[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The epicardium has a critical role during embryonic development, contributing epicardium-derived lineages to the heart, as well as providing regulatory and trophic signals necessary for myocardial development. Crim1 is a unique trans-membrane protein expressed by epicardial and epicardially-derived cells but its role in cardiogenesis is unknown. Using knockout mouse models, we observe that loss of Crim1 leads to congenital heart defects including epicardial defects and hypoplastic ventricular compact myocardium. Epicardium-restricted deletion of Crim1 results in increased epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and invasion of the myocardium in vivo, and an increased migration of primary epicardial cells. Furthermore, Crim1 appears to be necessary for the proliferation of epicardium-derived cells (EPDCs) and for their subsequent differentiation into cardiac fibroblasts. It is also required for normal levels of cardiomyocyte proliferation and apoptosis, consistent with a role in regulating epicardium-derived trophic factors that act on the myocardium. Mechanistically, Crim1 may also modulate key developmentally expressed growth factors such as TGFβs, as changes in the downstream effectors phospho-SMAD2 and phospho-ERK1/2 are observed in the absence of Crim1. Collectively, our data demonstrates that Crim1 is essential for cell-autonomous and paracrine aspects of heart development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transcription factors act during cortical development as master regulatory genes that specify cortical arealization and cellular identities. Although numerous transcription factors have been identified as being crucial for cortical development, little is known about their downstream targets and how they mediate the emergence of specific neuronal connections via selective axon guidance. The EMX transcription factors are essential for early patterning of the cerebral cortex, but whether EMX1 mediates interhemispheric connectivity by controlling corpus callosum formation remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that in mice on the C57Bl/6 background EMX1 plays an essential role in the midline crossing of an axonal subpopulation of the corpus callosum derived from the anterior cingulate cortex. In the absence of EMX1, cingulate axons display reduced expression of the axon guidance receptor NRP1 and form aberrant axonal bundles within the rostral corpus callosum. EMX1 also functions as a transcriptional activator of Nrp1 expression in vitro, and overexpression of this protein in Emx1 knockout mice rescues the midline-crossing phenotype. These findings reveal a novel role for the EMX1 transcription factor in establishing cortical connectivity by regulating the interhemispheric wiring of a subpopulation of neurons within the mouse anterior cingulate cortex.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cell adhesion molecules play a central role in mediating axonal tract development within the nascent nervous system. NF-protocadherin (NFPC), a member of the non-clustered protocadherin family, has been shown to regulate retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axon and dendrite initiation, as well as influencing axonal navigation within the mid-optic tract. However, whether NFPC mediates RGC axonal behaviour at other positions within the optic pathway remains unclear. Here we report that NFPC plays an important role in RGC axonogenesis, but not in intraretinal guidance. Moreover, axons with reduced NFPC levels exhibit insensitivity to Netrin-1, an attractive guidance cue expressed at the optic nerve head. Netrin-1 induces rapid turnover of NFPC localized to RGC growth cones, suggesting that the regulation of NFPC protein levels may underlie Netrin-1-mediated entry of RGC axons into the optic nerve head. At the tectum, we further reveal a function for NFPC in controlling RGC axonal entry into the final target area. Collectively, our results expand our understanding of the role of NFPC in RGC guidance and illustrate that this adhesion molecule contributes to axon behaviour at multiple points in the optic pathway.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Murine postnatal neural stem cells (NSCs) give rise to either neurons, astrocytes or oligodendrocytes, however our knowledge of the genes that control this lineage-specification is incomplete. Here we show that Nuclear Factor I X (NFIX), a transcription factor known to regulate NSC quiescence, also suppresses oligodendrogenesis (ODG) from NSCs. Immunostaining reveals little or no expression of NFIX in oligodendrocyte (OL)-lineage cells both in vivo and in vitro. Loss of NFIX from subventricular zone NSCs results in enhanced ODG both in vivo and in vitro, while forced expression of NFIX blocks NSC differentiation into OLs in vitro. RNA-seq analysis shows that genes previously shown to be differentially expressed in OL progenitors are significantly enriched in RNA from Nfix-/- vs. wild type NSCs. These data indicate that NFIX influences the lineage-specification of postnatal subventricular zone NSCs, specifically suppressing ODG.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Stem cells and development
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Local protein synthesis (LPS) via receptor-mediated signaling plays a role in the directional responses of axons to extrinsic cues. An intact cytoskeleton is critical to enact these responses, but it is not known whether the two major cytoskeletal elements, F-actin and microtubules, have any roles in regulating axonal protein synthesis.
