatic impact on prion susceptibility of minimal amino acid substitution and structural variations in PrP. Here, we report that transgenic mouse lines expressing ovine PrP deleted for residues 23-26 (KKRP) or mutated in this N-terminal region (KQHPH instead of KKRPK) exhibited a variable, strain-dependent susceptibility to prion infection with regard to the proportion of affected mice and disease tempo relative to their wild-type counterparts. Deletion has no major effect on 127S scrapie prion pathogenesis, whereas mutation increased by almost 3-fold the survival time of the mice. Deletion marginally affected the incubation time of scrapie LA19K and ovine BSE prions, whereas mutation caused apparent resistance to disease.
Recent reports suggested that the N-terminal polybasic region of the prion protein could be a therapeutic target to prevent prion propagation or toxic signaling associated with more common neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. Mutating or deleting this region in ovine PrP completes the data previously obtained with the mouse protein, by identifying the key amino acid residues involved.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of Virology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are a group of neurodegenerative diseases affecting a wide range of mammalian species. They are caused by prions, a proteinaceous pathogen essentially composed of PrPSc, an abnormal isoform of the host encoded cellular prion protein PrPC. Constrained steric interactions between PrPSc and PrPC are thought to provide prions with species specificity, and to control cross-species transmission into other host populations, including humans. Transgenetic expression of foreign PrP genes has been successfully and widely used to overcome the recognized resistance of mouse to foreign TSE sources. Rabbit is one of the species that exhibit a pronounced resistance to TSEs. Most attempts to infect experimentally rabbit have failed, except after inoculation with cell-free generated rabbit prions. To gain insights on the molecular determinants of the relative resistance of rabbits to prions, we generated transgenic rabbits expressing the susceptible V136R154Q171 allele of the ovine PRNP gene on a rabbit wild type PRNP New Zealand background and assessed their experimental susceptibility to scrapie prions. All transgenic animals developed a typical TSE 6-8 months after intracerebral inoculation, whereas wild type rabbits remained healthy more than 700 days after inoculation. Despite the endogenous presence of rabbit PrPC, only ovine PrPSc was detectable in the brains of diseased animals. Collectively these data indicate that the low susceptibility of rabbits to prion infection is not enciphered within their non-PrP genetic background.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The deletion of the cellular form of the prion protein (PrP(C)) in mouse, goat, and cattle has no drastic phenotypic consequence. This stands in apparent contradiction with PrP(C) quasi-ubiquitous expression and conserved primary and tertiary structures in mammals, and its pivotal role in neurodegenerative diseases such as prion and Alzheimer's diseases. In zebrafish embryos, depletion of PrP ortholog leads to a severe loss-of-function phenotype. This raises the question of a potential role of PrP(C) in the development of all vertebrates. This view is further supported by the early expression of the PrP(C) encoding gene (Prnp) in many tissues of the mouse embryo, the transient disruption of a broad number of cellular pathways in early Prnp(-/-) mouse embryos, and a growing body of evidence for PrP(C) involvement in the regulation of cell proliferation and differentiation in various types of mammalian stem cells and progenitors. Finally, several studies in both zebrafish embryos and in mammalian cells and tissues in formation support a role for PrP(C) in cell adhesion, extra-cellular matrix interactions and cytoskeleton. In this review, we summarize and compare the different models used to decipher PrP(C) functions at early developmental stages during embryo- and organo-genesis and discuss their relevance.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cellular prion protein PrP(C) was initially discovered as the normal counterpart of the pathological scrapie prion protein PrP(Sc), the main component of the infectious agent of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies. While clues as to the physiological function of this ubiquitous protein were greatly anticipated from the development of knockout animals, PrP-null mice turned out to be viable and to develop without major phenotypic abnormalities. Notwithstanding, the discovery that hematopoietic stem cells from PrP-null mice have impaired long-term repopulating potential has set the stage for investigating into the role of PrP(C) in stem cell biology. A wealth of data have now exemplified that PrP(C) is expressed in distinct types of stem cells and regulates their self-renewal as well as their differentiation potential. A role for PrP(C) in the fate restriction of embryonic stem cells has further been proposed. Paralleling these observations, an overexpression of PrP(C) has been documented in various types of tumors. In line with the contribution of PrP(C) to stemness and to the proliferation of cancer cells, PrP(C) was recently found to be enriched in subpopulations of tumor-initiating cells. In the present review, we summarize the current knowledge of the role played by PrP(C) in stem cell biology and discuss how the subversion of its function may contribute to cancer progression.