Eukaryotic cilia are assembled by intraflagellar transport (IFT) where large protein complexes called IFT particles move ciliary components from the cell body to the cilium. Defects in most IFT particle proteins disrupt ciliary assembly and cause mid gestational lethality in the mouse. IFT25 and IFT27 are unusual components of IFT-B in that they are not required for ciliary assembly and mutant mice survive to term. The mutants die shortly after birth with numerous organ defects including duplex kidneys. Completely duplex kidneys result from defects in ureteric bud formation at the earliest steps of metanephric kidney development. Ureteric bud initiation is a highly regulated process involving reciprocal signaling between the ureteric epithelium and the overlying metanephric mesenchyme with regulation by the peri-Wolffian duct stroma. The finding of duplex kidney in Ift25 and Ift27 mutants suggests functions for these genes in regulation of ureteric bud initiation. Typically the deletion of IFT genes in the kidney causes rapid cyst growth in the early postnatal period. In contrast, the loss of Ift25 results in smaller kidneys, which show only mild tubule dilations that become apparent in adulthood. The smaller kidneys appear to result from reduced branching in the developing metanephric kidney. This work indicates that IFT25 and IFT27 are important players in the early development of the kidney and suggest that duplex kidney is part of the ciliopathy spectrum.
The spatial representation of stimuli in sensory neocortices provides a scaffold for elucidating circuit mechanisms underlying sensory processing. However, the anterior piriform cortex (APC) lacks topology for odor identity as well as afferent and intracortical excitation. Consequently, olfactory processing is considered homogenous along the APC rostral-caudal (RC) axis. We recorded excitatory and inhibitory neurons in APC while optogenetically activating GABAergic interneurons along the RC axis. In contrast to excitation, we find opposing, spatially asymmetric inhibition onto pyramidal cells (PCs) and interneurons. PCs are strongly inhibited by caudal stimulation sites, whereas interneurons are strongly inhibited by rostral sites. At least two mechanisms underlie spatial asymmetries. Enhanced caudal inhibition of PCs is due to increased synaptic strength, whereas rostrally biased inhibition of interneurons is mediated by increased somatostatin-interneuron density. Altogether, we show differences in rostral and caudal inhibitory circuits in APC that may underlie spatial variation in odor processing along the RC axis.
Enthesopathy is a disorder of bone, tendon, or ligament insertion. It represents one-fourth of all tendon-ligament diseases and is one of the most difficult tendon-ligament disorders to treat. Despite its high prevalence, the exact pathogenesis of this condition remains unknown. Here, we show that TGF-β was activated in both a semi-Achilles tendon transection (SMTS) mouse model and in a dorsiflexion immobilization (DI) mouse model of enthesopathy. High concentrations of active TGF-β recruited mesenchymal stromal stem cells (MSCs) and led to excessive vessel formation, bone deterioration, and fibrocartilage calcification. Transgenic expression of active TGF-β1 in bone also induced enthesopathy with a phenotype similar to that observed in SMTS and DI mice. Systemic inhibition of TGF-β activity by injection of 1D11, a TGF-β-neutralizing antibody, but not a vehicle antibody, attenuated the excessive vessel formation and restored uncoupled bone remodeling in SMTS mice. 1D11-treated SMTS fibrocartilage had increased proteoglycan and decreased collagen X and matrix metalloproteinase 13 expression relative to control antibody treatment. Notably, inducible knockout of the TGF-β type II receptor in mouse MSCs preserved the bone microarchitecture and fibrocartilage composition after SMTS relative to the WT littermate controls. Thus, elevated levels of active TGF-β in the enthesis bone marrow induce the initial pathological changes of enthesopathy, indicating that TGF-β inhibition could be a potential therapeutic strategy.
