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DA closure is crucial for the transition from fetal to neonatal life. This closure is supported by changes to the DA's signaling and structural properties that distinguish it from neighboring vessels. Examining transcriptional differences between these vessels is key to identifying genes or pathways responsible for DA closure. Several microarray studies have explored the DA transcriptome in animal models but varied experimental designs have led to conflicting results. Thorough transcriptomic analysis of the human DA has yet to be performed. A clear picture of the DA transcriptome is key to guiding future research endeavors, both to allow more targeted treatments in the clinical setting, and to understand the basic biology of DA function. In this review, we use a cross-species cross-platform analysis to consider all available published rodent microarray data and novel human RNAseq data in order to provide high priority candidate genes for consideration in future DA studies.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
EGF receptor (EGFR) is a critical signaling node throughout life. However, it has not been possible to directly visualize endogenous Egfr in mice. Using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing, we appended a fluorescent reporter to the C terminus of the Egfr. Homozygous reporter mice appear normal and EGFR signaling is intact in vitro and in vivo. We detect distinct patterns of Egfr expression in progenitor and differentiated compartments in embryonic and adult mice. Systemic delivery of EGF or amphiregulin results in markedly different patterns of Egfr internalization and trafficking in hepatocytes. In the normal intestine, Egfr localizes to the crypt rather than villus compartment, expression is higher in adjacent epithelium than in intestinal tumors, and following colonic injury expression appears in distinct cell populations in the stroma. This reporter, under control of its endogenous regulatory elements, enables in vivo monitoring of the dynamics of Egfr localization and trafficking in normal and disease states.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by 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.
The transcription factor Pdx1 is required for multiple aspects of pancreatic organogenesis. It remains unclear to what extent Pdx1 expression and function depend upon trans-activation through 5' conserved cis-regulatory regions and, in particular, whether the mammal-specific Area II (-2139 to -1958 bp) affects minor or major aspects of organogenesis. We show that Area II is a primary effector of endocrine-selective transcription in epithelial multipotent cells, nascent endocrine progenitors, and differentiating and mature β cells in vivo Pdx1 mice exhibit a massive reduction in endocrine progenitor cells and progeny hormone-producing cells, indicating that Area II activity is fundamental to mounting an effective endocrine lineage-specification program within the multipotent cell population. Creating an Area II-deleted state within already specified Neurog3-expressing endocrine progenitor cells increased the proportion of glucagon α relative to insulin β cells, associated with the transcriptional and epigenetic derepression of the α-cell-determining Arx gene in endocrine progenitors. There were also glucagon and insulin co-expressing cells, and β cells that were incapable of maturation. Creating the Pdx1 state after cells entered an insulin-expressing stage led to immature and dysfunctional islet β cells carrying abnormal chromatin marking in vital β-cell-associated genes. Therefore, trans-regulatory integration through Area II mediates a surprisingly extensive range of progenitor and β-cell-specific Pdx1 functions.
© 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
Pdx1 and Oc1 are co-expressed in multipotent pancreatic progenitors and regulate the pro-endocrine gene Neurog3. Their expression diverges in later organogenesis, with Oc1 absent from hormone+ cells and Pdx1 maintained in mature β cells. In a classical genetic test for cooperative functional interactions, we derived mice with combined Pdx1 and Oc1 heterozygosity. Endocrine development in double-heterozygous pancreata was normal at embryonic day (E)13.5, but defects in specification and differentiation were apparent at E15.5, the height of the second wave of differentiation. Pancreata from double heterozygotes showed alterations in the expression of genes crucial for β-cell development and function, decreased numbers and altered allocation of Neurog3-expressing endocrine progenitors, and defective endocrine differentiation. Defects in islet gene expression and β-cell function persisted in double heterozygous neonates. These results suggest that Oc1 and Pdx1 cooperate prior to their divergence, in pancreatic progenitors, to allow for proper differentiation and functional maturation of β cells.
Published by Elsevier Inc.
BACKGROUND - The CRISPR/Cas9 system is increasingly used for gene inactivation in mouse zygotes, but homology-directed mutagenesis and use of inbred embryos are less established. In particular, Rosa26 knock-in alleles for the insertion of transgenes in a genomic 'safe harbor' site, have not been produced. Here we applied CRISPR/Cas9 for the knock-in of 8-11 kb inserts into Rosa26 of C57BL/6 zygotes.
RESULTS - We found that 10-20 % of live pups derived from microinjected zygotes were founder mutants, without apparent off-target effects, and up to 50 % knock-in embryos were recovered upon coinjection of Cas9 mRNA and protein. Using this approach, we established a new mouse line for the Cre/loxP-dependent expression of Cas9.
CONCLUSIONS - Altogether, our protocols and resources support the fast and direct generation of new Rosa26 knock-in alleles and of Cas9-mediated in vivo gene editing in the widely used C57BL/6 inbred strain.