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Based on its developmental pattern of expression, early studies suggested the implication of the mammalian Prion protein PrP, a glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored ubiquitously expressed and evolutionary conserved glycoprotein encoded by the Prnp gene, in early embryogenesis. However, gene invalidation in several species did not result in obvious developmental abnormalities and it was only recently that it was associated in mice with intra-uterine growth retardation and placental dysfunction. A proposed explanation for this lack of easily detectable developmental-related phenotype is the existence in the genome of one or more gene (s) able to compensate for the absence of PrP. Indeed, two other members of the Prnp gene family have been recently described, Doppel and Shadoo, and the consequences of their invalidation alongside that of PrP tested in mice. No embryonic defect was observed in mice depleted for Doppel and PrP. Interestingly, the co-invalidation of PrP and Shadoo in two independent studies led to apparently conflicting observations, with no apparent consequences in one report and the observation of a developmental defect of the ectoplacental cone that leads to early embryonic lethality in the other. This short review aims at summarizing these recent, apparently conflicting data highlighting the related biological questions and associated implications in terms of animal and human health.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Unlabelled:
The dietary exposure of the human population to the prions responsible for the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) epizooty has led to the emergence of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). This fatal, untreatable neurodegenerative disorder is a growing public health concern because the prevalence of the infection seems much greater than the disease incidence and because secondary transmission of vCJD by blood transfusion or use of blood products has occurred. A current limitation in variant CJD risk assessment is the lack of quantitative information on the infectivity of contaminated tissues. To address this limitation, we tested the potential of a transgenic mouse line overexpressing human prion protein (PrP), which was previously reported to propagate vCJD prions. Endpoint titration of vCJD infectivity in different tissues was evaluated by two different methods: (i) the "classical" bioassay, based on the appearance of clinical symptoms and the detection of pathological prion protein in tissues of the inoculated mouse, and (ii) a shortened bioassay based on the detection of the protein in the mouse spleen at defined time points. The two methods proved equally sensitive in quantifying infectivity, even after very-low-dose inoculation of infected material, but the time schedule was shortened from ~2.5 years to ~1 year with the spleen bioassay. Compared to the "gold-standard" RIII model routinely used for endpoint titration of vCJD/BSE prions, either method improved the sensitivity by >2 orders of magnitude and allowed reevaluating the infectious titer of spleen from a vCJD individual at disease end stage to >1,000-fold-higher values.
Here, we provide key reevaluation of the infectious titer of variant CJD brain and spleen tissues. The highly sensitive, accelerated spleen-based assay should thus constitute a key advance for variant CJD epidemiological and risk assessment purposes and should greatly facilitate future titration studies, including, for example, those aimed at validating decontamination procedures. The overlooked notion that the lymphoid tissue exhibits a higher capacity than the brain to replicate prions even after low-dose infection raises new questions about the molecular and/or cellular determinant(s) involved, a key issue regarding potent silent carriers of variant CJD in the lymphoid tissue.
Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Journal of Virology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aims:
Storkhead box 1 (STOX1) is a winged-helix transcription factor that is implicated in the genetic forms of a high-prevalence human gestational disease, pre-eclampsia. STOX1 overexpression confers pre-eclampsia-like transcriptomic features to trophoblastic cell lines and pre-eclampsia symptoms to pregnant mice. The aim of this work was to evaluate the impact of STOX1 on free radical equilibrium and mitochondrial function, both in vitro and in vivo.
Transcriptome analysis of STOX1-transgenic versus nontransgenic placentas at 16.5 days of gestation revealed alterations of mitochondria-related pathways. Placentas overexpressing STOX1 displayed altered mitochondrial mass and were severely biased toward protein nitration, indicating nitroso-redox imbalance in vivo. Trophoblast cells overexpressing STOX1 displayed an increased mitochondrial activity at 20% O2 and in hypoxia, despite reduction of the mitochondrial mass in the former. STOX1 overexpression is, therefore, associated with hyperactive mitochondria, resulting in increased free radical production. Moreover, nitric oxide (NO) production pathways were activated, resulting in peroxynitrite formation. At low oxygen pressure, STOX1 overexpression switched the free radical balance from reactive oxygen species (ROS) to reactive nitrogen species (RNS) in the placenta as well as in a trophoblast cell line.
In pre-eclamptic placentas, NO interacts with ROS and generates peroxynitrite and nitrated proteins as end products. This process will deprive the maternal organism of NO, a crucial vasodilator molecule.
