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Ramakers G.J.,Institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and science | Ramakers G.J.,University of Amsterdam | Wolfer D.,University of Zürich | Wolfer D.,ETH Zurich | And 15 more authors.
Human Molecular Genetics | Year: 2012

Mutations in the ARHGEF6 gene, encoding the guanine nucleotide exchange factor αPIX/Cool-2 for the Rho GTPases Rac1 and Cdc42, cause X-linked intellectual disability (ID) in humans. We show here that αPix/Arhgef6 is primarily expressed in neuropil regions of the hippocampus. To study the role of αPix/Arhgef6 in neuronal development and plasticity and gain insight into the pathogenic mechanisms underlying ID, we generated αPix/Arhgef6-deficient mice. Gross brain structure in these mice appeared to be normal; however, analysis of Golgi-Cox-stained pyramidal neurons revealed an increase in both dendritic length and spine density in the hippocampus, accompanied by an overall loss in spine synapses. Early-phase long-term potentiation was reduced and long-term depression was increased in the CA1 hippocampal area of αPix/Arhgef6-deficient animals. Knockout animals exhibited impaired spatial and complex learning and less behavioral control in mildly stressful situations, suggesting that this model mimics the human ID phenotype. The structural and electrophysiological alterations in the hippocampus were accompanied by a significant reduction in active Rac1 and Cdc42, but not RhoA. In conclusion, we suggest that imbalance in activity of different Rho GTPases may underlie altered neuronal connectivity and impaired synaptic function and cognition in αPix/Arhgef6 knockout mice. Published by Oxford University Press 2011.


Erturk A.,Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology | Erturk A.,Genentech | Mauch C.P.,Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry | Hellal F.,Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology | And 17 more authors.
Nature Medicine | Year: 2012

Studying regeneration in the central nervous system (CNS) is hampered by current histological and imaging techniques because they provide only partial information about axonal and glial reactions. Here we developed a tetrahydrofuran-based clearing procedure that renders fixed and unsectioned adult CNS tissue transparent and fully penetrable for optical imaging. In large spinal cord segments, we imaged fluorescently labeled cells by 'ultramicroscopy' and two-photon microscopy without the need for histological sectioning. We found that more than a year after injury growth-competent axons regenerated abundantly through the injury site. A few growth-incompetent axons could also regenerate when they bypassed the lesion. Moreover, we accurately determined quantitative changes of glial cells after spinal cord injury. Thus, clearing CNS tissue enables an unambiguous evaluation of axon regeneration and glial reactions. Our clearing procedure also renders other organs transparent, which makes this approach useful for a large number of preclinical paradigms. © 2012 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.


Jiang N.,University of Washington | Soba P.,Center for Molecular Neurobiology | Parker E.,University of Washington | Kim C.C.,University of California at San Francisco | Parrish J.Z.,University of Washington
Development (Cambridge) | Year: 2014

As animals grow, many early born structures grow by cell expansion rather than cell addition; thus growth of distinct structures must be coordinated to maintain proportionality. This phenomenon is particularly widespread in the nervous system, with dendrite arbors of many neurons expanding in concert with their substrate to sustain connectivity and maintain receptive field coverage as animals grow. After rapidly growing to establish body wall coverage, dendrites of Drosophila class IV dendrite arborization (C4da) neurons grow synchronously with their substrate, the body wall epithelium, providing a system to study how proportionality is maintained during animal growth. Here, we show that the microRNA bantam (ban) ensures coordinated growth of C4da dendrites and the epithelium through regulation of epithelial endoreplication, a modified cell cycle that entails genome amplification without cell division. In Drosophila larvae, epithelial endoreplication leads to progressive changes in dendrite-extracellular matrix (ECM) and dendrite-epithelium contacts, coupling dendrite/substrate expansion and restricting dendrite growth beyond established boundaries. Moreover, changes in epithelial expression of cell adhesion molecules, including the beta-integrin myospheroid (mys), accompany this developmental transition. Finally, endoreplication and the accompanying changes in epithelial mys expression are required to constrain late-stage dendrite growth and structural plasticity. Hence, modulating epithelium-ECM attachment probably influences substrate permissivity for dendrite growth and contributes to the dendrite-substrate coupling that ensures proportional expansion of the two cell types. © 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.


