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The shape of an individual neuron is linked to its function with axons sending signals to other cells and dendrites receiving them. Although much is known of the mechanisms for axonal outgrowth, the striking complexity of dendritic architecture has hindered efforts to uncover pathways that direct dendritic branching. Here we review the results of an experimental strategy that exploits the power of genetic analysis and live cell imaging of the PVD sensory neuron in C. elegans to reveal key molecular drivers of dendrite morphogenesis.
Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Proper morphogenesis of dendrites plays a fundamental role in the establishment of neural circuits. The molecular mechanism by which dendrites grow highly complex branches is not well understood. Here, using the Caenorhabditis elegans PVD neuron, we demonstrate that high-order dendritic branching requires actin polymerization driven by coordinated interactions between two membrane proteins, DMA-1 and HPO-30, with their cytoplasmic interactors, the RacGEF TIAM-1 and the actin nucleation promotion factor WAVE regulatory complex (WRC). The dendrite branching receptor DMA-1 directly binds to the PDZ domain of TIAM-1, while the claudin-like protein HPO-30 directly interacts with the WRC. On dendrites, DMA-1 and HPO-30 form a receptor-associated signaling complex to bring TIAM-1 and the WRC to close proximity, leading to elevated assembly of F-actin needed to drive high-order dendrite branching. The synergistic activation of F-actin assembly by scaffolding distinct actin regulators might represent a general mechanism in promoting complex dendrite arborization.
Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is considered a 'circuitopathy', and brain stimulation therapies hold promise for ameliorating MDD symptoms, including hippocampal dysfunction. It is unknown whether stimulation of upstream hippocampal circuitry, such as the entorhinal cortex (Ent), is antidepressive, although Ent stimulation improves learning and memory in mice and humans. Here we show that molecular targeting (Ent-specific knockdown of a psychosocial stress-induced protein) and chemogenetic stimulation of Ent neurons induce antidepressive-like effects in mice. Mechanistically, we show that Ent-stimulation-induced antidepressive-like behavior relies on the generation of new hippocampal neurons. Thus, controlled stimulation of Ent hippocampal afferents is antidepressive via increased hippocampal neurogenesis. These findings emphasize the power and potential of Ent glutamatergic afferent stimulation-previously well-known for its ability to influence learning and memory-for MDD treatment.
Two recent studies by Meltzer et al. and Ziegler et al. use Drosophila larvae to demonstrate that cell-autonomous regulation of lipid biosynthesis defines the complexity and function of highly branched nociceptive neurons. Their findings show that lipid biosynthesis in the neuron is fine-tuned for optimal dendrite morphology and sensitivity.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Neuroinflammation is consistently found in many neurological disorders, but whether or not the inflammatory response independently affects neuronal network properties is poorly understood. Here, we report that intracerebroventricular injection of the prototypical inflammatory molecule lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in rats triggered a strong and long-lasting inflammatory response in hippocampal microglia associated with a concomitant upregulation of Toll-like receptor (TLR4) in pyramidal and hilar neurons. This, in turn, was associated with a significant reduction of the dendritic hyperpolarization-activated cyclic AMP-gated channel type 1 (HCN1) protein level while Kv4.2 channels were unaltered as assessed by western blot. Immunohistochemistry confirmed the HCN1 decrease in CA1 pyramidal neurons and showed that these changes were associated with a reduction of TRIP8b, an auxiliary subunit for HCN channels implicated in channel subcellular localization and trafficking. At the physiological level, this effect translated into a 50% decrease in HCN1-mediated currents (I) measured in the distal dendrites of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal cells. At the functional level, the band-pass-filtering properties of dendrites in the theta frequency range (4-12 Hz) and their temporal summation properties were compromised. We conclude that neuroinflammation can independently trigger an acquired channelopathy in CA1 pyramidal cell dendrites that alters their integrative properties. By directly changing cellular function, this phenomenon may participate in the phenotypic expression of various brain diseases.
The dendritic processes of nociceptive neurons transduce external signals into neurochemical cues that alert the organism to potentially damaging stimuli. The receptive field for each sensory neuron is defined by its dendritic arbor, but the mechanisms that shape dendritic architecture are incompletely understood. Using the model nociceptor, the PVD neuron in C. elegans, we determined that two types of PVD lateral branches project along the dorsal/ventral axis to generate the PVD dendritic arbor: (1) Pioneer dendrites that adhere to the epidermis, and (2) Commissural dendrites that fasciculate with circumferential motor neuron processes. Previous reports have shown that the LIM homeodomain transcription factor MEC-3 is required for all higher order PVD branching and that one of its targets, the claudin-like membrane protein HPO-30, preferentially promotes outgrowth of pioneer branches. Here, we show that another MEC-3 target, the conserved TFIIA-like zinc finger transcription factor EGL-46, adopts the alternative role of specifying commissural dendrites. The known EGL-46 binding partner, the TEAD transcription factor EGL-44, is also required for PVD commissural branch outgrowth. Double mutants of hpo-30 and egl-44 show strong enhancement of the lateral branching defect with decreased numbers of both pioneer and commissural dendrites. Thus, HPO-30/Claudin and EGL-46/EGL-44 function downstream of MEC-3 and in parallel acting pathways to direct outgrowth of two distinct classes of PVD dendritic branches.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Characterizing the functional impact of novel mutations linked to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) provides a deeper mechanistic understanding of the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms. Here we show that a Glu183 to Val (E183V) mutation in the CaMKIIα catalytic domain, identified in a proband diagnosed with ASD, decreases both CaMKIIα substrate phosphorylation and regulatory autophosphorylation, and that the mutated kinase acts in a dominant-negative manner to reduce CaMKIIα-WT autophosphorylation. The E183V mutation also reduces CaMKIIα binding to established ASD-linked proteins, such as Shank3 and subunits of l-type calcium channels and NMDA receptors, and increases CaMKIIα turnover in intact cells. In cultured neurons, the E183V mutation reduces CaMKIIα targeting to dendritic spines. Moreover, neuronal expression of CaMKIIα-E183V increases dendritic arborization and decreases both dendritic spine density and excitatory synaptic transmission. Mice with a knock-in CaMKIIα-E183V mutation have lower total forebrain CaMKIIα levels, with reduced targeting to synaptic subcellular fractions. The CaMKIIα-E183V mice also display aberrant behavioral phenotypes, including hyperactivity, social interaction deficits, and increased repetitive behaviors. Together, these data suggest that CaMKIIα plays a previously unappreciated role in ASD-related synaptic and behavioral phenotypes. Many autism spectrum disorder (ASD)-linked mutations disrupt the function of synaptic proteins, but no single gene accounts for >1% of total ASD cases. The molecular networks and mechanisms that couple the primary deficits caused by these individual mutations to core behavioral symptoms of ASD remain poorly understood. Here, we provide the first characterization of a mutation in the gene encoding CaMKIIα linked to a specific neuropsychiatric disorder. Our findings demonstrate that this ASD-linked mutation disrupts multiple CaMKII functions, induces synaptic deficits, and causes ASD-related behavioral alterations, providing novel insights into the synaptic mechanisms contributing to ASD.