In mammals, the epithelial tissues of major salivary glands generate saliva and drain it into the oral cavity. For submandibular salivary glands (SMGs), the epithelial tissues arise during embryogenesis from naïve oral ectoderm adjacent to the base of the tongue, which begins to thicken, express SOX9 and invaginate into underlying mesenchyme. The developmental mechanisms initiating salivary gland development remain unexplored. In this study, we show that retinoic acid (RA) signaling activity at the site of gland initiation is colocalized with expression of retinol metabolic genes Rdh10 and Aldh1a2 in the underlying SMG mesenchyme. Utilizing a novel ex vivo assay for SMG initiation developed for this study, we show that RDH10 and RA are required for salivary gland initiation. Moreover, we show that the requirement for RA in gland initiation involves canonical signaling through retinoic acid receptors (RAR). Finally, we show that RA signaling essential for gland initiation is transduced specifically through RARα, with no contribution from other RAR isoforms. This is the first study to identify a molecular signal regulating mammalian salivary gland initiation.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a rare, muscle degenerative disease resulting from the absence of the dystrophin protein. DMD is characterized by progressive loss of muscle fibers, muscle weakness, and eventually loss of ambulation and premature death. Currently, there is no cure for DMD and improved methods of disease monitoring are crucial for the development of novel treatments. In this study, we describe a new method of assessing disease progression noninvasively in the mdx model of DMD. The reporter mice, which we term the dystrophic Degeneration Reporter strains, contain an inducible CRE-responsive luciferase reporter active in mature myofibers. In these mice, muscle degeneration is reflected in changes in the level of luciferase expression, which can be monitored using noninvasive, bioluminescence imaging. We monitored the natural history and disease progression in these dystrophic report mice and found that decreases in luciferase signals directly correlated with muscle degeneration. We further demonstrated that this reporter strain, as well as a previously reported Regeneration Reporter strain, successfully reveals the effectiveness of a gene therapy treatment following systemic administration of a recombinant adeno-associated virus-6 (rAAV-6) encoding a microdystrophin construct. Our data demonstrate the value of these noninvasive imaging modalities for monitoring disease progression and response to therapy in mouse models of muscular dystrophy.
Histone protein modifications control fate determination during normal development and dedifferentiation during disease. Here, we set out to determine the extent to which dynamic changes to histones affect the differentiated phenotype of ordinarily quiescent adult glomerular podocytes. To do this, we examined the consequences of shifting the balance of the repressive histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) mark in podocytes. Adriamycin nephrotoxicity and subtotal nephrectomy (SNx) studies indicated that deletion of the histone methylating enzyme EZH2 from podocytes decreased H3K27me3 levels and sensitized mice to glomerular disease. H3K27me3 was enriched at the promoter region of the Notch ligand Jag1 in podocytes, and derepression of Jag1 by EZH2 inhibition or knockdown facilitated podocyte dedifferentiation. Conversely, inhibition of the Jumonji C domain-containing demethylases Jmjd3 and UTX increased the H3K27me3 content of podocytes and attenuated glomerular disease in adriamycin nephrotoxicity, SNx, and diabetes. Podocytes in glomeruli from humans with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis or diabetic nephropathy exhibited diminished H3K27me3 and heightened UTX content. Analogous to human disease, inhibition of Jmjd3 and UTX abated nephropathy progression in mice with established glomerular injury and reduced H3K27me3 levels. Together, these findings indicate that ostensibly stable chromatin modifications can be dynamically regulated in quiescent cells and that epigenetic reprogramming can improve outcomes in glomerular disease by repressing the reactivation of developmental pathways.
Desmosome components are frequently mutated in cardiac and cutaneous disorders in animals and humans and enhanced inflammation is a common feature of these diseases. Previous studies showed that inhibitor of Apoptosis Stimulating p53 Protein (iASPP) regulates desmosome integrity at cell-cell junctions and transcription in the nucleus, and its deficiency causes cardiocutaneous disorder in mice, cattle, and humans. As iASPP is a ubiquitously expressed shuttling protein with multiple functions, a key question is whether the observed cardiocutaneous phenotypes are caused by loss of a cell autonomous role of iASPP in cardiomyocytes and keratinocytes specifically or by a loss of iASPP in other cell types such as immune cells. To address this, we developed cardiomyocyte-specific and keratinocyte-specific iASPP-deficient mouse models and show that the cell-type specific loss of iASPP in cardiomyocytes or keratinocytes is sufficient to induce cardiac or cutaneous disorders, respectively. Additionally, keratinocyte-specific iASPP-deficient mice have delayed eyelid development and wound healing. In keratinocytes, junctional iASPP is critical for stabilizing desmosomes and iASPP deficiency results in increased and disorganized cell migration, as well as impaired cell adhesion, consistent with delayed wound healing. The identification of a cell autonomous role of iASPP deficiency in causing cardiocutaneous syndrome, impaired eyelid development and wound healing suggests that variants in the iASPP gene also may contribute to polygenic heart and skin diseases.
