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Neuronal-glial relationships play a critical role in the maintenance of central nervous system architecture and neuronal specification. A deeper understanding of these relationships can elucidate cellular cross-talk capable of sustaining proper development of neural tissues. In the cerebellum, cerebellar granule neuron precursors (CGNPs) proliferate in response to Purkinje neuron-derived Sonic hedgehog (Shh) before ultimately exiting the cell cycle and migrating radially along Bergmann glial fibers. However, the function of Bergmann glia in CGNP proliferation remains not well defined. Interestingly, the Hh pathway is also activated in Bergmann glia, but the role of Shh signaling in these cells is unknown. In this study, we show that specific ablation of Shh signaling using the tamoxifen-inducible TNC line to eliminate Shh pathway activator Smoothened in Bergmann glia is sufficient to cause severe cerebellar hypoplasia and a significant reduction in CGNP proliferation. TNC; Smo (Smo) mice demonstrate an obvious reduction in cerebellar size within two days of ablation of Shh signaling. Mutant cerebella have severely reduced proliferation and increased differentiation of CGNPs due to a significant decrease in Shh activity and concomitant activation of Wnt signaling in Smo CGNPs, suggesting that this pathway is involved in cross-talk with the Shh pathway in regulating CGNP proliferation. In addition, Purkinje cells are ectopically located, their dendrites stunted, and the Bergmann glial network disorganized. Collectively, these data demonstrate a previously unappreciated role for Bergmann glial Shh signaling activity in the proliferation of CGNPs and proper maintenance of cerebellar architecture.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The optic neuroepithelial continuum of vertebrate eye develops into three differentially growing compartments: the retina, the ciliary margin (CM), and the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Neurofibromin 2 (Nf2) is strongly expressed in slowly expanding RPE and CM compartments, and the loss of mouse Nf2 causes hyperplasia in these compartments, replicating the ocular abnormalities seen in human NF2 patients. The hyperplastic ocular phenotypes were largely suppressed by heterozygous deletion of Yap and Taz, key targets of the Nf2-Hippo signaling pathway. We also found that, in addition to feedback transcriptional regulation of Nf2 by Yap/Taz in the CM, activation of Nf2 expression by Mitf in the RPE and suppression by Sox2 in retinal progenitor cells are necessary for the differential growth of the corresponding cell populations. Together, our findings reveal that Nf2 is a key player that orchestrates the differential growth of optic neuroepithelial compartments during vertebrate eye development.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Increasing evidence indicates that the adult neurogenic niche of the ventricular-subventricular zone (V-SVZ), beyond serving as a potential site of origin, affects the outcome of malignant brain cancers. Glioma contact with this niche predicts worse prognosis, suggesting a supportive role for the V-SVZ environment in tumor initiation or progression. In this review, we describe unique components of the V-SVZ that may permit or promote tumor growth within the region. Cell-cell interactions, soluble factors, and extracellular matrix composition are discussed, and the role of the niche in future therapies is explored. The purpose of this review is to highlight niche intrinsic factors that may promote or support malignant cell growth and maintenance, and point out how we might leverage these features to improve patient outcome.
Copyright © 2018 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disease resulting in motor impairment and death in patients. Recently, several studies have demonstrated insulin or insulin-like growth factor (IGF) treatment in models of HD, resulting in potent amelioration of HD phenotypes via modulation of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathways. Administration of IGF and insulin can rescue microtubule transport, metabolic function, and autophagy defects, resulting in clearance of Huntingtin (HTT) aggregates, restoration of mitochondrial function, amelioration of motor abnormalities, and enhanced survival. Manganese (Mn) is an essential metal to all biological systems but, in excess, can be toxic. Interestingly, several studies have revealed the insulin-mimetic effects of Mn-demonstrating Mn can activate several of the same metabolic kinases and increase peripheral and neuronal insulin and IGF-1 levels in rodent models. Separate studies have shown mouse and human striatal neuroprogenitor cell (NPC) models exhibit a deficit in cellular Mn uptake, indicative of a Mn deficiency. Furthermore, evidence from the literature reveals a striking overlap between cellular consequences of Mn deficiency (i.e., impaired function of Mn-dependent enzymes) and known HD endophenotypes including excitotoxicity, increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation, and decreased mitochondrial function. Here we review published evidence supporting a hypothesis that (1) the potent effect of IGF or insulin treatment on HD models, (2) the insulin-mimetic effects of Mn, and (3) the newly discovered Mn-dependent perturbations in HD may all be functionally related. Together, this review will present the intriguing possibility that intricate regulatory cross-talk exists between Mn biology and/or toxicology and the insulin/IGF signaling pathways which may be deeply connected to HD pathology and, perhaps, other neurodegenerative diseases (NDDs) and other neuropathological conditions.
