Center for Molecular Neurobiology Hamburg

Hamburg, Germany

Center for Molecular Neurobiology Hamburg

Hamburg, Germany
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Jakovcevski I.,University of Connecticut Health Center | Jakovcevski I.,Center for Molecular Neurobiology Hamburg | Mayer N.,University of Connecticut Health Center | Zecevic N.,University of Connecticut Health Center
Cerebral Cortex | Year: 2011

Cortical γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic interneurons in rodents originate mainly in ventrally positioned ganglionic eminences (GEs), but their origin in primates is still debated. We studied human fetal forebrains during the first half of gestation (5-23 gestational weeks, gw) for the expression of ventral transcription factors, Nkx2.1, Dlx1,2, Lhx6, and Mash1, important for development of neocortical interneurons. In embryonic (5-8 gw) human forebrain, these factors were expressed in the GE but also dorsally in the neocortical ventricular/subventricular zones (VZ/SVZ). Furthermore, their expression was retained in cells of all fetal cortical layers up to midgestation (20 gw). Nkx2.1 continued to be expressed not only in the GE but also in a subpopulation of neocortical interneurons. Moreover, proliferation marker Ki67 revealed that calretinin+, Mash1+, and Nkx2.1+ cells proliferate in the neocortical VZ/SVZ at midgestation. At least some of the Mash1+ progenitors in the neocortical SVZ could be colabeled with GABA, whereas others were oligodendrocyte progenitors, indicating a link between the 2 lineages. Taken together, these results suggest the existence of several categories of dorsal interneuronal progenitors in the human neocortical VZ/SVZ, in addition to ventrally derived cortical interneurons described in rodents. These human-specific developmental events may underlie human brain's higher complexity and capacity to process information. © 2011 The Authors.


Perez-Alvarez A.,Instituto Cajal | Perez-Alvarez A.,Center for Molecular Neurobiology Hamburg | Araque A.,Instituto Cajal | Martin E.D.,University of Castilla - La Mancha
Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience | Year: 2013

In vivo imaging is one of the ultimate and fundamental approaches for the study of the brain. Two-photon laser scanning microscopy (2PLSM) constitutes the state-of-the- art technique in current neuroscience to address questions regarding brain cell structure, development and function, blood flow regulation and metabolism. This technique evolved from laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM), which impacted the field with a major improvement in image resolution of live tissues in the 1980's compared to widefield microscopy. While nowadays some of the unparalleled features of 2PLSM make it the tool of choice for brain studies in vivo, such as the possibility to image deep within a tissue, LSCM can still be useful in this matter. Here we discuss the validity and limitations of LSCM and provide a guide to perform high-resolution in vivo imaging of the brain of live rodents with minimal mechanical disruption employing LSCM. We describe the surgical procedure and experimental setup that allowed us to record intracellular calcium variations in astrocytes evoked by sensory stimulation, and to monitor intact neuronal dendritic spines and astrocytic processes as well as blood vessel dynamics. Therefore, in spite of certain limitations that need to be carefully considered, LSCM constitutes a useful, convenient and affordable tool for brain studies in vivo. © 2013 Pérez-alvarez, Araque and Martín.


Perez-Alvarez A.,Instituto Cajal | Perez-Alvarez A.,Center for Molecular Neurobiology Hamburg | Araque A.,Instituto Cajal
Current Drug Targets | Year: 2013

Astrocytes, classically considered as supportive cells for neurons without a direct role in brain information processing, are emerging as relevant elements in brain physiology through their ability to regulate neuronal activity and synaptic transmission and plasticity. In relation to the key role of astrocyte-neuron interactions in synaptic physiology, accumulating evidence suggests that dysfunctions of neuron-astrocyte signaling may be linked to the pathology of various neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. In this article, we summarize the evidence supporting the importance of astrocyte-neuron communication in synaptic physiology, which have led to reveal astrocytes as integral elements of synaptic function. We also discuss how this novel view of astrocytic functions on brain physiology is prompting us to reconsider the possible astrocytic roles in brain diseases, and specifically in depression. © 2013 Bentham Science Publishers.