During the development of the central nervous system (CNS), only motor axons project into peripheral nerves. Little is known about the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control the development of a boundary at the CNS surface and prevent CNS neuron emigration from the neural tube. It has previously been shown that a subset of spinal cord commissural axons abnormally invades sensory nerves in Ntn1 hypomorphic embryos and Dcc knockouts. However, whether netrin 1 also plays a similar role in the brain is unknown. In the hindbrain, precerebellar neurons migrate tangentially under the pial surface, and their ventral migration is guided by netrin 1. Here, we show that pontine neurons and inferior olivary neurons, two types of precerebellar neurons, are not confined to the CNS in Ntn1 and Dcc mutant mice, but that they invade the trigeminal, auditory and vagus nerves. Using a Ntn1 conditional knockout, we show that netrin 1, which is released at the pial surface by ventricular zone progenitors is responsible for the CNS confinement of precerebellar neurons. We propose, that netrin 1 distribution sculpts the CNS boundary by keeping CNS neurons in netrin 1-rich domains.
The recent development of transgenic rodent lines expressing cre recombinase in a cell-specific manner, along with advances in engineered viral vectors, has permitted in-depth investigations into circuit function. However, emerging evidence has begun to suggest that genetic modifications may introduce unexpected caveats. In the current studies, we sought to extensively characterize male and female mice from both the ChAT(BAC)-Cre mouse line, created with the bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) method, and ChAT(IRES)-Cre mouse line, generated with the internal ribosome entry site (IRES) method. ChAT(BAC)-Cre transgenic and wild-type mice did not differ in general locomotor behavior, anxiety measures, drug-induced cataplexy, nicotine-mediated hypolocomotion, or operant food training. However, ChAT(BAC)-Cre transgenic mice did exhibit significant deficits in intravenous nicotine self-administration, which paralleled an increase in vesicular acetylcholine transporter and choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) hippocampal expression. For the ChAT(IRES)-Cre line, transgenic mice exhibited deficits in baseline locomotor, nicotine-mediated hypolocomotion, and operant food training compared with wild-type and hemizygous littermates. No differences among ChAT(IRES)-Cre wild-type, hemizygous, and transgenic littermates were found in anxiety measures, drug-induced cataplexy, and nicotine self-administration. Given that increased cre expression was present in the ChAT(IRES)-Cre transgenic mice, as well as a decrease in ChAT expression in the hippocampus, altered neuronal function may underlie behavioral phenotypes. In contrast, ChAT(IRES)-Cre hemizygous mice were more similar to wild-type mice in both protein expression and the majority of behavioral assessments. As such, interpretation of data derived from ChAT-Cre rodents must consider potential limitations dependent on the line and/or genotype used in research investigations.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Altered baseline and/or nicotine-mediated behavioral profiles were discovered in transgenic mice from the ChAT(BAC)-Cre and ChAT(IRES)-Cre lines. Given that these cre-expressing mice have become increasingly used by the scientific community, either independently with chemicogenetic and optogenetic viral vectors or crossed with other transgenic lines, the current studies highlight important considerations for the interpretation of data from previous and future experimental investigations. Moreover, the current findings detail the behavioral effects of either increased or decreased baseline cholinergic signaling mechanisms on locomotor, anxiety, learning/memory, and intravenous nicotine self-administration behaviors.
High microvascular permeability plays an essential role in pathological process of multiple diseases such as septic shock, acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome, and burns. Inhibiting hyperpermeability is significant for controlling these conditions. Cdc42, as a main member of the small Rho GTPase family, plays a critical role in controlling and regulating the endothelial junctional permeability. We aimed to generate and identify endothelial specific cdc42-deficient mice by the Cre/loxp recombination approach, for examination in an animal model of the contribution of the cdc42 gene in the microvascular barrier function.
We crossed cdc42(Flox/Flox) mice with mice expressing endothelial cell-specific Cre recombinase, and the offspring with the genotype cdc42(Flox/+)Tie2Cre(+/-) were back-crossed with the cdc42(Flox/Flox) mice. The cdc42(Flox/Flox)Tie2Cre(+/-) mice in the F2 generation were the target mice. If the cdc42 deficient mice did not survive, we would observe the cdc42 deficient mice embryos, and compare them with wild-type mice embryos.