PubMed | Center for Molecular Neurobiology, University of California at San Francisco and University of Washington
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Development (Cambridge, England) | Year: 2014

As animals grow, many early born structures grow by cell expansion rather than cell addition; thus growth of distinct structures must be coordinated to maintain proportionality. This phenomenon is particularly widespread in the nervous system, with dendrite arbors of many neurons expanding in concert with their substrate to sustain connectivity and maintain receptive field coverage as animals grow. After rapidly growing to establish body wall coverage, dendrites of Drosophila class IV dendrite arborization (C4da) neurons grow synchronously with their substrate, the body wall epithelium, providing a system to study how proportionality is maintained during animal growth. Here, we show that the microRNA bantam (ban) ensures coordinated growth of C4da dendrites and the epithelium through regulation of epithelial endoreplication, a modified cell cycle that entails genome amplification without cell division. In Drosophila larvae, epithelial endoreplication leads to progressive changes in dendrite-extracellular matrix (ECM) and dendrite-epithelium contacts, coupling dendrite/substrate expansion and restricting dendrite growth beyond established boundaries. Moreover, changes in epithelial expression of cell adhesion molecules, including the beta-integrin myospheroid (mys), accompany this developmental transition. Finally, endoreplication and the accompanying changes in epithelial mys expression are required to constrain late-stage dendrite growth and structural plasticity. Hence, modulating epithelium-ECM attachment probably influences substrate permissivity for dendrite growth and contributes to the dendrite-substrate coupling that ensures proportional expansion of the two cell types.


Bouche E.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg | Romero-Ortega M.I.,University of Texas at Arlington | Henkemeyer M.,University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center | Catchpole T.,University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center | And 10 more authors.
Cell Research | Year: 2013

The integration of newborn neurons into functional neuronal networks requires migration of cells to their final position in the developing brain, the growth and arborization of neuronal processes and the formation of synaptic contacts with other neurons. A central player among the signals that coordinate this complex sequence of differentiation events is the secreted glycoprotein Reelin, which also modulates synaptic plasticity, learning and memory formation in the adult brain. Binding of Reelin to ApoER2 and VLDL receptor, two members of the LDL receptor family, initiates a signaling cascade involving tyrosine phosphorylation of the intracellular cytoplasmic adaptor protein Disabled-1, which targets the neuronal cytoskeleton and ultimately controls the positioning of neurons throughout the developing brain. However, it is possible that Reelin signals interact with other receptor-mediated signaling cascades to regulate different aspects of brain development and plasticity. EphB tyrosine kinases regulate cell adhesion and repulsion-dependent processes via bidirectional signaling through ephrin B transmembrane proteins. Here, we demonstrate that Reelin binds to the extracellular domains of EphB transmembrane proteins, inducing receptor clustering and activation of EphB forward signaling in neurons, independently of the 'classical' Reelin receptors, ApoER2 and VLDLR. Accordingly, mice lacking EphB1 and EphB2 display a positioning defect of CA3 hippocampal pyramidal neurons, similar to that in Reelin-deficient mice, and this cell migration defect depends on the kinase activity of EphB proteins. Together, our data provide biochemical and functional evidence for signal integration between Reelin and EphB forward signaling. © 2013 IBCB, SIBS, CAS All rights reserved.


Doeppner T.R.,University of Duisburg - Essen | Doeppner T.R.,University of Goettingen Medical School | Ewert T.A.S.,University of Hamburg | Tonges L.,University of Goettingen Medical School | And 13 more authors.
Stem Cells | Year: 2012

Novel therapeutic concepts against cerebral ischemia focus on cell-based therapies in order to overcome some of the side effects of thrombolytic therapy. However, cell-based therapies are hampered because of restricted understanding regarding optimal cell transplantation routes and due to low survival rates of grafted cells. We therefore transplanted adult green fluorescence protein positive neural precursor cells (NPCs) either intravenously (systemic) or intrastriatally (intracerebrally) 6 hours after stroke in mice. To enhance survival of NPCs, cells were in vitro protein-transduced with TAT-heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) before transplantation followed by a systematic analysis of brain injury and underlying mechanisms depending on cell delivery routes. Transduction of NPCs with TAT-Hsp70 resulted in increased intracerebral numbers of grafted NPCs after intracerebral but not after systemic transplantation. Whereas systemic delivery of either native or transduced NPCs yielded sustained neuroprotection and induced neurological recovery, only TAT-Hsp70-transduced NPCs prevented secondary neuronal degeneration after intracerebral delivery that was associated with enhanced functional outcome. Furthermore, intracerebral transplantation of TAT-Hsp70-transduced NPCs enhanced postischemic neurogenesis and induced sustained high levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor, and vascular endothelial growth factor in vivo. Neuroprotection after intracerebral cell delivery correlated with the amount of surviving NPCs. On the contrary, systemic delivery of NPCs mediated acute neuroprotection via stabilization of the blood-brain-barrier, concomitant with reduced activation of matrix metalloprotease 9 and decreased formation of reactive oxygen species. Our findings imply two different mechanisms of action of intracerebrally and systemically transplanted NPCs, indicating that systemic NPC delivery might be more feasible for translational stroke concepts, lacking a need of in vitro manipulation of NPCs to induce long-term neuroprotection. © AlphaMed Press.