Copyright © 2017 the authors 0270-6474/17/372217-18$15.00/0.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a prevalent psychiatric condition with limited therapeutic options beyond monoaminergic therapies. Although effective in some individuals, many patients fail to respond adequately to existing treatments, and new pharmacologic targets are needed. Hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels regulate excitability in neurons, and blocking HCN channel function has been proposed as a novel antidepressant strategy. However, systemic blockade of HCN channels produces cardiac effects that limit this approach. Knockout (KO) of the brain-specific HCN-channel auxiliary subunit tetratricopeptide repeat-containing Rab8b-interacting protein (TRIP8b) also produces antidepressant-like behavioral effects and suggests that inhibiting TRIP8b function could produce antidepressant-like effects without affecting the heart. We examined the structural basis of TRIP8b-mediated HCN-channel trafficking and its relationship with antidepressant-like behavior using a viral rescue approach in TRIP8b KO mice. We found that restoring TRIP8b to the hippocampus was sufficient to reverse the impaired HCN-channel trafficking and antidepressant-like behavioral effects caused by TRIP8b KO. Moreover, we found that hippocampal expression of a mutated version of TRIP8b further impaired HCN-channel trafficking and increased the antidepressant-like behavioral phenotype of TRIP8b KO mice. Thus, modulating the TRIP8b-HCN interaction bidirectionally influences channel trafficking and antidepressant-like behavior. Overall, our work suggests that small-molecule inhibitors of the interaction between TRIP8b and HCN should produce antidepressant-like behaviors and could represent a new paradigm for the treatment of MDD.
Precise patterning of dendritic arbors is critical for the wiring and function of neural circuits. Dendrite-extracellular matrix (ECM) adhesion ensures that the dendrites of Drosophila dendritic arborization (da) sensory neurons are properly restricted in a 2D space, and thereby facilitates contact-mediated dendritic self-avoidance and tiling. However, the mechanisms regulating dendrite-ECM adhesion in vivo are poorly understood. Here, we show that mutations in the semaphorin ligand sema-2b lead to a dramatic increase in self-crossing of dendrites due to defects in dendrite-ECM adhesion, resulting in a failure to confine dendrites to a 2D plane. Furthermore, we find that Sema-2b is secreted from the epidermis and signals through the Plexin B receptor in neighboring neurons. Importantly, we find that Sema-2b/PlexB genetically and physically interacts with TORC2 complex, Tricornered (Trc) kinase, and integrins. These results reveal a novel role for semaphorins in dendrite patterning and illustrate how epidermal-derived cues regulate neural circuit assembly.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The activity-dependent refinement of neural circuit connectivity during critical periods of brain development is essential for optimized behavioral performance. We hypothesize that this mechanism is defective in fragile X syndrome (FXS), the leading heritable cause of intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorders. Here, we use optogenetic tools in the Drosophila FXS disease model to test activity-dependent dendritogenesis in two extrinsic neurons of the mushroom body (MB) learning and memory brain center: (1) the input projection neuron (PN) innervating Kenyon cells (KCs) in the MB calyx microglomeruli and (2) the output MVP2 neuron innervated by KCs in the MB peduncle. Both input and output neuron classes exhibit distinctive activity-dependent critical period dendritic remodeling. MVP2 arbors expand in Drosophila mutants null for fragile X mental retardation 1 (dfmr1), as well as following channelrhodopsin-driven depolarization during critical period development, but are reduced by halorhodopsin-driven hyperpolarization. Optogenetic manipulation of PNs causes the opposite outcome--reduced dendritic arbors following channelrhodopsin depolarization and expanded arbors following halorhodopsin hyperpolarization during development. Importantly, activity-dependent dendritogenesis in both neuron classes absolutely requires dfmr1 during one developmental window. These results show that dfmr1 acts in a neuron type-specific activity-dependent manner for sculpting dendritic arbors during early-use, critical period development of learning and memory circuitry in the Drosophila brain.
© 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.