Cdc42(flox/+)Cre(+/-) mice were mated with the cdc42(Flox/Flox) mice and among the living offspring there were no cdc42(Flox/Flox)Cre(+/-) target mice. We found the endothelial special cdc42 deficient embryos at the E7.5-E16.5 stage. We observed that cdc42 deficient embryos were much smaller, had fewer vessels and were a little more swollen compared with the wild-type embryos.
Endothelial specific knockout of cdc42 caused embryonic lethality and the mice did not survive to birth. The target embryos were much smaller, had fewer vessels and were a little more swollen compared with the wild-type embryos. These results demonstrated that the cdc42 plays an important role in development of embryos and in development of microvessels as well as microvascular permeability.
The effects of cannabinoids are primarily mediated by type-1 cannabinoid receptors in the brain and type-2 cannabinoid receptors (CB2Rs) in the peripheral immune system. However, recent evidence demonstrates that CB2Rs are also expressed in the brain and implicated in neuropsychiatric effects. Diverse types of cells in various regions in the brain express CB2Rs but the cellular loci of CB2Rs that induce specific behavioral effects have not been determined. To manipulate CB2R expression in specific types of cells in the dorsal hippocampus of adult mice, we used Cre-dependent overexpression and CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing techniques in combination with adeno-associated viruses and transgenic mice. Elevation and disruption of CB2R expression in microglia in the CA1 area increased and decreased, respectively, contextual fear memory. In CA1 pyramidal neurons, disruption of CB2R expression enhanced spatial working memory, whereas their overexpression reduced anxiety levels assessed asan increase in the exploration time in the central area of open field. Interneuronal CB2Rs were not involved in the modulation of cognitive or emotional behaviors tested in this study. The targeted manipulation of CB2R expression in pyramidal neurons and microglia suggests that CB2Rs in different types of cells in the mature hippocampus play distinct roles in the regulation of memory and anxiety.
The use of Cre-loxP technology for the purpose of cell type-specific gene ablation has revolutionized developmental biology and biomedicine. Several transgenic mouse lines have been developed for the analysis of gene function in the gastrointestinal tract, but in all of these the expression of Cre is limited to the epithelial cell layer. No Cre- expressing transgenic mouse lines ("Cre lines") exist for the deletion of loxP-flanked genes specifically in gut mesoderm. To address this deficiency, we have derived a bacterial artificial chromosome based transgenic mouse line in which the Cre gene is controlled by the Foxl1 promoter and enhancer elements. X-Gal staining of Foxl1-Cre; Rosa26R bi-transgenic lines confirm that Foxl1-Cre results in recombination specifically in the gastrointestinal mesenchyme. The Foxl1-Cre line will facilitate the dissection of mesenchymal to epithelial signaling that is known to play a major role in the patterning and function of the gastrointestinal tract.
Proliferation of neural progenitor cells in the subventricular zone leads to the continuous generation of new olfactory granule cells (OGCs) throughout life. These cells synaptically integrate into olfactory bulb circuits after ∼2 weeks and transiently exhibit heightened plasticity and responses to novel odors. Although these observations suggest that adult-generated OGCs play important roles in olfactory-related memories, global suppression of olfactory neurogenesis does not typically prevent the formation of odor-reward memories, perhaps because residual OGCs can compensate. Here, we used a transgenic strategy to selectively ablate large numbers of adult-generated OGCs either before or after learning in mice. Consistent with previous studies, pretraining ablation of adult-generated OGCs did not prevent the formation of an odor-reward memory, presumably because existing OGCs can support memory formation in their absence. However, ablation of a similar cohort of adult-generated OGCs after training impaired subsequent memory expression, indicating that if these cells are available at the time of training, they play an essential role in subsequent expression of odor-reward memories. Memory impairment was associated with the loss of adult-generated OGCs that were >10 d in age and did not depend on the developmental stage in which they were generated, suggesting that, once sufficiently mature, OGCs generated during juvenility and adulthood play similar roles in the expression of odor-reward memories. Finally, ablation of adult-generated OGCs 1 month after training did not produce amnesia, indicating that adult-generated OGCs play a time-limited role in the expression of odor-reward memories.
