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GABAergic signaling is the cornerstone for fast synaptic inhibition of neural signaling in arthropods and mammals and is the molecular target for insecticides and pharmaceuticals, respectively. The K-Cl cotransporter (KCC) is the primary mechanism by which mature neurons maintain low intracellular Cl concentration, yet the fundamental physiology, comparative physiology, and toxicological relevance of insect KCC is understudied. Considering this, we employed electrophysiological, genetic, and pharmacological methods to characterize the physiological underpinnings of KCC function to the Drosophila CNS. Our data show that genetic ablation or pharmacological inhibition of KCC results in an increased spike discharge frequency and significantly ( P < 0.05) reduces the CNS sensitivity to γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Further, simultaneous inhibition of KCC and ligand-gated chloride channel (LGCC) complex results in a significant ( P < 0.001) increase in CNS spontaneous activity over baseline firing rates that supports functional coupling of KCC to LGCC function. Interestingly, 75% reduction in KCC mRNA did not alter basal neurotransmission levels indicating that only a fraction of the KCC population is required to maintain the Cl ionic gradient when at rest, but prolonged synaptic activity increases the threshold for GABA-mediated inhibition and reduces nerve sensitivity to GABA. These data expand current knowledge regarding the physiological role of KCC in a model insect and provides the necessary foundation to develop KCC as a novel biochemical target of insecticides, as well as complements existing research to provide a holistic understanding of the plasticity in mammalian health and disease.
In a screen for human kinases that regulate Xenopus laevis embryogenesis, we identified Nagk and other components of the UDP-GlcNAc glycosylation salvage pathway as regulators of anteroposterior patterning and Wnt signaling. We find that the salvage pathway does not affect other major embryonic signaling pathways (Fgf, TGFβ, Notch, or Shh), thereby demonstrating specificity for Wnt signaling. We show that the role of the salvage pathway in Wnt signaling is evolutionarily conserved in zebrafish and Drosophila. Finally, we show that GlcNAc is essential for the growth of intestinal enteroids, which are highly dependent on Wnt signaling for growth and maintenance. We propose that the Wnt pathway is sensitive to alterations in the glycosylation state of a cell and acts as a nutritional sensor in order to couple growth/proliferation with its metabolic status. We also propose that the clinical manifestations observed in congenital disorders of glycosylation (CDG) in humans may be due, in part, to their effects on Wnt signaling during development.
Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Basement membranes are an ancient form of animal extracellular matrix. As important structural and functional components of tissues, basement membranes are subject to environmental damage and must be repaired while maintaining functions. Little is known about how basement membranes get repaired. This paucity stems from a lack of suitable models for analyzing such repair. Here, we show that dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) directly damages the gut basement membrane when fed to adult DSS becomes incorporated into the basement membrane, promoting its expansion while decreasing its stiffness, which causes morphological changes to the underlying muscles. Remarkably, two days after withdrawal of DSS, the basement membrane is repaired by all measures of analysis. We used this new damage model to determine that repair requires collagen crosslinking and replacement of damaged components. Genetic and biochemical evidence indicates that crosslinking is required to stabilize the newly incorporated repaired Collagen IV rather than to stabilize the damaged Collagen IV. These results suggest that basement membranes are surprisingly dynamic.
© 2019. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
The human dopamine (DA) transporter (hDAT) mediates clearance of DA. Genetic variants in hDAT have been associated with DA dysfunction, a complication associated with several brain disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Here, we investigated the structural and behavioral bases of an ASD-associated in-frame deletion in hDAT at N336 (∆N336). We uncovered that the deletion promoted a previously unobserved conformation of the intracellular gate of the transporter, likely representing the rate-limiting step of the transport process. It is defined by a "half-open and inward-facing" state (HOIF) of the intracellular gate that is stabilized by a network of interactions conserved phylogenetically, as we demonstrated in hDAT by Rosetta molecular modeling and fine-grained simulations, as well as in its bacterial homolog leucine transporter by electron paramagnetic resonance analysis and X-ray crystallography. The stabilization of the HOIF state is associated both with DA dysfunctions demonstrated in isolated brains of expressing hDAT ∆N336 and with abnormal behaviors observed at high-time resolution. These flies display increased fear, impaired social interactions, and locomotion traits we associate with DA dysfunction and the HOIF state. Together, our results describe how a genetic variation causes DA dysfunction and abnormal behaviors by stabilizing a HOIF state of the transporter.