In a recent study, we found that blocking the protein kinase ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) with the small molecule inhibitor (SMI) KU-55933 can completely abrogate Mn-induced phosphorylation of p53 at serine 15 (p-p53) in human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-differentiated striatal neuroprogenitors. However, in the immortalized mouse striatal progenitor cell line STHdh, a concentration of KU55933 far exceeding its IC for ATM was required to inhibit Mn-induced p-p53. This suggested an alternative signaling system redundant with ATM kinase for activating p53 in this cell line- one that was altered by KU55933 at these higher concentrations (i.e. mTORC1, DNApk, PI3K). To test the hypothesis that one or more of these signaling pathways contributed to Mn-induced p-p53, we utilized a set of SMIs (e.g. NU7441 and LY294002) known to block DNApk, PI3K, and mTORC1 at distinct concentrations. We found that the SMIs inhibit Mn-induced p-p53 expression near the expected IC for PI3K, versus other known targets. We hypothesized that inhibiting PI3K reduces intracellular Mn and thereby decreases activation of p53 by Mn. Using the cellular fura-2 manganese extraction assay (CFMEA), we determined that KU55933/60019, NU7441, and LY294002 (at concentrations near their IC for PI3K) all decrease intracellular Mn (∼50%) after a dual, 24-h Mn and SMI exposure. Many pathways are activated by Mn aside from p-p53, including AKT and mTOR pathways. Thus, we explored the activation of these pathways by Mn in STHdh cells as well as the effects of other pathway inhibitors. p-AKT and p-S6 activation by Mn is almost completely blocked upon addition of NU7441(5μM) or LY294002(7μM), supporting PI3K's upstream role in the AKT/mTOR pathway. We also investigated whether PI3K inhibition blocks Mn uptake in other cell lines. LY294002 exposure did not reduce Mn uptake in ST14A, Neuro2A, HEK293, MEF, or hiPSC-derived neuroprogenitors. Next, we sought to determine whether inhibition of PI3K blocked p53 phosphorylation by directly blocking an unknown PI3K/p53 interaction or indirectly reducing intracellular Mn, decreasing p-p53 expression. In-Cell Western and CFMEA experiments using multiple concentrations of Mn exposures demonstrated that intracellular Mn levels directly correlated with p-p53 expression with or without addition of LY294002. Finally, we examined whether PI3K inhibition was able to block Mn-induced p-p53 activity in hiPSC-derived striatal neuroprogenitors. As expected, LY294002 does not block Mn-induced p-p53 as PI3K inhibition is unable to reduce Mn net uptake in this cell line, suggesting the effect of LY294002 on Mn uptake is relatively specific to the STHdh mouse striatal cell line.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
High-level amplification of the protein phosphatase PPM1D (WIP1) is present in a subset of medulloblastomas (MBs) that have an expression profile consistent with active Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) signaling. We found that WIP1 overexpression increased expression of Shh target genes and cell proliferation in response to Shh stimulation in NIH3T3 and cerebellar granule neuron precursor cells in a p53-independent manner. Thus, we developed a mouse in which WIP1 is expressed in the developing brain under control of the Neurod2 promoter (ND2:WIP1). The external granule layer (EGL) in early postnatal ND2:WIP1 mice exhibited increased proliferation and expression of Shh downstream targets. MB incidence increased and survival decreased when ND2:WIP1 mice were crossed with an Shh-activated MB mouse model. Conversely, Wip1 knockout significantly suppressed MB formation in two independent mouse models of Shh-activated MB. Furthermore, Wip1 knockdown or treatment with a WIP1 inhibitor suppressed the effects of Shh stimulation and potentiated the growth inhibitory effects of SHH pathway-inhibiting drugs in Shh-activated MB cells in vitro. This suggests an important cross-talk between SHH and WIP1 pathways that accelerates tumorigenesis and supports WIP1 inhibition as a potential treatment strategy for MB.