Here, we show that pharmacological disruption of either microtubules or actin filaments in growth cones blocks netrin-1-induced de novo synthesis of proteins, as measured by metabolic incorporation of labeled amino acids, implicating both elements in axonal synthesis. However, comparative analysis of the activated translation initiation regulator, eIF4E-BP1, revealed a striking difference in the point of action of the two elements: actin disruption completely inhibited netrin-1-induced eIF4E-BP1 phosphorylation while microtubule disruption had no effect. An intact F-actin, but not microtubule, cytoskeleton was also required for netrin-1-induced activation of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway, upstream of translation initiation. Downstream of translation initiation, microtubules were required for netrin-1-induced activation of eukaryotic elongation factor 2 kinase (eEF2K) and eEF2.
Taken together, our results show that while actin and microtubules are both crucial for cue-induced axonal protein synthesis, they serve distinct roles with F-actin being required for the initiation of translation and microtubules acting later at the elongation step.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13064-015-0031-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Neural Development
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transcription factors of the nuclear factor one (NFI) family play a pivotal role in the development of the nervous system.
One member, NFIX, regulates the development of the neocortex, hippocampus, and cerebellum. Postnatal Nfix−/− mice also display abnormalities within the subventricular zone (SVZ) lining the lateral ventricles, a region of the brain
comprising a neurogenic niche that provides ongoing neurogenesis throughout life. Specifically, Nfix−/− mice exhibit more PAX6-expressing progenitor cells within the SVZ. However, the mechanism underlying the development of this
phenotype remains undefined. Here, we reveal that NFIX contributes to multiple facets of SVZ development. Postnatal Nfix−/− mice exhibit increased levels of proliferation within the SVZ, both in vivo and in vitro as assessed by a neurosphere assay.
Furthermore, we show that the migration of SVZ-derived neuroblasts to the olfactory bulb is impaired, and that the olfactory
bulbs of postnatal Nfix−/− mice are smaller. We also demonstrate that gliogenesis within the rostral migratory stream is delayed in the absence of Nfix, and reveal that Gdnf (glial-derived neurotrophic factor), a known attractant for SVZ-derived neuroblasts, is a target for transcriptional activation
by NFIX. Collectively, these findings suggest that NFIX regulates both proliferation and migration during the development
of the SVZ neurogenic niche.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epigenetic mechanisms are essential in regulating neural progenitor cell self-renewal, with the chromatin-modifying protein Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) emerging as a central player in promoting progenitor cell self-renewal during cortical development. Despite this, how Ezh2 is itself regulated remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that the transcription factor nuclear factor IB (NFIB) plays a key role in this process. Nfib(-/-) mice exhibit an increased number of proliferative ventricular zone cells that express progenitor cell markers and upregulation of EZH2 expression within the neocortex and hippocampus. NFIB binds to the Ezh2 promoter and overexpression of NFIB represses Ezh2 transcription. Finally, key downstream targets of EZH2-mediated epigenetic repression are misregulated in Nfib(-/-) mice. Collectively, these results suggest that the downregulation of Ezh2 transcription by NFIB is an important component of the process of neural progenitor cell differentiation during cortical development.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The majority of neural stem cells (NSCs) in the adult brain are quiescent, and this fraction increases with aging. Although signaling pathways that promote NSC quiescence have been identified, the transcriptional mechanisms involved are mostly unknown, largely due to lack of a cell culture model. In this study, we first demonstrate that NSC cultures (NS cells) exposed to BMP4 acquire cellular and transcriptional characteristics of quiescent cells. We then use epigenomic profiling to identify enhancers associated with the quiescent NS cell state. Motif enrichment analysis of these enhancers predicts a major role for the nuclear factor one (NFI) family in the gene regulatory network controlling NS cell quiescence. Interestingly, we found that the family member NFIX is robustly induced when NS cells enter quiescence. Using genome-wide location analysis and overexpression and silencing experiments, we demonstrate that NFIX has a major role in the induction of quiescence in cultured NSCs. Transcript profiling of NS cells overexpressing or silenced for Nfix and the phenotypic analysis of the hippocampus of Nfix mutant mice suggest that NFIX controls the quiescent state by regulating the interactions of NSCs with their microenvironment.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Genes & development
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The transcription factor nuclear factor one X (NFIX) plays a central role during the development of the neocortex and hippocampus, through the activation of astrocyte-specific gene expression and the repression of progenitor-specific pathways. However, our understanding of transcriptional targets of NFIX during cortical development remains limited. Here, we identify the transcription factor Bobby sox (Bbx) as a target for NFI-mediated transcriptional control. BBX is expressed within ventricular zone progenitor cells within the developing neocortex and hippocampus, and its expression is upregulated in Nfix (-/-) mice. Moreover, we reveal that NFIX can repress Bbx promoter-driven expression. Collectively, these data suggest that Bbx is a downstream target of NFIX during development of the forebrain.