Guzman S.J.,AM Technology | Schlogl A.,AM Technology | Frotscher M.,Center for Molecular Neurobiology Hamburg | Jonas P.,AM Technology
Science | Year: 2016

The hippocampal CA3 region plays a key role in learning and memory. Recurrent CA3-CA3 synapses are thought to be the subcellular substrate of pattern completion. However, the synaptic mechanisms of this network computation remain enigmatic. To investigate these mechanisms, we combined functional connectivity analysis with network modeling. Simultaneous recording fromup to eight CA3 pyramidal neurons revealed that connectivity was sparse, spatially uniform, and highly enriched in disynaptic motifs (reciprocal, convergence, divergence, and chain motifs). Unitary connections were composed of one or two synaptic contacts, suggesting efficient use of postsynaptic space. Real-sizemodeling indicated that CA3 networks with sparse connectivity, disynaptic motifs, and single-contact connections robustly generated pattern completion. Thus, macro- and microconnectivity contribute to efficient memory storage and retrieval in hippocampal networks. Copyright © 2016 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science; all rights reserved.


Rudenko A.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Seo J.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Hu J.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Su S.C.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | And 8 more authors.
Journal of Neuroscience | Year: 2015

Perturbations in fast-spiking parvalbumin (PV) interneurons are hypothesized to be a major component of various neuropsychiatric disorders; however, the mechanisms regulating PV interneurons remain mostly unknown. Recently, cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) has been shown to function as a major regulator of synaptic plasticity. Here, we demonstrate that genetic ablation of Cdk5 in PV interneurons in mouse brain leads to an increase in GABAergic neurotransmission and impaired synaptic plasticity. PVCre; fCdk5 mice display a range of behavioral abnormalities, including decreased anxiety and memory impairment. Our results reveal a central role of Cdk5 expressed in PV interneurons in gating inhibitory neurotransmission and underscore the importance of such regulation during behavioral tasks. Our findings suggest that Cdk5 can be considered a promising therapeutic target in a variety of conditions attributed to inhibitory interneuronal dysfunction, such as epilepsy, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia. © 2015 the authors.


Loktionov E.Y.,Moscow State Technical University | Mikhaylova M.G.,Center for Molecular Neurobiology Hamburg | Sitnikov D.S.,RAS Joint Institute for High Temperatures
Instruments and Experimental Techniques | Year: 2016

A calcium cell signaling system is one of the first, which were formed in the course of evolution of systems. The understanding of calcium binding–uncaging dynamics is crucial in studies of corresponding intracellular processes. By now, a great number of calcium-dependent processes have been investigated. However, works that fully consider these processes are absent. This is specified in many respects by the instrumental abilities. In this work, requirements for the experimental setup intended for comprehensive studies of calcium interaction dynamics are briefly formulated, its block diagram is described, and the results of test experiments are presented. © 2016, Pleiades Publishing, Inc.


PubMed | Tongji University, University of Hamburg and Center for Molecular Neurobiology Hamburg
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The American journal of Chinese medicine | Year: 2016

The rhizome of Coptis chinensis is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine alone or in combination with other herbs to treat diseases characterized by causing oxidative stress including inflammatory diseases, diabetes mellitus and neurodegenerative diseases. In particular, there is emerging evidence that Coptis chinensis is effective in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases associated with oxidative stress. Hence, the aim of this study was to investigate the neuroprotective effect of Coptis chinensis in vitro and in vivo using MPP[Formula: see text] and MPTP models of Parkinsons disease. MPP[Formula: see text] treated human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells were used as a cell model of Parkinsons disease. A 24[Formula: see text]h pre-treatment of the cells with the watery extract of Coptis chinensis significantly increased cell viability, as well as the intracellular ATP concentration and attenuated apoptosis compared to the MPP[Formula: see text] control. Further experiments with the main alkaloids of Coptidis chinensis, berberine, coptisine, jaterorrhizine and palmatine revealed that berberine and coptisine were the main active compounds responsible for the observed neuroprotective effect. However, the full extract of Coptis chinensis was more effective than the tested single alkaloids. In the MPTP-induced animal model of Parkinsons disease, Coptis chinensis dose-dependently improved motor functions and increased tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons in the substantia nigra compared to the MPTP control. Based on the results of this work, Coptis chinensis and its main alkaloids could be considered potential candidates for the development of new treatment options for Parkinsons disease.


Sotoud H.,University of Hamburg | Borgmeyer U.,Center for Molecular Neurobiology Hamburg | Schulze C.,Center for Molecular Neurobiology Hamburg | El-Armouche A.,TU Dresden | Eschenhagen T.,University of Hamburg
Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology | Year: 2015

