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CENP-F is a large multifunctional protein with demonstrated regulatory roles in cell proliferation, vesicular transport and cell shape through its association with the microtubule (MT) network. Until now, analysis of CENP-F has been limited to in vitro analysis. Here, using a Cre-loxP system, we report the in vivo disruption of CENP-F gene function in murine cardiomyocytes, a cell type displaying high levels of CENP-F expression. Loss of CENP-F function in developing myocytes leads to decreased cell division, blunting of trabeculation and an initially smaller, thin-walled heart. Still, embryos are born at predicted mendelian ratios on an outbred background. After birth, hearts lacking CENP-F display disruption of their intercalated discs and loss of MT integrity particularly at the costamere; these two structures are essential for cell coupling/electrical conduction and force transduction in the heart. Inhibition of myocyte proliferation and cell coupling as well as loss of MT maintenance is consistent with previous reports of generalized CENP-F function in isolated cells. One hundred percent of these animals develop progressive dilated cardiomyopathy with heart block and scarring, and there is a 20% mortality rate. Importantly, although it has long been postulated that the MT cytoskeleton plays a role in the development of heart disease, this study is the first to reveal a direct genetic link between disruption of this network and cardiomyopathy. Finally, this study has broad implications for development and disease because CENP-F loss of function affects a diverse array of cell-type-specific activities in other organs.
The spinal cord contains a diverse array of physiologically distinct interneuron cell types that subserve specialized roles in somatosensory perception and motor control. The mechanisms that generate these specialized interneuronal cell types from multipotential spinal progenitors are not known. In this study, we describe a temporally regulated transcriptional program that controls the differentiation of Renshaw cells (RCs), an anatomically and functionally discrete spinal interneuron subtype. We show that the selective activation of the Onecut transcription factors Oc1 and Oc2 during the first wave of V1 interneuron neurogenesis is a key step in the RC differentiation program. The development of RCs is additionally dependent on the forkhead transcription factor Foxd3, which is more broadly expressed in postmitotic V1 interneurons. Our demonstration that RCs are born, and activate Oc1 and Oc2 expression, in a narrow temporal window leads us to posit that neuronal diversity in the developing spinal cord is established by the composite actions of early spatial and temporal determinants.
Neurog3-induced Dll1 expression in pancreatic endocrine progenitors ostensibly activates Hes1 expression via Notch and thereby represses Neurog3 and endocrine differentiation in neighboring cells by lateral inhibition. Here we show in mouse that Dll1 and Hes1 expression deviate during regionalization of early endoderm, and later during early pancreas morphogenesis. At that time, Ptf1a activates Dll1 in multipotent pancreatic progenitor cells (MPCs), and Hes1 expression becomes Dll1 dependent over a brief time window. Moreover, Dll1, Hes1 and Dll1/Hes1 mutant phenotypes diverge during organ regionalization, become congruent at early bud stages, and then diverge again at late bud stages. Persistent pancreatic hypoplasia in Dll1 mutants after eliminating Neurog3 expression and endocrine development, together with reduced proliferation of MPCs in both Dll1 and Hes1 mutants, reveals that the hypoplasia is caused by a growth defect rather than by progenitor depletion. Unexpectedly, we find that Hes1 is required to sustain Ptf1a expression, and in turn Dll1 expression in early MPCs. Our results show that Ptf1a-induced Dll1 expression stimulates MPC proliferation and pancreatic growth by maintaining Hes1 expression and Ptf1a protein levels.
Angiogenesis and increased permeability of the blood-brain barrier have been reported to occur in animal models of Parkinson's disease and l-dopa-induced dyskinesia, but the significance of these phenomena has remained unclear. Using a validated rat model of l-dopa-induced dyskinesia, this study demonstrates that chronic treatment with l-dopa dose dependently induces the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor in the basal ganglia nuclei. Vascular endothelial growth factor was abundantly expressed in astrocytes and astrocytic processes in the proximity of blood vessels. When co-administered with l-dopa, a small molecule inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor signalling significantly attenuated the development of dyskinesia and completely blocked the angiogenic response and associated increase in blood-brain barrier permeability induced by the treatment. The occurrence of angiogenesis and vascular endothelial growth factor upregulation was verified in post-mortem basal ganglia tissue from patients with Parkinson's disease with a history of dyskinesia, who exhibited increased microvascular density, microvascular nestin expression and an upregulation of vascular endothelial growth factor messenger ribonucleic acid. These congruent findings in the rat model and human patients indicate that vascular endothelial growth factor is implicated in the pathophysiology of l-dopa-induced dyskinesia and emphasize an involvement of the microvascular compartment in the adverse effects of l-dopa pharmacotherapy in Parkinson's disease.