Recovery from organ-specific autoimmune diseases largely relies on the mobilization of endogenous repair mechanisms and local factors that control them. Natural killer (NK) cells are swiftly mobilized to organs targeted by autoimmunity and typically undergo numerical contraction when inflammation wanes. We report the unexpected finding that NK cells are retained in the brain subventricular zone (SVZ) during the chronic phase of multiple sclerosis in humans and its animal model in mice. These NK cells were found preferentially in close proximity to SVZ neural stem cells (NSCs) that produce interleukin-15 and sustain functionally competent NK cells. Moreover, NK cells limited the reparative capacity of NSCs following brain inflammation. These findings reveal that reciprocal interactions between NSCs and NK cells regulate neurorepair.
Postnatal proliferation of cerebellar granule neuron precursors (CGNPs), proposed cells of origin for the SHH-associated subgroup of medulloblastoma, is driven by Sonic hedgehog (Shh) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) in the developing cerebellum. Shh induces the oncogene Yes-associated protein (YAP), which drives IGF2 expression in CGNPs and mouse Shh-associated medulloblastomas. To determine how IGF2 expression is regulated downstream of YAP, we carried out an unbiased screen for transcriptional regulators bound to IGF2 promoters. We report that Y-box binding protein-1 (YB-1), an onco-protein regulating transcription and translation, binds to IGF2 promoter P3. We observed that YB-1 is upregulated across human medulloblastoma subclasses as well as in other varieties of pediatric brain tumors. Utilizing the cerebellar progenitor model for the Shh subgroup of medulloblastoma in mice, we show for the first time that YB-1 is induced by Shh in CGNPs. Its expression is YAP-dependent and it is required for IGF2 expression in CGNPs. Finally, both gain-of function and loss-of-function experiments reveal that YB-1 activity is required for sustaining CGNP and medulloblastoma cell (MBC) proliferation. Collectively, our findings describe a novel role for YB-1 in driving proliferation in the developing cerebellum and MBCs and they identify the SHH:YAP:YB1:IGF2 axis as a powerful target for therapeutic intervention in medulloblastomas.
INSM1 is a zinc-finger protein expressed throughout the developing nervous system in late neuronal progenitors and nascent neurons. In the embryonic cortex and olfactory epithelium, Insm1 may promote the transition of progenitors from apical, proliferative, and uncommitted to basal, terminally-dividing and neuron producing. In the otocyst, delaminating and delaminated progenitors express Insm1, whereas apically-dividing progenitors do not. This expression pattern is analogous to that in embryonic olfactory epithelium and cortex (basal/subventricular progenitors). Lineage analysis confirms that auditory and vestibular neurons originate from Insm1-expressing cells. In the absence of Insm1, otic ganglia are smaller, with 40% fewer neurons. Accounting for the decrease in neurons, delaminated progenitors undergo fewer mitoses, but there is no change in apoptosis. We conclude that in the embryonic inner ear, Insm1 promotes proliferation of delaminated neuronal progenitors and hence the production of neurons, a similar function to that in other embryonic neural epithelia. Unexpectedly, we also found that differentiating, but not mature, outer hair cells express Insm1, whereas inner hair cells do not. Insm1 is the earliest known gene expressed in outer versus inner hair cells, demonstrating that nascent outer hair cells initiate a unique differentiation program in the embryo, much earlier than previously believed.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Neural stem cells in different locations of the postnatal mouse ventricular-subventricular zone (V-SVZ) generate different subtypes of olfactory bulb (OB) interneurons. High Sonic hedgehog (SHH) signaling in the ventral V-SVZ regulates the production of specific subtypes of neurons destined for the OB. Here we found a transient territory of high SHH signaling in the dorsal V-SVZ beneath the corpus callosum (CC). Using intersectional lineage tracing in neonates to label dorsal radial glial cells (RGCs) expressing the SHH target gene Gli1, we demonstrate that this region produces many CC cells in the oligodendroglial lineage and specific subtypes of neurons in the OB. The number of oligodendroglial cells generated correlated with the levels of SHH signaling. This work identifies a dorsal domain of SHH signaling, which is an important source of oligodendroglial cells for the postnatal mammalian forebrain.
Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.