Our data posit STOX1 as a genetic switch in the ROS/RNS balance and suggest an explanation for elevated blood pressure in pre-eclampsia.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In naturally acquired transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, the pathogenic agents or prions spread from the sites of initial peripheral uptake or replication to the brain where they cause progressive and fatal neurodegeneration. Routing via the peripheral nervous system is considered as one of the main pathways to attain the central nervous system. Replication of prions in Schwann cells is viewed as a potentially important parameter for efficient prion spread along nerves. Here we used a Cre-loxP mouse transgenetic approach to disrupt PrPC specifically in myelinating Schwann cells. Despite the use of infection routes targeting highly myelinated nerves, there was no alteration in mouse prion pathogenesis, suggesting that conversion-dependent, centripetal spread of prions does not crucially rely on PrPC expressed by myelinating Schwann cells.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Journal of General Virology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Preeclampsia (PE) is a common human-specific pregnancy disorder defined by hypertension and proteinuria during gestation and responsible for maternal and fetal morbimortality. STOX1, encoding a transcription factor, was the first gene associated with PE as identified by positional cloning approaches. Its overexpression in choriocarcinoma cells mimics the transcriptional consequences of PE in the human placenta. Here, we created transgenic mouse strains overexpressing human STOX1. Wild-type female mice crossed with transgenic male mice reproduce accurately the symptoms of severe PE: gestational hypertension, proteinuria, and elevated plasma levels of soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1 and soluble endoglin. Placental and kidney histology were altered. Symptoms were prevented or alleviated by aspirin treatment. STOX1-overexpressing mice constitute a unique model for studying PE, allow testing therapeutic approaches, and assessing the long-term effects of the preeclamptic syndrome.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although the pivotal implication of the host-encoded Prion protein, PrP, in the neuropathology of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy is known for decades, its biological role remains mostly elusive. Genetic inactivation is one way to assess such issue but, so far, PrP-knockout mice did not help much. However, recent reports involving (1) further studies of these mice during embryogenesis, (2) knockdown experiments in Zebrafish and (3) knockdown of Shadoo, a protein with PrP-like functional domains, in PrP-knockout mice, all suggested a role of the Prion protein family in early embryogenesis. This view is challenged by the recent report that PrP/Shadoo knockout mice are healthy and fertile. Although puzzling, these apparently contradictory data may on the contrary help at deciphering the Prion protein family role through focusing scientific attention outside the central nervous system and by helping the identification of other loci involved in the genetic robustness associated with PrP.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Myostatin, a member of the TGFβ superfamily, is well known as a potent and specific negative regulator of muscle growth. Targeting the myostatin signalling pathway may offer promising therapeutic strategies for the treatment of muscle-wasting disorders. In the last decade, various myostatin-binding proteins have been identified to be able to inhibit myostatin activity. One of these is GASP1 (Growth and Differentiation Factor-Associated Serum Protein-1), a protein containing a follistatin domain as well as multiple domains associated with protease inhibitors. Despite in vitro data, remarkably little is known about in vivo functions of Gasp1. To further address the role of GASP1 during mouse development and in adulthood, we generated a gain-of-function transgenic mouse model that overexpresses Gasp1 under transcriptional control of the human cytomegalovirus immediate-early promoter/enhancer.
Overexpression of Gasp1 led to an increase in muscle mass observed not before day 15 of postnatal life. The surGasp1 transgenic mice did not display any other gross abnormality. Histological and morphometric analysis of surGasp1 rectus femoris muscles revealed an increase in myofiber size without a corresponding increase in myofiber number. Fiber-type distribution was unaltered. Interestingly, we do not detect a change in total fat mass and lean mass. These results differ from those for myostatin knockout mice, transgenic mice overexpressing the myostatin propeptide or follistatin which exhibit both muscle hypertrophy and hyperplasia, and show minimal fat deposition.
Altogether, our data give new insight into the in vivo functions of Gasp1. As an extracellular regulatory factor in the myostatin signalling pathway, additional studies on GASP1 and its homolog GASP2 are required to elucidate the crosstalk between the different intrinsic inhibitors of the myostatin.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MicroRNA (miRNA) are negative regulators of gene expression, capable of exerting pronounced influences upon the translation and stability of mRNA. They are potential regulators of normal mammary gland development and of the maintenance of mammary epithelial progenitor cells. This study was undertaken to determine the role of miR-30b on the establishment of a functional mouse mammary gland. miR-30b is a member of the miR-30 family, composed of 6 miRNA that are highly conserved in vertebrates. It has been suggested to play a role in the differentiation of several cell types.
The expression of miR-30b was found to be regulated during mammary gland development. Transgenic mice overexpressing miR-30b in mammary epithelial cells were used to investigate its role. During lactation, mammary histological analysis of the transgenic mice showed a reduction in the size of alveolar lumen, a defect of the lipid droplets and a growth defect of pups fed by transgenic females. Moreover some mammary epithelial differentiated structures persisted during involution, suggesting a delay in the process. The genes whose expression was affected by the overexpression of miR-30b were characterized by microarray analysis.
Our data suggests that miR-30b is important for the biology of the mammary gland and demonstrates that the deregulation of only one miRNA could affect lactation and involution.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The potential requirement of either the Prion or Shadoo protein for early mouse embryogenesis was recently suggested. However, the current data did not allow to precise the developmental process that was affected in the absence of both proteins and that led to the observed early lethal phenotype. In the present study, using various Prnp transgenic mouse lines and lentiviral vectors expressing shRNAs that target the Shadoo-encoding mRNA, we further demonstrate the specific requirement of at least one of these two PrP-related proteins at early developmental stages. Histological analysis reveals developmental defect of the ectoplacental cone and important hemorrhage surrounding the Prnp-knockout-Sprn-knockdown E7.5 embryos. By restricting the RNA interference to the trophoblastic cell lineages, the observed lethal phenotype could be attributed to the sole role of these proteins in this trophectoderm-derived compartment. RNAseq analysis performed on early embryos of various Prnp and Sprn genotypes indicated that the simultaneous down-regulation of these two proteins affects cell-adhesion and inflammatory pathways as well as the expression of ectoplacental-specific genes. Overall, our data provide biological clues in favor of a crucial and complementary embryonic role of the prion protein family in Eutherians and emphasizes the need to further evaluate its implication in normal and pathological human placenta biology.