High endothelial venules (HEVs) are specialized blood vessels of secondary lymphoid organs composed of endothelial cells with a characteristic cuboidal morphology. Lymphocytes selectively adhere to and migrate across HEVs to initiate immune responses. In this study, we established a novel transgenic mouse line expressing Cre recombinase under the transcriptional control of the gene encoding HEV-expressed sulfotransferase, N-acetylglucosamine-6-O-sulfotransferase 2 (GlcNAc6ST-2), using bacterial artificial chromosome recombineering. Crossing these transgenic mice with the ROSA26 reporter strain, which expresses lacZ following Cre-mediated recombination, and staining the resulting progeny with 5-bromo-4-chloro-5-indolyl-beta-D-galactoside indicated that Cre recombinase was specifically expressed in mAb MECA79-reactive HEVs in secondary lymphoid organs but not in any other blood vessels of the transgenic mice. The expression of Cre recombinase correlated with a developmental switch, from immature, mAb MECA367-reactive HEVs to mature, mAb MECA79-reactive HEVs in neonatal lymph nodes. In addition to the HEVs, Cre recombinase was also strongly expressed in the colonic villi, which recapitulated the intrinsic expression of GlcNAc6ST-2 as confirmed in GlcNAc6ST-2(GFP/GFP) knock-in mice and by RT-PCR. Furthermore, treatment with an antimicrobial agent revealed that the colonic expression of Cre recombinase in the transgenic mice was regulated by commensal bacteria in the colon. In addition, Cre recombinase was expressed in a small subset of cells in the brain, testis, stomach, small intestine, and lung. In view of the restricted expression of Cre recombinase, this transgenic mouse line should be useful for elucidating tissue-specific gene functions using the Cre/loxP system.
The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) synchronizes circadian rhythms in behavior and physiology to the external light cycle, but the mechanisms by which this occurs are unclear. As the neuropeptide vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) is important for circadian light responses, we tested the hypothesis that rhythmic VIP-producing SCN neurons mediate circadian light responses in male and female mice. Using in vivo fiber photometry over multiple days, we found daily rhythms in spontaneous calcium events of SCN VIP neurons that peaked during the subjective day and were disrupted by constant light. The light-evoked calcium responses peaked around subjective dusk and were greater during the subjective night. Using novel VIP sensor cells, we found that the activity patterns in SCN VIP neurons correlated tightly with spontaneous and NMDA-evoked VIP release. Finally, in vivo hyperpolarization of VIP neurons attenuated light-induced shifts of daily rhythms in locomotion. We conclude that SCN VIP neurons exhibit circadian rhythms in spontaneous and light-responsive activity and are essential for the normal resetting of daily rhythms by environmental light.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Daily rhythms in behavior and physiology, including sleep/wake and hormone release, are synchronized to local time by the master circadian pacemaker, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). The advent of artificial lighting and, consequently, light exposure at night, is associated with an increased risk of disease due to disrupted circadian rhythms. However, the mechanisms by which the SCN encodes normal and pathological light information are unclear. Here, we find that vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP)-producing SCN neurons exhibit daily rhythms in neuronal activity and VIP release, and that blocking the activity of these neurons attenuates light-induced phase shifts. We conclude that rhythmic VIP neurons are an essential component of the circadian light transduction pathway.
It is anticipated that the interleukin-6/glycoprotein 130 (IL-6/gp130) family of cytokines and Jak-STAT signaling may be amenable to therapeutic manipulation for retinal diseases. Müller cells, which exhibit morphologic and functional changes in prevalent retinal diseases, are implicated in their induction and action.
We characterized expression of endogenous IL-6/gp130 cytokines and Jak-STAT signaling after inducible Müller cell ablation in the neural retinas of adult mice. This resulted in photoreceptor apoptosis and reactive activation of surviving Müller cells. Analysis was performed by using a combination of quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, Western blot, and immunohistochemistry. Recombinant leukemia inhibitory factor (rLIF) was intravitreally injected in an attempt to inhibit photoreceptor degeneration following selective Müller cell ablation.