Phosphatase inhibitor-1 (I-1) inhibits the catalytic subunit of protein phosphatase type 1 (PP1c) in its protein kinase A (PKA)-phosphorylated form (I-1P). It thereby amplifies PKA signaling, which, in the heart, mediates both beneficial (acute) and adverse (chronic) effects of catecholamines. Genetic deletion of I-1 was associated with protection against catecholamine toxicity, making the PP1c-I-1P complex a potential therapeutic target for chronic heart disease. Here, we sought to define targetable interaction sites of I-1 and PP1c, concentrating on the N-terminal domain of I-1 which includes the PP1c binding motif (9KIQF12) as well as a poly-Arg stretch. Substitution of 9KIQ11 residues for analogous amino acids, 9RLN11, resulted in doubling of the IC50 values, deletion of 9KIQF12 prevented I-1 PKA-dependent phosphorylation and thus activation. Mutation of the Arg residues preceding the PKA phosphorylation site (Thr35) to Ala (R/A30-33) abolished I-1 phosphorylation and its binding to and inhibition of PP1c. A series of synthetic peptides (4-11 residues) indicated that the KIQF motif as well as the surrounding anchoring residues was essential for interfering with the inhibitory effect of I-1P on PP1c, whereas the four Arg residues were not. Unexpectedly, the most effective nonapeptide (SPRKIQFTV) also antagonized the inhibitory effect of the non-conditional PP1 inhibitor-2 with similar affinity. Incubation of neonatal rat cardiac myocytes with a poly-Arg-modified SPRKIQFTV (10 μM) reduced catecholamine-induced phosphorylation of phospholamban, a well-known PKA downstream target sensitive to PP1c. Our data reiterate the importance of the KIQF motif and provide a tool for antagonizing I-1 inhibitory effects on PP1c, i.e., activating PP1 in vivo. © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


PubMed | University of Hamburg and Center for Molecular Neurobiology Hamburg
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Cellular signalling | Year: 2015

Long-lasting synaptic plasticity is often accompanied by morphological changes as well as formation and/or loss of dendritic spines. Since the spine cytoskeleton mainly consists of actin filaments, morphological changes are primarily controlled by actin binding proteins (ABPs). Inositol-1,4,5-trisphosphate-3-kinase-A (ITPKA) is a neuron-specific, actin bundling protein concentrated at dendritic spines. Here, we demonstrate that ITPKA depletion in mice increases the number of hippocampal spine-synapses while reducing average spine length. By employing actin to ABP ratios similar to those occurring at post synaptic densities, in addition to cross-linking actin filaments, ITPKA strongly inhibits Arp2/3-complex induced actin filament branching by displacing the complex from F-actin. In summary, our data show that in vivo ITPKA negatively regulates formation and/or maintenance of synaptic contacts in the mammalian brain. On the molecular level this effect appears to result from the ITPKA-mediated inhibition of Arp2/3-complex F-actin branching activity.


Yang N.-Y.,Sanford Burnham Institute for Medical Research | Fernandez C.,Sanford Burnham Institute for Medical Research | Richter M.,Sanford Burnham Institute for Medical Research | Richter M.,Center for Molecular Neurobiology Hamburg | And 5 more authors.
Cellular Signalling | Year: 2011

Receptor tyrosine kinases of the Eph family play multiple roles in the physiological regulation of tissue homeostasis and in the pathogenesis of various diseases, including cancer. The EphA2 receptor is highly expressed in most cancer cell types, where it has disparate activities that are not well understood. It has been reported that interplay of EphA2 with oncogenic signaling pathways promotes cancer cell malignancy independently of ephrin ligand binding and receptor kinase activity. In contrast, stimulation of EphA2 signaling with ephrin-A ligands can suppress malignancy by inhibiting the Ras-MAP kinase pathway, integrin-mediated adhesion, and epithelial to mesenchymal transition. Here we show that ephrin-A1 ligand-dependent activation of EphA2 decreases the growth of PC3 prostate cancer cells and profoundly inhibits the Akt-mTORC1 pathway, which is hyperactivated due to loss of the PTEN tumor suppressor. Our results do not implicate changes in the activity of Akt upstream regulators (such as Ras family GTPases, PI3 kinase, integrins, or the Ship2 lipid phosphatase) in the observed loss of Akt T308 and S473 phosphorylation downstream of EphA2. Indeed, EphA2 can inhibit Akt phosphorylation induced by oncogenic mutations of not only PTEN but also PI3 kinase. Furthermore, it can decrease the hyperphosphorylation induced by constitutive membrane-targeting of Akt. Our data suggest a novel signaling mechanism whereby EphA2 inactivates the Akt-mTORC1 oncogenic pathway through Akt dephosphorylation mediated by a serine/threonine phosphatase. Ephrin-A1-induced Akt dephosphorylation was observed not only in PC3 prostate cancer cells but also in other cancer cell types. Thus, activation of EphA2 signaling represents a possible new avenue for anti-cancer therapies that exploit the remarkable ability of this receptor to counteract multiple oncogenic signaling pathways. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

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