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author:("Koga, minoris")
1.  Enhanced conversion of induced neuronal cells (iN cells) from human fibroblasts: utility in uncovering cellular deficits in mental illness-associated chromosomal abnormalities 
Neuroscience research  2015;101:57-61.
The novel technology of induced neuronal cells (iN cells) is promising for translational neuroscience, as it allows the conversion of human fibroblasts into cells with postmitotic neuronal traits. However, a major technical barrier is the low conversion rate. To overcome this problem, we optimized the conversion media. Using our improved formulation, we studied how major mental illness-associated chromosomal abnormalities may impact the characteristics of iN cells. We demonstrated that our new iN cell culture protocol enabled us to obtain more precise measurement of neuronal cellular phenotypes than previous iN cell methods. Thus, this iN cell culture provides a platform to efficiently obtain possible cellular phenotypes caused by genetic differences, which can be more thoroughly studied in research using other human cell models such as induced pluripotent stem cells.
PMCID: PMC4774521  PMID: 26260244
2.  Early postnatal GABAA receptor modulation reverses deficits in neuronal maturation in a conditional neurodevelopmental mouse model of DISC1 
Molecular psychiatry  2016;21(10):1449-1459.
Exploring drug targets based on disease-associated molecular mechanisms during development is crucial for the generation of novel prevention and treatment strategies for neurodevelopmental psychiatric conditions. We report that prefrontal cortex-specific postnatal knockdown of DISC1 via in utero electroporation combined with an inducible knockdown expression system drives deficits in synaptic GABAA function and dendritic development in pyramidal neurons, as well as abnormalities in sensorimotor gating, albeit without profound memory deficits. We show for the first time that DISC1 is specifically involved in regulating cell surface expression of α2 subunit-containing GABAA receptors in immature developing neurons, but not after full maturation. Notably, pharmacological intervention with α2/3 subtype-selective GABAA receptor positive allosteric modulators during the early postnatal period ameliorates dendritic deficits and behavioral abnormalities induced by knockdown of DISC1. These findings highlight a critical role of DISC1-mediated disruption of postnatal GABA signaling in aberrant prefrontal cortex maturation and function.
PMCID: PMC4935661  PMID: 26728564
3.  DISC1 regulates trafficking and processing of APP and Aβ generation 
Molecular psychiatry  2014;20(7):874-879.
We report the novel regulation of proteolytic processing of amyloid precursor protein (APP) by DISC1, a major risk factor for psychiatric illnesses, such as depression and schizophrenia. RNAi-knockdown of DISC1 in mature primary cortical neurons led to a significant increase in the levels of intracellular α-C-terminal fragment of APP (APP-CTFα) and the corresponding N-terminal secreted ectodomain product sAPPα. DISC1 knockdown also elicited a significant decrease in the levels of Aβ42 and Aβ40. These aberrant proteolytic events were successfully rescued by co-expression of wild-type DISC1, but not by mutant DISC1 lacking the amino acids required for the interaction with APP, suggesting that APP-DISC1 protein interactions are crucial for the regulation of the C-terminal proteolysis. In a genetically-engineered model in which a major full-length DISC1 isoform is depleted, consistent changes in APP processing were seen: an increase in APP-CTFα and decrease in Aβ42 and Aβ40 levels. Finally we found that knockdown of DISC1 increased the expression of APP at the cell surface and decreased its internalization. The presented DISC1 mechanism of APP proteolytic processing and Aβ peptide generation, which is central to Alzheimer’s disease pathology, suggests a novel interface between neurological and psychiatric conditions.
PMCID: PMC4362789  PMID: 25224257
Alzheimer’s disease; Depression; APP; Proteolytic processing; Trafficking; DISC1
4.  Clinical utility of neuronal cells directly converted from fibroblasts of patients for neuropsychiatric disorders: studies of lysosomal storage diseases and channelopathy 
Current molecular medicine  2015;15(2):138-145.
