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Cubelos B.,CSIC - National Center for Biotechnology | Sebastian-Serrano A.,CSIC - National Center for Biotechnology | Beccari L.,CIBER ISCIII | Calcagnotto M.E.,CABIMER | And 6 more authors.
Neuron | Year: 2010

Dendrite branching and spine formation determines the function of morphologically distinct and specialized neuronal subclasses. However, little is known about the programs instructing specific branching patterns in vertebrate neurons and whether such programs influence dendritic spines and synapses. Using knockout and knockdown studies combined with morphological, molecular, and electrophysiological analysis, we show that the homeobox Cux1 and Cux2 are intrinsic and complementary regulators of dendrite branching, spine development, and synapse formation in layer II-III neurons of the cerebral cortex. Cux genes control the number and maturation of dendritic spines partly through direct regulation of the expression of Xlr3b and Xlr4b, chromatin remodeling genes previously implicated in cognitive defects. Accordingly, abnormal dendrites and synapses in Cux2-/- mice correlate with reduced synaptic function and defects in working memory. These demonstrate critical roles of Cux in dendritogenesis and highlight subclass-specific mechanisms of synapse regulation that contribute to the establishment of cognitive circuits. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

Munoz-Barrera M.,CABIMER | Aguilar I.,University of Seville | Monje-Casas F.,CABIMER | Monje-Casas F.,University of Seville
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Aurora B and the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) collaborate to ensure the proper biorientation of chromosomes during mitosis. However, lack of Aurora B activity and inactivation of the SAC have a very different impact on chromosome segregation. This is most evident in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, since in this organism the lack of Aurora B is lethal and leads to severe aneuploidy problems, while the SAC is dispensable under normal growth conditions and mutants in this checkpoint do not show evident chromosome segregation defects. We demonstrate that the efficient repair of incorrect chromosome attachments by Aurora B during the initial stages of spindle assembly in budding yeast determines the lack of chromosome segregation defects in SAC mutants, and propose that the differential time window that Aurora B kinase requires to establish chromosome biorientation is the key factor that determines why some cells are more dependent on a functional SAC than others. © 2015 Muñoz-Barrera et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Rodriguez-Vargas J.M.,Institute Parasitologia y Biomedicina Lopez Neyra | Ruiz-Magaa M.J.,University of Granada | Ruiz-Ruiz C.,University of Granada | Majuelos-Melguizo J.,Institute Parasitologia y Biomedicina Lopez Neyra | And 8 more authors.
Cell Research | Year: 2012

In response to nutrient stress, cells start an autophagy program that can lead to adaptation or death. The mechanisms underlying the signaling from starvation to the initiation of autophagy are not fully understood. In the current study we show that the absence or inactivation of PARP-1 strongly delays starvation-induced autophagy. We have found that DNA damage is an early event of starvation-induced autophagy as measured by γ-H2AX accumulation and comet assay, with PARP-1 knockout cells displaying a reduction in both parameters. During starvation, ROS-induced DNA damage activates PARP-1, leading to ATP depletion (an early event after nutrient deprivation). The absence of PARP-1 blunted AMPK activation and prevented the complete loss of mTOR activity, leading to a delay in autophagy. PARP-1 depletion favors apoptosis in starved cells, suggesting a pro-survival role of autophagy and PARP-1 activation after nutrient deprivation. In vivo results show that neonates of PARP-1 mutant mice subjected to acute starvation, also display deficient liver autophagy, implying a physiological role for PARP-1 in starvation-induced autophagy. Thus, the PARP signaling pathway is a key regulator of the initial steps of autophagy commitment following starvation. © 2012 IBCB, SIBS, CAS All rights reserved.