No preview · Article · Jul 2013 · Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Identification of the genes that regulate the development and subsequent functioning of the hippocampus is pivotal to understanding the role of this cortical structure in learning and memory. One group of genes that has been shown to be critical for the early development of the hippocampus is the Nuclear factor one (Nfi) family, which encodes four site-specific transcription factors, NFIA, NFIB, NFIC and NFIX. In mice lacking Nfia, Nfib or Nfix, aspects of early hippocampal development, including neurogenesis within the dentate gyrus, are delayed. However, due to the perinatal lethality of these mice, it is not clear whether this hippocampal phenotype persists to adulthood and affects hippocampal-dependent behaviour. To address this we examined the hippocampal phenotype of mice heterozygous for Nfix (Nfix (+/-)), which survive to adulthood. We found that Nfix (+/-) mice had reduced expression of NFIX throughout the brain, including the hippocampus, and that early hippocampal development in these mice was disrupted, producing a phenotype intermediate to that of wild-type mice and Nfix(-/-) mice. The abnormal hippocampal morphology of Nfix (+/-) mice persisted to adulthood, and these mice displayed a specific performance deficit in the Morris water maze learning and memory task. These findings demonstrate that the level of Nfix expression during development and within the adult is essential for the function of the hippocampus during learning and memory.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neural progenitor cells have the ability to give rise to neurons and glia in the embryonic, postnatal and adult brain. During
development, the program regulating whether these cells divide and self-renew or exit the cell cycle and differentiate is
tightly controlled, and imbalances to the normal trajectory of this process can lead to severe functional consequences. However,
our understanding of the molecular regulation of these fundamental events remains limited. Moreover, processes underpinning
development of the postnatal neurogenic niches within the cortex remain poorly defined. Here, we demonstrate that Nuclear
factor one X (NFIX) is expressed by neural progenitor cells within the embryonic hippocampus, and that progenitor cell differentiation
is delayed within Nfix−/− mice. Moreover, we reveal that the morphology of the dentate gyrus in postnatal Nfix−/− mice is abnormal, with fewer subgranular zone neural progenitor cells being generated in the absence of this transcription
factor. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that the progenitor cell maintenance factor Sry-related HMG box 9 (SOX9) is upregulated
in the hippocampus of Nfix−/− mice and demonstrate that NFIX can repress Sox9 promoter-driven transcription. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that NFIX plays a central role in hippocampal morphogenesis,
regulating the formation of neuronal and glial populations within this structure.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The nuclear factor one (NFI) family of transcription factors consists of four members in vertebrates, NFIA, NFIB, NFIC, and NFIX, which share a highly conserved N-terminal DNA-binding domain. NFI genes are widely expressed in the developing mouse brain, and mouse mutants lacking NFIA, NFIB, or NFIX exhibit developmental deficits in several areas, including the cortex, hippocampus, pons, and cerebellum. Here we analyzed the expression of NFIA and NFIB in the developing and adult olfactory bulb (OB), rostral migratory stream (RMS), and subventricular zone (SVZ). We found that NFIA and NFIB are expressed within these regions during embryonic and postnatal development and in the adult. Immunohistochemical analysis using cell-type-specific markers revealed that migrating neuroblasts in the adult brain express NFI transcription factors, as do astrocytes within the RMS and progenitor cells within the SVZ. Moreover, astrocytes within the OB express NFIA, whereas mitral cells within the OB express NFIB. Taken together these data show that NFIA and NFIB are expressed in both the developing and the adult OB and in the RMS and SVZ, indicative of a regulatory role for these transcription factors in the development of this facet of the olfactory system.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · The Journal of Comparative Neurology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The neurodevelopmental hypothesis of schizophrenia suggests that the disruption of early brain development increases the risk of later developing schizophrenia. This hypothesis focuses attention on critical periods of early brain development. From an epidemiologic perspective, various prenatal and perinatal risk factors have been linked to schizophrenia, including exposures related to infection, nutrition, and obstetric complications. From a genetic perspective, candidate genes have also been linked to altered brain development. In recent decades evidence from neuropathology has provided support for the neurodevelopmental hypothesis. Animal models involving early life exposures have been linked to changes in these same brain systems, providing convergent evidence for this long-standing hypothesis.