BACKGROUND - Maintaining the correct balance of proliferation versus differentiation in retinal progenitor cells (RPCs) is essential for proper development of the retina. The cell cycle regulator cyclin D1 is expressed in RPCs, and mice with a targeted null allele at the cyclin D1 locus (Ccnd1-/-) have microphthalmia and hypocellular retinas, the latter phenotype attributed to reduced RPC proliferation and increased photoreceptor cell death during the postnatal period. How cyclin D1 influences RPC behavior, especially during the embryonic period, is unclear.
RESULTS - In this study, we show that embryonic RPCs lacking cyclin D1 progress through the cell cycle at a slower rate and exit the cell cycle at a faster rate. Consistent with enhanced cell cycle exit, the relative proportions of cell types born in the embryonic period, such as retinal ganglion cells and photoreceptor cells, are increased. Unexpectedly, cyclin D1 deficiency decreases the proportions of other early born retinal neurons, namely horizontal cells and specific amacrine cell types. We also found that the laminar positioning of horizontal cells and other cell types is altered in the absence of cyclin D1. Genetically replacing cyclin D1 with cyclin D2 is not efficient at correcting the phenotypes due to the cyclin D1 deficiency, which suggests the D-cyclins are not fully redundant. Replacement with cyclin E or inactivation of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27Kip1 restores the balance of RPCs and retinal cell types to more normal distributions, which suggests that regulation of the retinoblastoma pathway is an important function for cyclin D1 during embryonic retinal development.
CONCLUSION - Our findings show that cyclin D1 has important roles in RPC cell cycle regulation and retinal histogenesis. The reduction in the RPC population due to a longer cell cycle time and to an enhanced rate of cell cycle exit are likely to be the primary factors driving retinal hypocellularity and altered output of precursor populations in the embryonic Ccnd1-/- retina.
Sonic hedgehog (Shh) secreted from the axial signaling centers of the notochord and prechordal plate functions as a morphogen in dorsoventral patterning of the neural tube. Active Shh is uniquely cholesterol-modified and the hydrophobic nature of cholesterol suggests that it might regulate Shh spreading in the neural tube. Here, we examined the capacity of Shh lacking the cholesterol moiety (ShhN) to pattern different cell types in the telencephalon and spinal cord. In mice expressing ShhN, we detected low-level ShhN in the prechordal plate and notochord, consistent with the notion that ShhN can rapidly spread from its site of synthesis. Surprisingly, we found that low-level ShhN can elicit the generation of a full spectrum of ventral cell types in the spinal cord, whereas ventral neuronal specification and ganglionic eminence development in the Shh(N/-) telencephalon were severely impaired, suggesting that telencephalic patterning is more sensitive to alterations in local Shh concentration and spreading. In agreement, we observed induction of Shh pathway activity and expression of ventral markers at ectopic sites in the dorsal telencephalon indicative of long-range ShhN activity. Our findings indicate an essential role for the cholesterol moiety in restricting Shh dilution and deregulated spread for patterning the telencephalon. We propose that the differential effect of ShhN in patterning the spinal cord versus telencephalon may be attributed to regional differences in the maintenance of Shh expression in the ventral neuroepithelium and differences in dorsal tissue responsiveness to deregulated Shh spreading behavior.
BACKGROUND - Reductions in cell number are found within the medial prefrontal cortex (PFC) in major depression and bipolar disorder, conditions for which electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a highly effective treatment. We investigated whether electroconvulsive seizure (ECS) in rats stimulates cellular proliferation in the PFC immediately and four weeks after the treatments. In parallel, we examined if ECS also alters the expression of Sprouty2 (SPRY2), an inhibitor of cell proliferation.
METHODS - Sprague-Dawley rats received 10 days of ECS treatments and bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) injections. After a four week survival period, we estimated the density and number of BrdU-, proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA)-, and SPRY2-immunoreactive cells in the medial (infralimbic) PFC (ILPFC). We also determined the percentage of BrdU-labeled cells that were immunoreactive for markers specific to oligodendrocytes, astrocytes, endothelial cells and neurons.