Calado S.M.,University of Algarve | Calado S.M.,New University of Lisbon | Diaz-Corrales F.,CABIMER | Silva G.A.,New University of Lisbon
Human Gene Therapy Methods | Year: 2016

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is one of the major complications of diabetes mellitus. It is characterized by retinal microvascular changes caused by chronic exposure to hyperglycemia, leading to low tissue oxygenation and ultimately to neovascularization. Laser photocoagulation and vitrectomy are the most efficient treatments for DR, but display severe side effects such as the destruction of the healthy retina. Another clinical approach uses antiangiogenic agents to prevent and delay progression of neovascularization, but these require recurrent local administrations that increase the possibility of retinal detachment, vitreous hemorrhage, and cataract formation. Studies in human diabetic retinas have revealed an imbalance between proangiogenic factors such as the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and antiangiogenic factors, such as pigment epithelial-derived factor (PEDF). This imbalance favors pathological angiogenesis contributing to DR, and can constitute a therapeutic target. Gene therapy was recently shown to be an adequate intervention for long-term treatment of several retinal pathologies. We have previously shown the newly engineered episomal vector pEPito to be able of sustained gene expression in the mouse retina. We here show that pEPito was able to overexpress PEDF for up to three months, both in in vitro cultures of human retinal pigment epithelial cells and in the retina of diabetic mice after a single subretinal injection. In vivo, in parallel with the increase in PEDF we observed a decrease in VEGF levels in injected compared with noninjected eyes and a significant effect on two hallmarks of DR: reduction of glucose transport (by glucose transporter GLUT1), and reduction of inflammation by decreased reactivity of microglia. Jointly, these results point to a significant therapeutic potential of gene therapy with pEPito-PEDF for the treatment of DR. © 2016, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Osorio C.,University of Cardiff | Chacon P.J.,University of Cardiff | Kisiswa L.,University of Cardiff | Kisiswa L.,Karolinska Institutet | And 4 more authors.
Development (Cambridge) | Year: 2013

Dendrite size and morphology are key determinants of the functional properties of neurons. Here, we show that growth differentiation factor 5 (GDF5), a member of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) subclass of the transforming growth factor β superfamily with a wellcharacterised role in limb morphogenesis, is a key regulator of the growth and elaboration of pyramidal cell dendrites in the developing hippocampus. Pyramidal cells co-express GDF5 and its preferred receptors, BMP receptor 1B and BMP receptor 2, during development. In culture, GDF5 substantially increased dendrite, but not axon, elongation from these neurons by a mechanism that depends on activation of SMADs 1/5/8 and upregulation of the transcription factor HES5. In vivo, the apical and basal dendritic arbours of pyramidal cells throughout the hippocampus were markedly stunted in both homozygous and heterozygous Gdf5 null mutants, indicating that dendrite size and complexity are exquisitely sensitive to the level of endogenous GDF5 synthesis. © 2013.

Wakeman J.A.,Bangor University | Hmadcha A.,CABIMER | Soria B.,CABIMER | McFarlane R.J.,Bangor University
Biomolecular Concepts | Year: 2012

Cairns first suggested a mechanism for protecting the genomes of stem cells (SCs) from replicative errors some 40 years ago when he proposed the immortal strand hypothesis, which argued for the inheritance of a so-called immortal strand by an SC following asymmetric SC divisions. To date, the existence of immortal strands remains contentious with published evidence arguing in favour of and against the retention of an immortal strand by asymmetrically dividing SCs. The conflicting evidence is derived from a diverse array of studies on adult SC types and is predominantly based on following the fate of labelled DNA strands during asymmetric cell division events. Here, we review current data, highlighting limitations of such labelling techniques, and suggest how interpretation of such data may be improved in the future. © 2012 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston 2012.

Bae D.,University College London | Mondragon-Teran P.,University College London | Hernandez D.,University College London | Ruban L.,University College London | And 4 more authors.
Stem Cells and Development | Year: 2012