No preview · Article · Sep 2012 · The Psychiatric clinics of North America
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neuronal migration plays a central role in the formation of the brain, and deficits in this process can lead to aberrant brain function and subsequent disease. Neuronal migration is a complex process that involves the interaction of the neuron with the surrounding environmental milieu, and as such involves both cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic mechanisms. Studies performed in rodent models to investigate the formation of brain structures have provided key insights into how neuronal migration is coordinated during development. Within the cerebral cortex, glutamatergic neurons derived from the cortical ventricular zone migrate radially into the cortical plate, whereas interneurons derived within the ventrally located ganglionic eminences migrate tangentially into the cortex. Within the embryonic cerebellum, cerebellar granule neuron progenitors migrate from the rhombic lip over the surface of the cerebellar anlage, before differentiating and migrating radially into the internal granule layer of the cerebellum perinatally. In this review, we focus on one family of proteins, the nuclear factor I transcription factors, and review our understanding of how these molecules contribute to the formation of the hippocampus and the cerebellum via the regulation of neuronal migration.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Slit molecules are chemorepulsive ligands that regulate axon guidance at the midline of both vertebrates and invertebrates. In mammals, there are three Slit genes, but only Slit2 has been studied in any detail with regard to mammalian brain commissure formation. Here, we sought to understand the relative contributions that Slit proteins make to the formation of the largest brain commissure, the corpus callosum. Slit ligands bind Robo receptors, and previous studies have shown that Robo1(-/-) mice have defects in corpus callosum development. However, whether the Slit genes signal exclusively through Robo1 during callosal formation is unclear. To investigate this, we compared the development of the corpus callosum in both Slit2(-/-) and Robo1(-/-) mice using diffusion magnetic resonance imaging. This analysis demonstrated similarities in the phenotypes of these mice, but crucially also highlighted subtle differences, particularly with regard to the guidance of post-crossing axons. Analysis of single mutations in Slit family members revealed corpus callosum defects (but not complete agenesis) in 100% of Slit2(-/-) mice and 30% of Slit3(-/-) mice, whereas 100% of Slit1(-/-); Slit2(-/-) mice displayed complete agenesis of the corpus callosum. These results revealed a role for Slit1 in corpus callosum development, and demonstrated that Slit2 was necessary but not sufficient for midline crossing in vivo. However, co-culture experiments utilising Robo1(-/-) tissue versus Slit2 expressing cell blocks demonstrated that Slit2 was sufficient for the guidance activity mediated by Robo1 in pre-crossing neocortical axons. This suggested that Slit1 and Slit3 might also be involved in regulating other mechanisms that allow the corpus callosum to form, such as the establishment of midline glial populations. Investigation of this revealed defects in the development and dorso-ventral positioning of the indusium griseum glia in multiple Slit mutants. These findings indicate that Slits regulate callosal development via both classical chemorepulsive mechanisms, and via a novel role in mediating the correct positioning of midline glial populations. Finally, our data also indicate that some of the roles of Slit proteins at the midline may be independent of Robo signalling, suggestive of additional receptors regulating Slit signalling during development.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2012 · Developmental Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Development of the cerebellum involves the coordinated proliferation, differentiation, maturation, and integration of cells from multiple neuronal and glial lineages. In rodent models, much of this occurs in the early postnatal period. However, our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that regulate this phase of cerebellar development remains incomplete. Here, we address the role of the transcription factor nuclear factor one X (NFIX), in postnatal development of the cerebellum. NFIX is expressed by progenitor cells within the external granular layer and by cerebellar granule neurons within the internal granule layer. Using NFIX⁻/⁻ mice, we demonstrate that the development of cerebellar granule neurons and Purkinje cells within the postnatal cerebellum is delayed in the absence of this transcription factor. Furthermore, the differentiation of mature glia within the cerebellum, such as Bergmann glia, is also significantly delayed in the absence of NFIX. Collectively, the expression pattern of NFIX, coupled with the delays in the differentiation of multiple cell populations of the developing cerebellum in NFIX⁻/⁻ mice, suggest a central role for NFIX in the regulation of cerebellar development, highlighting the importance of this gene for the maturation of this key structure.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · The Journal of Comparative Neurology