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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.
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.
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.
Since their first identification 50 years ago, marburgviruses have emerged several times, with 83%-90% lethality in the largest outbreaks. Although no vaccines or therapeutics are available for human use, the human antibody MR191 provides complete protection in non-human primates when delivered several days after inoculation of a lethal marburgvirus dose. The detailed neutralization mechanism of MR191 remains outstanding. Here we present a 3.2 Å crystal structure of MR191 complexed with a trimeric marburgvirus surface glycoprotein (GP). MR191 neutralizes by occupying the conserved receptor-binding site and competing with the host receptor Niemann-Pick C1. The structure illuminates previously disordered regions of GP including the stalk, fusion loop, CXCC switch, and an N-terminal region of GP2 that wraps about the outside of GP1 to anchor a marburgvirus-specific "wing" antibody epitope. Virus escape mutations mapped far outside the MR191 receptor-binding site footprint suggest a role for these other regions in the GP quaternary structure.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified >250 loci for body mass index (BMI), implicating pathways related to neuronal biology. Most GWAS loci represent clusters of common, noncoding variants from which pinpointing causal genes remains challenging. Here we combined data from 718,734 individuals to discover rare and low-frequency (minor allele frequency (MAF) < 5%) coding variants associated with BMI. We identified 14 coding variants in 13 genes, of which 8 variants were in genes (ZBTB7B, ACHE, RAPGEF3, RAB21, ZFHX3, ENTPD6, ZFR2 and ZNF169) newly implicated in human obesity, 2 variants were in genes (MC4R and KSR2) previously observed to be mutated in extreme obesity and 2 variants were in GIPR. The effect sizes of rare variants are ~10 times larger than those of common variants, with the largest effect observed in carriers of an MC4R mutation introducing a stop codon (p.Tyr35Ter, MAF = 0.01%), who weighed ~7 kg more than non-carriers. Pathway analyses based on the variants associated with BMI confirm enrichment of neuronal genes and provide new evidence for adipocyte and energy expenditure biology, widening the potential of genetically supported therapeutic targets in obesity.
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.
Epithelial wound healing is an evolutionarily conserved process that requires coordination across a field of cells. Studies in many organisms have shown that cytosolic calcium levels rise within a field of cells around the wound and spread to neighboring cells, within seconds of wounding. Although calcium is a known potent second messenger and master regulator of wound-healing programs, it is unknown what initiates the rise of cytosolic calcium across the wound field. Here we use laser ablation, a commonly used technique for the precision removal of cells or subcellular components, as a tool to investigate mechanisms of calcium entry upon wounding. Despite its precise ablation capabilities, we find that this technique damages cells outside the primary wound via a laser-induced cavitation bubble, which forms and collapses within microseconds of ablation. This cavitation bubble damages the plasma membranes of cells it contacts, tens of microns away from the wound, allowing direct calcium entry from extracellular fluid into damaged cells. Approximately 45 s after this rapid influx of calcium, we observe a second influx of calcium that spreads to neighboring cells beyond the footprint of cavitation. The occurrence of this second, delayed calcium expansion event is predicted by wound size, indicating that a separate mechanism of calcium entry exists, corresponding to cell loss at the primary wound. Our research demonstrates that the damage profile of laser ablation is more similar to a crush injury than the precision removal of individual cells. The generation of membrane microtears upon ablation is consistent with studies in the field of optoporation, which investigate ablation-induced cellular permeability. We conclude that multiple types of damage, including microtears and cell loss, result in multiple mechanisms of calcium influx around epithelial wounds.
Copyright © 2017 Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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.