RESULTS - ECS dramatically enhanced the proliferation of new cells in the infralimbic PFC, and this effect persisted four weeks following the treatments. The percentage of new cells expressing oligodendrocyte precursor cell markers increased slightly following ECS. In contrast, ECS dramatically reduced the number of cells expressing SPRY2.
CONCLUSIONS - ECS stimulates long-lasting increases in glial proliferation within the ILPFC. ECS also decreases SPRY2 expression in the same region, an effect that might contribute to increased glial proliferation.
The molecular machinery governing glutamatergic-GABAergic neuronal subtype specification is unclear. Here we describe a cerebellar mutant, cerebelless, which lacks the entire cerebellar cortex in adults. The primary defect of the mutant brains was a specific inhibition of GABAergic neuron production from the cerebellar ventricular zone (VZ), resulting in secondary and complete loss of external germinal layer, pontine, and olivary nuclei during development. We identified the responsible gene, Ptf1a, whose expression was lost in the cerebellar VZ but was maintained in the pancreas in cerebelless. Lineage tracing revealed that two types of neural precursors exist in the cerebellar VZ: Ptf1a-expressing and -nonexpressing precursors, which generate GABAergic and glutamatergic neurons, respectively. Introduction of Ptf1a into glutamatergic neuron precursors in the dorsal telencephalon generated GABAergic neurons with representative morphological and migratory features. Our results suggest that Ptf1a is involved in driving neural precursors to differentiate into GABAergic neurons in the cerebellum.
The generation of new cells in the adult mammalian brain may significantly modify pathophysiological processes in neuropsychiatric disorders. We examined the ability of chronic treatment with the antipsychotic drugs (APDs) olanzapine and haloperidol to increase the number and survival of newly generated cells in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and striatal complex of adult male rats. Animals were treated with olanzapine or haloperidol for 3 weeks and then injected with 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) to label mitotic cells. Half of the animals continued on the same APD for two more weeks after BrdU challenge, with the other half receiving vehicle during this period. Olanzapine but not haloperidol significantly increased both the total number and density of BrdU-labeled cells in the PFC and dorsal striatum; no effect was observed in the nucleus accumbens. Continued olanzapine treatment after the BrdU challenge did not increase the survival of newly generated cells. The newly generated cells in the PFC did not express the neuronal marker NeuN. Despite the significant increase in newly generated cells in the PFC of olanzapine-treated rats, the total number of these cells is low, suggesting that the therapeutic effects of atypical APD treatment may not be due to the presence of newly generated cells that have migrated to the cortex.
Copyright 2004 Nature Publishing Group
We have examined overexpression of the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) to determine if it modifies the anti-proliferative effect of transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta against MCF-10A human mammary epithelial cells. Exogenous TGF-beta inhibited cell proliferation and induced Smad-dependent transcriptional reporter activity in both MCF-10A/HER2 and MCF-10A/vector control cells. Ligand-induced reporter activity was 7-fold higher in HER2-overexpressing cells. In wound closure and transwell assays, TGF-beta induced motility of HER2-transduced, but not control cells. The HER2-blocking antibody trastuzumab (Herceptin) prevented TGF-beta-induced cell motility. Expression of a constitutively active TGF-beta type I receptor (ALK5(T204D)) induced motility of MCF-10A/HER2 but not MCF-10A/vector cells. TGF-beta-induced motility was blocked by coincubation with either the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor LY294002, the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) inhibitor U0126, the p38 MAPK inhibitor SB202190, and an integrin beta(1) blocking antibody. Rac1 activity was higher in HER2-overexpressing cells, where both Rac1 and Pak1 proteins were constitutively associated with HER2. Both exogenous TGF-beta and transduction with constitutively active ALK5 enhanced this association. TGF-beta induced actin stress fibers as well as lamellipodia within the leading edge of wounds. Herceptin blocked basal and TGF-beta-stimulated Rac1 activity but did not repress TGF-beta-stimulated transcriptional reporter activity. These data suggest that 1) overexpression of HER2 in nontumorigenic mammary epithelial is permissive for the ability of TGF-beta to induce cell motility and Rac1 activity, and 2) HER2 and TGF-beta signaling cooperate in the induction of cellular events associated with tumor progression.