Commissural neurons project across the midline at all levels of the central nervous system (CNS), providing bilateral communication critical for the coordination of motor activity and sensory perception. Midline crossing at the spinal ventral midline has been extensively studied and has revealed that multiple developmental lineages contribute to this commissural neuron population. Ventral midline crossing occurs in a manner dependent on Robo3 regulation of Robo/Slit signaling and the ventral commissure is absent in the spinal cord and hindbrain of Robo3 mutants. Midline crossing in the spinal cord is not limited to the ventral midline, however. While prior anatomical studies provide evidence that commissural axons also cross the midline dorsally, little is known of the genetic and molecular properties of dorsally-crossing neurons or of the mechanisms that regulate dorsal midline crossing. In this study, we describe a commissural neuron population that crosses the spinal dorsal midline during the last quarter of embryogenesis in discrete fiber bundles present throughout the rostrocaudal extent of the spinal cord. Using immunohistochemistry, neurotracing, and mouse genetics, we show that this commissural neuron population includes spinal inhibitory neurons and sensory nociceptors. While the floor plate and roof plate are dispensable for dorsal midline crossing, we show that this population depends on Robo/Slit signaling yet crosses the dorsal midline in a Robo3-independent manner. The dorsally-crossing commissural neuron population we describe suggests a substrate circuitry for pain processing in the dorsal spinal cord.
According to recent research, brain injury after premature birth often includes impaired growth of the cerebellum. However, causes of cerebellar injury in this population are poorly understood. In this study, we analyzed whether postnatal hyperoxia perturbs white matter development of the cerebellum, and whether cerebellar glial damage can be prevented by minocycline. We used a hyperoxia model in neonatal rats providing 24 h exposure to fourfold increased oxygen concentration (80% O2) from P6 to P7, followed by recovery in room air until P9, P11, P15, P30. Injections with minocycline were performed at the beginning and 12 h into hyperoxia exposure. Hyperoxia induced oxidative stress in the cerebellum at P7 as evidenced by increased nitrotyrosine concentrations. Numbers of proliferating, NG2+Ki67+ oligodendroglial precursor cells were decreased at P7 after hyperoxia and at P11 following recovery in room air. Numbers of mature, CC1+ oligodendrocytes were diminished in recovering hyperoxia rats, and myelin basic protein expression was still decreased at P30. Electron microscopy analysis of myelinated fibers at P30 revealed thinner myelin sheath after hyperoxia. Long-term injury of the cerebellum by neonatal hyperoxia was confirmed by reduced volumes in MRI measurements at P30. In response to 80% O2, expression of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-A was largely reduced in cerebellar tissue and also in cultured cerebellar astrocytes. Treatment with minocycline during hyperoxia prevented oxidative stress, attenuated oligodendroglial injury, and improved astroglial PDGF-A levels. In conclusion, early hyperoxia causes white matter damage in the cerebellum with astroglial dysfunction being involved, and both can be prevented by treatment with minocycline. Neonatal exposure to hyperoxia causes hypomyelination of the cerebellum. Reduced astroglial growth factor production but not microglial inflammation seems to contribute to oligodendroglial damage, and minocycline rescues oligodendroglia development in the cerebellum after hyperoxia.
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Traditional therapies for type 1 diabetes (T1D) involve insulin replacement or islet/pancreas transplantation and have numerous limitations. Our previous work demonstrated the ability of embryonic brown adipose tissue (BAT) transplants to establish normoglycemia without insulin in chemically induced models of insulin-deficient diabetes. The current study sought to extend the technique to an autoimmune-mediated T1D model and document the underlying mechanisms. In nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice, BAT transplants result in complete reversal of T1D associated with rapid and long-lasting euglycemia. In addition, BAT transplants placed prior to the onset of diabetes on NOD mice can prevent or significantly delay the onset of diabetes. As with streptozotocin (STZ)-diabetic models, euglycemia is independent of insulin and strongly correlates with decrease of inflammation and increase of adipokines. Plasma insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) is the first hormone to increase following BAT transplants. Adipose tissue of transplant recipients consistently express IGF-I compared with little or no expression in controls, and plasma IGF-I levels show a direct negative correlation with glucose, glucagon, and inflammatory cytokines. Adipogenic and anti-inflammatory properties of IGF-I may stimulate regeneration of new healthy white adipose tissue, which in turn secretes hypoglycemic adipokines that substitute for insulin. IGF-I can also directly decrease blood glucose through activating insulin receptor. These data demonstrate the potential for insulin-independent reversal of autoimmune-induced T1D with BAT transplants and implicate IGF-I as a likely mediator in the resulting equilibrium.
Copyright © 2015 the American Physiological Society.
Dendritic spines are actin-rich protrusions that establish excitatory synaptic contacts with surrounding neurons. Reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton is critical for the development and plasticity of dendritic spines, which is the basis for learning and memory. Rho family GTPases are emerging as important modulators of spines and synapses, predominantly through their ability to regulate actin dynamics. Much less is known, however, about the function of guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs), which activate these GTPases, in spine and synapse development. In this study we show that the Rho family GEF Asef2 is found at synaptic sites, where it promotes dendritic spine and synapse formation. Knockdown of endogenous Asef2 with shRNAs impairs spine and synapse formation, whereas exogenous expression of Asef2 causes an increase in spine and synapse density. This effect of Asef2 on spines and synapses is abrogated by expression of GEF activity-deficient Asef2 mutants or by knockdown of Rac, suggesting that Asef2-Rac signaling mediates spine development. Because Asef2 interacts with the F-actin-binding protein spinophilin, which localizes to spines, we investigated the role of spinophilin in Asef2-promoted spine formation. Spinophilin recruits Asef2 to spines, and knockdown of spinophilin hinders spine and synapse formation in Asef2-expressing neurons. Furthermore, inhibition of N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDA) activity blocks spinophilin-mediated localization of Asef2 to spines. These results collectively point to spinophilin-Asef2-Rac signaling as a novel mechanism for the development of dendritic spines and synapses.
© 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.