The majority of commercialized insecticides target the insect nervous system and therefore, neural proteins are well-validated targets for insecticide development. Considering that only a few neural targets are exploited for insecticidal action and the development of insecticide resistance has reduced the efficacy of current insecticidal classes, we sought to test the toxicological potential of the potassium-chloride cotransporter (KCC). In mammals, KCC proteins have seminal roles in shaping GABAergic signaling and inhibitory neurotransmission, thus ion transport through KCC is critical for proper neurotransmission. Therefore, we hypothesized that mosquito KCC represents a putative insecticide target site and that pharmacological inhibition of KCC constructs in Aedes aegypti will be lethal. To test this hypothesis, we developed a robust, cell-based fluorescence assay that enables in vitro characterization of small-molecules against Ae. aegypti KCC and performed a proof-of-concept study employing well characterized mammalian KCC modulators to determine the toxicological potential of Ae. aegypti KCC. The selective inhibitor of mammalian KCC, termed VU0463271, was found to be a potent inhibitor Ae. aegypti KCC and microinjection induced lethality in a concentration-dependent manner to susceptible and pyrethroid resistant strains. Importantly, an analog of VU0463271 was shown to be >40-fold less potent and did not induce toxicity, suggesting that the observed physiological effects and mortality are likely due to KCC inhibition. This proof-of-concept study suggests that Ae. aegypti KCC represents a putative target site for mosquitocide design that can mitigate the current mechanisms of insecticide resistance.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Control of DNA copy number is essential to maintain genome stability and ensure proper cell and tissue function. In polyploid cells, the SNF2-domain-containing SUUR protein inhibits replication fork progression within specific regions of the genome to promote DNA underreplication. While dissecting the function of SUUR's SNF2 domain, we identified an interaction between SUUR and Rif1. Rif1 has many roles in DNA metabolism and regulates the replication timing program. We demonstrate that repression of DNA replication is dependent on Rif1. Rif1 localizes to active replication forks in a partially SUUR-dependent manner and directly regulates replication fork progression. Importantly, SUUR associates with replication forks in the absence of Rif1, indicating that Rif1 acts downstream of SUUR to inhibit fork progression. Our findings uncover an unrecognized function of the Rif1 protein as a regulator of replication fork progression.
© 2018, Munden et al.
Ebolaviruses cause severe disease in humans, and identification of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that are effective against multiple ebolaviruses are important for therapeutics development. Here we describe a distinct class of broadly neutralizing human mAbs with protective capacity against three ebolaviruses infectious for humans: Ebola (EBOV), Sudan (SUDV), and Bundibugyo (BDBV) viruses. We isolated mAbs from human survivors of ebolavirus disease and identified a potent mAb, EBOV-520, which bound to an epitope in the glycoprotein (GP) base region. EBOV-520 efficiently neutralized EBOV, BDBV, and SUDV and also showed protective capacity in relevant animal models of these infections. EBOV-520 mediated protection principally by direct virus neutralization and exhibited multifunctional properties. This study identified a potent naturally occurring mAb and defined key features of the human antibody response that may contribute to broad protection. This multifunctional mAb and related clones are promising candidates for development as broadly protective pan-ebolavirus therapeutic molecules.
Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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.
Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) mutations cause Wnt pathway activation in human cancers. Current models for APC action emphasize its role in promoting β-catenin degradation downstream of Wnt receptors. Unexpectedly, we find that blocking Wnt receptor activity in APC-deficient cells inhibits Wnt signaling independently of Wnt ligand. We also show that inducible loss of APC is rapidly followed by Wnt receptor activation and increased β-catenin levels. In contrast, APC2 loss does not promote receptor activation. We show that APC exists in a complex with clathrin and that Wnt pathway activation in APC-deficient cells requires clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Finally, we demonstrate conservation of this mechanism in Drosophila intestinal stem cells. We propose a model in which APC and APC2 function to promote β-catenin degradation, and APC also acts as a molecular "gatekeeper" to block receptor activation via the clathrin pathway.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. 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.