Aron L.,Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology | Klein P.,Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology | Pham T.-T.,Helmholtz Center Munich | Kramer E.R.,Center for Molecular Neurobiology | And 2 more authors.
PLoS Biology | Year: 2010

The mechanisms underlying the selective death of substantia nigra (SN) neurons in Parkinson disease (PD) remain elusive. While inactivation of DJ-1, an oxidative stress suppressor, causes PD, animal models lacking DJ-1 show no overt dopaminergic (DA) neuron degeneration in the SN. Here, we show that aging mice lacking DJ-1 and the GDNF-receptor Ret in the DA system display an accelerated loss of SN cell bodies, but not axons, compared to mice that only lack Ret signaling. The survival requirement for DJ-1 is specific for the GIRK2-positive subpopulation in the SN which projects exclusively to the striatum and is more vulnerable in PD. Using Drosophila genetics, we show that constitutively active Ret and associated Ras/ ERK, but not PI3K/Akt, signaling components interact genetically with DJ-1. Double loss-of-function experiments indicate that DJ-1 interacts with ERK signaling to control eye and wing development. Our study uncovers a conserved interaction between DJ-1 and Ret-mediated signaling and a novel cell survival role for DJ-1 in the mouse. A better understanding of the molecular connections between trophic signaling, cellular stress and aging could uncover new targets for drug development in PD. © 2010 Aron et al.


Bannas P.,University of Hamburg | Scheuplein F.,University of Hamburg | Well L.,University of Hamburg | Hermans-Borgmeyer I.,Center for Molecular Neurobiology | And 2 more authors.
Molecular Immunology | Year: 2011

T cells constitutively express low amounts of a toxin-related ADP-ribosylating ecto-enzyme, ART2.2. In inflammatory settings, cells release NAD, the substrate for ART2.2. The ART2.2 catalyzed ADP-ribosylation of cell surface proteins induces cell death. However, the low expression levels of ART2.2 have hampered analysis of ART2.2 in physiological settings. Here we report the generation of transgenic mice over-expressing ART2.2 under the control of the H2K promoter and Igμ enhancer. ART2.2 transgenic mice were healthy and fertile and exhibited normal development of the major lymphocyte subsets. Most T cells and a small subpopulation of B cells from transgenic mice showed more than 10-fold higher levels of ART2.2 expression than their wild-type counterparts. Exposure of ART2.2-transgenic T cells to low, submicromolar concentrations of NAD caused cell membrane alterations including uptake of propidium iodide, externalization of phosphatidylserine, and shedding of CD62L, while ART2.2-transgenic B cells were resistant to NAD. The ART2.2-overexpressing animals described here confirm that ART2.2 is an essential component for the regulation of T-cell functions by extracellular NAD and provide a useful tool to further elucidate the function of ART2.2 in vivo. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Lutterotti A.,Institute for Neuroimmunology and Clinical MS Research | Lutterotti A.,Innsbruck Medical University | Yousef S.,Institute for Neuroimmunology and Clinical MS Research | Sputtek A.,University of Hamburg | And 14 more authors.
Science Translational Medicine | Year: 2013

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a devastating inflammatory disease of the brain and spinal cord that is thought to result from an autoimmune attack directed against antigens in the central nervous system. The aim of this firstin- man trial was to assess the feasibility, safety, and tolerability of a tolerization regimen in MS patients that uses a single infusion of autologous peripheral blood mononuclear cells chemically coupled with seven myelin peptides (MOG 1-20, MOG35-55, MBP13-32, MBP83-99, MBP111-129, MBP146-170, and PLP139-154). An open-label, singlecenter, dose-escalation study was performed in seven relapsing-remitting and two secondary progressive MS patients who were off-treatment for standard therapies. All patients had to show T cell reactivity against at least one of the myelin peptides used in the trial. Neurological, magnetic resonance imaging, laboratory, and immunological examinations were performed to assess the safety, tolerability, and in vivo mechanisms of action of this regimen. Administration of antigen-coupled cells was feasible, had a favorable safety profile, and was well tolerated in MS patients. Patients receiving the higher doses (<1 < 109) of peptide-coupled cells had a decrease in antigen-specific T cell responses after peptide-coupled cell therapy. In summary, this first-in-man clinical trial of autologous peptide-coupled cells in MS patients establishes the feasibility and indicates good tolerability and safety of this therapeutic approach. Copyright 2013 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science; all rights reserved.

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