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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.
Stem cells reside in a niche, a local environment whose cellular and molecular complexity is still being elucidated. In ovaries, germline stem cells depend on cap cells for self-renewing signals and physical attachment. Germline stem cells also contact the anterior escort cells, and here we report that anterior escort cells are absolutely required for germline stem cell maintenance. When escort cells die from impaired Wnt signaling or expression, the loss of anterior escort cells causes loss of germline stem cells. Anterior escort cells function as an integral niche component by promoting DE-cadherin anchorage and by transiently expressing the Dpp ligand to promote full-strength BMP signaling in germline stem cells. Anterior escort cells are maintained by Wnt6 ligands produced by cap cells; without Wnt6 signaling, anterior escort cells die leaving vacancies in the niche, leading to loss of germline stem cells. Our data identify anterior escort cells as constituents of the germline stem cell niche, maintained by a cap cell-produced Wnt6 survival signal.
© 2018. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) functions modulate synapse formation and activity-dependent plasticity. Aberrant MMP activity is implicated in fragile X syndrome (FXS), a disease caused by the loss of the RNA-binding protein FMRP and characterized by neurological dysfunction and intellectual disability. Gene expression studies in suggest that Mmps cooperate with the heparan sulfate proteoglycan (HSPG) glypican co-receptor Dally-like protein (Dlp) to restrict trans-synaptic Wnt signaling and that synaptogenic defects in the fly model of FXS are alleviated by either inhibition of Mmp or genetic reduction of Dlp. We used the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) glutamatergic synapse to test activity-dependent Dlp and Mmp intersections in the context of FXS. We found that rapid, activity-dependent synaptic bouton formation depended on secreted Mmp1. Acute neuronal stimulation reduced the abundance of Mmp2 but increased that of both Mmp1 and Dlp, as well as enhanced the colocalization of Dlp and Mmp1 at the synapse. Dlp function promoted Mmp1 abundance, localization, and proteolytic activity around synapses. Dlp glycosaminoglycan (GAG) chains mediated this functional interaction with Mmp1. In the FXS fly model, activity-dependent increases in Mmp1 abundance and activity were lost but were restored by reducing the amount of synaptic Dlp. The data suggest that neuronal activity-induced, HSPG-dependent Mmp regulation drives activity-dependent synaptogenesis and that this is impaired in FXS. Thus, exploring this mechanism further may reveal therapeutic targets that have the potential to restore synaptogenesis in FXS patients.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.
While innate behaviors are conserved throughout the animal kingdom, it is unknown whether common signaling pathways regulate the development of neuronal populations mediating these behaviors in diverse organisms. Here, we demonstrate that the Wnt/ß-catenin effector Lef1 is required for the differentiation of anxiolytic hypothalamic neurons in zebrafish and mice, although the identity of Lef1-dependent genes and neurons differ between these 2 species. We further show that zebrafish and Drosophila have common Lef1-dependent gene expression in their respective neuroendocrine organs, consistent with a conserved pathway that has diverged in the mouse. Finally, orthologs of Lef1-dependent genes from both zebrafish and mouse show highly correlated hypothalamic expression in marmosets and humans, suggesting co-regulation of 2 parallel anxiolytic pathways in primates. These findings demonstrate that during evolution, a transcription factor can act through multiple mechanisms to generate a common behavioral output, and that Lef1 regulates circuit development that is fundamentally important for mediating anxiety in a wide variety of animal species.
Evidence accumulating over the past 15 years soundly refutes the dogma that the Drosophila nervous system is hardwired. The preponderance of studies reveals activity-dependent neural circuit refinement driving optimization of behavioral outputs. We describe developmental, sensory input-dependent plasticity in the brain olfactory antennal lobe, which we term long-term central adaption (LTCA). LTCA is evoked by prolonged exposure to an odorant during the first week of posteclosion life, resulting in a persistently decreased response to aversive odors and an enhanced response to attractive odors. This limited window of early-use, experience-dependent plasticity represents a critical period of olfactory circuit refinement tuned by initial sensory input. Consequent behavioral adaptations have been associated with changes in the output of olfactory projection neurons to higher brain centers. Recent studies have indicated a central role for local interneuron signaling in LTCA presentation. Genetic and molecular analyses have implicated the mRNA-binding fragile X mental retardation protein and ataxin-2 regulators, Notch trans-synaptic signaling, and cAMP signal transduction as core regulatory steps driving LTCA. In this article, we discuss the structural, functional, and behavioral changes associated with LTCA and review our current understanding of the molecular pathways underlying these developmental, experience-dependent changes in the olfactory circuitry.
Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society.