The efficient differentiation of retinal cells from human pluripotent stem cells remains a major challenge for the development of successful and cost-effective cellular therapies for various forms of blindness. Current differentiation strategies rely on exposing pluripotent stem cells to soluble growth factors that play key roles during early development (such as DKK-1, Noggin, and IGF-1) at 20% oxygen (O2). This O2 tension is, however, considerably higher than O2 levels during organogenesis and may impair the differentiation process. In this study, we examined the effect of mimicking the physiological O2 tension (2%) on the generation of retinal progenitor cells (RPCs) from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Both cell types were induced to differentiate into RPCs at 20% and 2% O2. After 3 days in suspension culture as embryoid bodies (EBs), 2% O2 caused the activation of hypoxia inducible factor responsive genes VEGF and LDHA and was accompanied by elevated expression levels of the early eye field genes Six3 and Lhx2. Twenty-one days after plating EBs in an adherent culture, we observed more RPCs co-expressing Pax6 and Chx10 at 2% O2. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis confirmed that lowering O2 tension had caused a rise in the expression of both genes compared with 20% O2. Our results indicate that mimicking physiological O2 is a favorable condition for the efficient generation of RPCs from both hiPSCs and hESCs. © Copyright 2012, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Volarevic V.,University of Kragujevac | Erceg S.,CABIMER | Bhattacharya S.S.,CABIMER | Stojkovic P.,University of Kragujevac | And 2 more authors.
Cell Transplantation | Year: 2013

Stem cells (SCs) represent a new therapeutic approach for spinal cord injury (SCI) by enabling improved sensory and motor functions in animal models. The main goal of SC-based therapy for SCI is the replacement of neurons and glial cells that undergo cell death soon after injury. Stem cells are able to promote remyelination via oligodendroglia cell replacement to produce trophic factors enhancing neurite outgrowth, axonal elongation, and fiber density and to activate resident or transplanted progenitor cells across the lesion cavity. While several SC transplantation strategies have shown promising yet partial efficacy, mechanistic proof is generally lacking and is arguably the largest impediment toward faster progress and clinical application. The main challenge ahead is to spur on cooperation between clinicians, researchers, and patients in order to define and optimize the mechanisms of SC function and to establish the ideal source/s of SCs that produce efficient and also safe therapeutic approaches. © 2013 Cognizant Comm. Corp.

Chakarova C.F.,University College London | Khanna H.,University of Massachusetts Medical School | Shah A.Z.,University College London | Patil S.B.,University of Massachusetts Medical School | And 15 more authors.
Human Molecular Genetics | Year: 2011

We recently reported that mutations in the widely expressed nuclear protein TOPORS (topoisomerase I-binding arginine/serine rich) are associated with autosomal dominant retinal degeneration. However, the precise localization and a functional role of TOPORS in the retina remain unknown. Here, we demonstrate that TOPORS is a novel component of the photoreceptor sensory cilium, which is a modified primary cilium involved with polarized trafficking of proteins. In photoreceptors, TOPORS localizes primarily to the basal bodies of connecting cilium and in the centrosomes of cultured cells. Morpholino-mediated silencing of topors in zebrafish embryos demonstrates in another species a comparable retinal problem as seen in humans, resulting in defective retinal development and failure to form outer segments. These defects can be rescued by mRNA encoding human TOPORS. Taken together, our data suggest that TOPORS may play a key role in regulating primary cilia-dependent photoreceptor development and function. Additionally, it is well known that mutations in other ciliary proteins cause retinal degeneration, which may explain why mutations in TOPORS result in the same phenotype. © The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

PubMed | University of Lausanne, CABIMER, Johns Hopkins University and University College London
Type: | Journal: Scientific reports | Year: 2016

PRPF31-associated retinitis pigmentosa presents a fascinating enigma: some mutation carriers are blind, while others are asymptomatic. We identify the major molecular cause of this incomplete penetrance through three cardinal features: (1) there is population variation in the number (3 or 4) of a minisatellite repeat element (MSR1) adjacent to the PRPF31 core promoter; (2) in vitro, 3-copies of the MSR1 element can repress gene transcription by 50 to 115-fold; (3) the higher-expressing 4-copy allele is not observed among symptomatic PRPF31 mutation carriers and correlates with the rate of asymptomatic carriers in different populations. Thus, a linked transcriptional modifier decreases PRPF31 gene expression that leads to haploinsufficiency. This result, taken with other identified risk alleles, allows precise genetic counseling for the first time. We also demonstrate that across the human genome, the presence of MSR1 repeats in the promoters or first introns of genes is associated with greater population variability in gene expression indicating that copy number variation of MSR1s is a generic controller of gene expression and promises to provide new insights into our understanding of gene expression regulation.

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