Significant differential expression (both increases and decreases) of multiple IL-6/gp130 cytokines, such as LIF, oncostatin-M, and ciliary neurotrophic factor, occurred after Müller cell ablation, with concomitant increase in signal transducers and activators of transcription and extracellular kinases 1 and 2, particularly in surviving, activated Müller cells. Basic fibroblast growth factor was robustly increased in photoreceptors after selective Müller cell ablation. Multiple injections of rLIF failed to prevent photoreceptor degeneration.
These results further characterize expression of IL-6/gp130 cytokines and Jak-STAT signaling in outer retinal disease, suggesting Müller cells are critical for their induction and action. Lack of rLIF-mediated neuroprotection contrasts with other retinal degenerations where Müller cell integrity remains intact or photoreceptor apoptosis occurs in a more rapid, synchronous manner. The presence of Müller cells may be critical for the functional benefits of rLIF and potentially other IL-6/gp130 cytokines.
The enteric nervous system (ENS) is an extensive network of neurons in the gut wall that arises from neural crest-derived cells. Like other populations of neural crest cells, it is known that enteric neural crest-derived cells (ENCCs) influence the behaviour of each other and therefore must communicate. However, little is known about how ENCCs communicate with each other. In this study, we used Ca2+ imaging to examine communication between ENCCs in the embryonic gut, using mice where ENCCs express a genetically-encoded calcium indicator. Spontaneous propagating calcium waves were observed between neighbouring ENCCs, through both neuronal and non-neuronal ENCCs. Pharmacological experiments showed wave propagation was not mediated by gap junctions, but by purinergic signalling via P2 receptors. The expression of several P2X and P2Y receptors was confirmed using RT-PCR. Furthermore, inhibition of P2 receptors altered the morphology of the ENCC network, without affecting neuronal differentiation or ENCC proliferation. It is well established that purines participate in synaptic transmission in the mature ENS. Our results describe, for the first time, purinergic signalling between ENCCs during pre-natal development, which plays roles in the propagation of Ca2+ waves between ENCCs and in ENCC network formation. One previous study has shown that calcium signalling plays a role in sympathetic ganglia formation; our results suggest that calcium waves are likely to be important for enteric ganglia development.
Homeobox gene Msx2 is widely expressed during both embryogenesis and postnatal development and plays important roles during organogenesis. We developed an Msx2-rtTA BAC transgenic line which can activate TetO-Cre expression in Msx2-expressing cells upon doxycycline (Dox) treatment. Using the Rosa26-LacZ (R26R) reporter line, we show that rtTA is activated in Msx2-expressing organs including the limb, heart, external genitalia, urogenital system, hair follicles and craniofacial regions. Moreover, we show that in body appendages, the transgene can be activated in different domains depending on the timing of Dox treatment. In addition, the transgene can also be effectively activated in adult tissues such as the hair follicle and the urogenital system. Taken together, this Msx2-rtTA;TetO-Cre system is a valuable tool for studying gene function in the development of the aforementioned organs in a temporal and spatially-restricted manner, as well as for tissue lineage tracing of Msx2-expressing cells. When induced postnatally, this system can also be used to study gene function in adult tissues without compromising normal development and patterning.
Retinoic acid (RA) signaling is crucial for spermatogonial differentiation, which is a key step for spermatogenesis. We explored the mechanisms underlying spermatogonial differentiation by targeting expression of a dominant-negative mutant of retinoic acid receptor α (RARα) specifically to the germ cells of transgenic mice to subvert the activity of endogenous receptors. Here we show that: (1) inhibition of retinoid signaling in germ cells completely blocked spermatogonial differentiation identical to vitamin A-deficient (VAD) mice; (2) the blockage of spermatogonial differentiation by impaired retinoid signaling resulted from an arrest of entry of the undifferentiated spermatogonia into S phase; and (3) retinoid signaling regulated spermatogonial differentiation through controlling expression of its direct target genes, including replication-dependent core histone genes. Taken together, our results demonstrate that the action of retinoid signaling on spermatogonial differentiation in vivo is direct through the spermatogonia itself, and provide the first evidence that this is mediated by regulation of expression of replication-dependent core histone genes.