The multiple galactosemia disease states manifest long-term neurological symptoms. Galactosemia I results from loss of galactose-1-phosphate uridyltransferase (GALT), which converts galactose-1-phosphate + UDP-glucose to glucose-1-phosphate + UDP-galactose. Galactosemia II results from loss of galactokinase (GALK), phosphorylating galactose to galactose-1-phosphate. Galactosemia III results from the loss of UDP-galactose 4'-epimerase (GALE), which interconverts UDP-galactose and UDP-glucose, as well as UDP-N-acetylgalactosamine and UDP-N-acetylglucosamine. UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (UGP) alternatively makes UDP-galactose from uridine triphosphate and galactose-1-phosphate. All four UDP-sugars are essential donors for glycoprotein biosynthesis with critical roles at the developing neuromuscular synapse. Drosophila galactosemia I (dGALT) and II (dGALK) disease models genetically interact; manifesting deficits in coordinated movement, neuromuscular junction (NMJ) development, synaptic glycosylation, and Wnt trans-synaptic signalling. Similarly, dGALE and dUGP mutants display striking locomotor and NMJ formation defects, including expanded synaptic arbours, glycosylation losses, and differential changes in Wnt trans-synaptic signalling. In combination with dGALT loss, both dGALE and dUGP mutants compromise the synaptomatrix glycan environment that regulates Wnt trans-synaptic signalling that drives 1) presynaptic Futsch/MAP1b microtubule dynamics and 2) postsynaptic Frizzled nuclear import (FNI). Taken together, these findings indicate UDP-sugar balance is a key modifier of neurological outcomes in all three interacting galactosemia disease models, suggest that Futsch homolog MAP1B and the Wnt Frizzled receptor may be disease-relevant targets in epimerase and transferase galactosemias, and identify UGP as promising new potential therapeutic target for galactosemia neuropathology.
© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: email@example.com.
Wnt/β-catenin signalling directs fundamental processes during metazoan development and can be aberrantly activated in cancer. Wnt stimulation induces the recruitment of the scaffold protein Axin from an inhibitory destruction complex to a stimulatory signalosome. Here we analyse the early effects of Wnt on Axin and find that the ADP-ribose polymerase Tankyrase (Tnks)--known to target Axin for proteolysis-regulates Axin's rapid transition following Wnt stimulation. We demonstrate that the pool of ADP-ribosylated Axin, which is degraded under basal conditions, increases immediately following Wnt stimulation in both Drosophila and human cells. ADP-ribosylation of Axin enhances its interaction with the Wnt co-receptor LRP6, an essential step in signalosome assembly. We suggest that in addition to controlling Axin levels, Tnks-dependent ADP-ribosylation promotes the reprogramming of Axin following Wnt stimulation; and propose that Tnks inhibition blocks Wnt signalling not only by increasing destruction complex activity, but also by impeding signalosome assembly.
Congenital disorders of glycosylation (CDGs) constitute a rapidly growing family of human diseases resulting from heritable mutations in genes driving the production and modification of glycoproteins. The resulting symptomatic hypoglycosylation causes multisystemic defects that include severe neurological impairments, revealing a particularly critical requirement for tightly regulated glycosylation in the nervous system. The most common CDG, CDG-Ia (PMM2-CDG), arises from phosphomannomutase type 2 (PMM2) mutations. Here, we report the generation and characterization of the first Drosophila CDG-Ia model. CRISPR-generated pmm2-null Drosophila mutants display severely disrupted glycosylation and early lethality, whereas RNAi-targeted knockdown of neuronal PMM2 results in a strong shift in the abundance of pauci-mannose glycan, progressive incoordination and later lethality, closely paralleling human CDG-Ia symptoms of shortened lifespan, movement impairments and defective neural development. Analyses of the well-characterized Drosophila neuromuscular junction (NMJ) reveal synaptic glycosylation loss accompanied by defects in both structural architecture and functional neurotransmission. NMJ synaptogenesis is driven by intercellular signals that traverse an extracellular synaptomatrix and are co-regulated by glycosylation and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Specifically, trans-synaptic signaling by the Wnt protein Wingless (Wg) depends on the heparan sulfate proteoglycan (HSPG) co-receptor Dally-like protein (Dlp), which is regulated by synaptic MMP activity. Loss of synaptic MMP2, Wg ligand, Dlp co-receptor and downstream trans-synaptic signaling occurs with PMM2 knockdown. Taken together, this Drosophila CDG disease model provides a new avenue for the dissection of cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying neurological impairments and is a means by which to discover and test novel therapeutic treatment strategies.
© 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
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.
Neural circuit optimization occurs through sensory activity-dependent mechanisms that refine synaptic connectivity and information processing during early-use developmental critical periods. Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein (FMRP), the gene product lost in Fragile X syndrome (FXS), acts as an activity sensor during critical period development, both as an RNA-binding translation regulator and channel-binding excitability regulator. Here, we employ a Drosophila FXS disease model to assay calcium signaling dynamics with a targeted transgenic GCaMP reporter during critical period development of the mushroom body (MB) learning/memory circuit. We find FMRP regulates depolarization-induced calcium signaling in a neuron-specific manner within this circuit, suppressing activity-dependent calcium transients in excitatory cholinergic MB input projection neurons and enhancing calcium signals in inhibitory GABAergic MB output neurons. Both changes are restricted to the developmental critical period and rectified at maturity. Importantly, conditional genetic (dfmr1) rescue of null mutants during the critical period corrects calcium signaling defects in both neuron classes, indicating a temporally restricted FMRP requirement. Likewise, conditional dfmr1 knockdown (RNAi) during the critical period replicates constitutive null mutant defects in both neuron classes, confirming cell-autonomous requirements for FMRP in developmental regulation of calcium signaling dynamics. Optogenetic stimulation during the critical period enhances depolarization-induced calcium signaling in both neuron classes, but this developmental change is eliminated in dfmr1 null mutants, indicating the activity-dependent regulation requires FMRP. These results show FMRP shapes neuron class-specific calcium signaling in excitatory vs. inhibitory neurons in developing learning/memory circuitry, and that FMRP mediates activity-dependent regulation of calcium signaling specifically during the early-use critical period.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.