Reciprocal interactions between the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and thalamus play a critical role in cognition, but the underlying circuits remain poorly understood. Here we use optogenetics to dissect the specificity and dynamics of cortico-thalamo-cortical networks in the mouse brain. We find that cortico-thalamic (CT) neurons in prelimbic PFC project to both mediodorsal (MD) and ventromedial (VM) thalamus, where layer 5 and 6 inputs activate thalamo-cortical (TC) neurons with distinct temporal profiles. We show that TC neurons in MD and VM in turn make distinct connections in PFC, with MD preferentially and strongly activating layer 2/3 cortico-cortical (CC) neurons. Finally, we assess local connections from superficial CC to deep CT neurons, which link thalamo-cortical and cortico-thalamic networks within the PFC. Together our findings indicate that PFC strongly drives neurons in the thalamus, whereas MD and VM indirectly influence reciprocally connected neurons in the PFC, providing a mechanistic understanding of these circuits.
The polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) consists of core subunits SUZ12, EED, RBBP4/7, and EZH1/2 and is responsible for mono-, di-, and tri-methylation of lysine 27 on histone H3. Whereas two distinct forms exist, PRC2.1 (containing one polycomb-like protein) and PRC2.2 (containing AEBP2 and JARID2), little is known about their differential functions. Here, we report the discovery of a family of vertebrate-specific PRC2.1 proteins, "PRC2 associated LCOR isoform 1" (PALI1) and PALI2, encoded by the LCOR and LCORL gene loci, respectively. PALI1 promotes PRC2 methyltransferase activity in vitro and in vivo and is essential for mouse development. Pali1 and Aebp2 define mutually exclusive, antagonistic PRC2 subtypes that exhibit divergent H3K27-tri-methylation activities. The balance of these PRC2.1/PRC2.2 activities is required for the appropriate regulation of polycomb target genes during differentiation. PALI1/2 potentially link polycombs with transcriptional co-repressors in the regulation of cellular identity during development and in cancer.
GAS2L3 is a recently identified cytoskeleton-associated protein that interacts with actin filaments and tubulin. The in vivo function of GAS2L3 in mammals remains unknown. Here, we show that mice deficient in GAS2L3 die shortly after birth because of heart failure. Mammalian cardiomyocytes lose the ability to proliferate shortly after birth, and further increase in cardiac mass is achieved by hypertrophy. The proliferation arrest of cardiomyocytes is accompanied by binucleation through incomplete cytokinesis. We observed that GAS2L3 deficiency leads to inhibition of cardiomyocyte proliferation and to cardiomyocyte hypertrophy during embryonic development. Cardiomyocyte-specific deletion of GAS2L3 confirmed that the phenotype results from the loss of GAS2L3 in cardiomyocytes. Cardiomyocytes from Gas2l3-deficient mice exhibit increased expression of a p53-transcriptional program including the cell cycle inhibitor p21. Furthermore, loss of GAS2L3 results in premature binucleation of cardiomyocytes accompanied by unresolved midbody structures. Together these results suggest that GAS2L3 plays a specific role in cardiomyocyte cytokinesis and proliferation during heart development.
Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS) is an autosomal recessive ciliopathy characterized by developmental abnormalities and vision loss. To date, mutations in 21 genes have been linked to BBS. The products of eight of these BBS genes form a stable octameric complex termed the BBSome. Mutations in BBS8, a component of the BBSome, cause early vision loss, but the role of BBS8 in supporting vision is not known. To understand the mechanisms by which BBS8 supports rod and cone photoreceptor function, we generated animal models lacking BBS8. The loss of BBS8 protein led to concomitant decrease in the levels of BBSome subunits, BBS2 and BBS5 and increase in the levels of the BBS1 and BBS4 subunits. BBS8 ablation was associated with severe reduction of rod and cone photoreceptor function and progressive degeneration of each photoreceptor subtype. We observed disorganized and shortened photoreceptor outer segments (OS) at post-natal day 10 as the OS elaborates. Interestingly, loss of BBS8 led to changes in the distribution of photoreceptor axonemal proteins and hyper-acetylation of ciliary microtubules. In contrast to properly localized phototransduction machinery, we observed OS accumulation of syntaxin3, a protein normally found in the cytoplasm and the synaptic termini. In conclusion, our studies demonstrate the requirement for BBS8 in early development and elaboration of ciliated photoreceptor OS, explaining the need for BBS8 in normal vision. The findings from our study also imply that early targeting of both rods and cones in BBS8 patients is crucial for successful restoration of vision.