Methodologies for generating functional neuronal cells directly from human fibroblasts [induced neuronal (iN) cells] have been recently developed, but the research so far has only focused on technical refinements or recapitulation of known pathological phenotypes. A critical question is whether this novel technology will contribute to elucidation of novel disease mechanisms or evaluation of therapeutic strategies. Here we have addressed this question by studying Tay-Sachs disease, a representative lysosomal storage disease, and Dravet syndrome, a form of severe myoclonic epilepsy in infancy, using human iN cells with feature of immature postmitotic glutamatergic neuronal cells. In Tay-Sachs disease, we have successfully characterized canonical neuronal pathology, massive accumulation of GM2 ganglioside, and demonstrated the suitability of this novel cell culture for future drug screening. In Dravet syndrome, we have identified a novel functional phenotype that was not suggested by studies of classical mouse models and human autopsied brains. Taken together, the present study demonstrates that human iN cells are useful for translational neuroscience research to explore novel disease mechanisms and evaluate therapeutic compounds. In the future, research using human iN cells with well-characterized genomic landscape can be integrated into multidisciplinary patient-oriented research on neuropsychiatric disorders to address novel disease mechanisms and evaluate therapeutic strategies.
PMCID: PMC4428755  PMID: 25732146
Direct conversion; Induced neuronal cells; iN cells; Lysosomal storage diseases; Channelopathy; Polyglutamine diseases
5.  Glutathione is a Physiologic Reservoir of Neuronal Glutamate 
Glutamate, the principal excitatory neurotransmitter of the brain, participates in a multitude of physiologic and pathologic processes, including learning and memory. Glutathione, a tripeptide composed of the amino acids glutamate, cysteine, and glycine, serves important cofactor roles in antioxidant defense and drug detoxification, but glutathione deficits occur in multiple neuropsychiatric disorders. Glutathione synthesis and metabolism are governed by a cycle of enzymes, the γ-glutamyl cycle, which can achieve intracellular glutathione concentrations of 1-10 millimolar. Because of the considerable quantity of brain glutathione and its rapid turnover, we hypothesized that glutathione may serve as a reservoir of neural glutamate. We quantified glutamate in HT22 hippocampal neurons, PC12 cells and primary cortical neurons after treatment with molecular inhibitors targeting three different enzymes of the glutathione metabolic cycle. Inhibiting 5-oxoprolinase and γ-glutamyl transferase, enzymes that liberate glutamate from glutathione, leads to decreases in glutamate. In contrast, inhibition of γ-glutamyl cysteine ligase, which uses glutamate to synthesize glutathione, results in substantial glutamate accumulation. Increased glutamate levels following inhibition of glutathione synthesis temporally precede later effects upon oxidative stress.
PMCID: PMC3923312  PMID: 21539809
Glutathione; Glutamate; Neurons; Antioxidants; Glutamyl cycle; Neurotransmitter
6.  Supportive Evidence for Reduced Expression of GNB1L in Schizophrenia 
Schizophrenia Bulletin  2008;36(4):756-765.
Background: Chromosome 22q11 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) increases the risk of development of schizophrenia more than 10 times compared with that of the general population, indicating that haploinsufficiency of a subset of the more than 20 genes contained in the 22q11DS region could increase the risk of schizophrenia. In the present study, we screened for genes located in the 22q11DS region that are expressed at lower levels in postmortem prefrontal cortex of patients with schizophrenia than in those of controls. Methods: Gene expression was screened by Illumina Human-6 Expression BeadChip arrays and confirmed by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assays and Western blot analysis. Results: Expression of GNB1L was lower in patients with schizophrenia than in control subjects in both Australian (10 schizophrenia cases and 10 controls) and Japanese (43 schizophrenia cases and 11 controls) brain samples. TBX1 could not be evaluated due to its low expression levels. Expression levels of the other genes were not significantly lower in patients with schizophrenia than in control subjects. Association analysis of tag single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the GNB1L gene region did not confirm excess homozygosity in 1918 Japanese schizophrenia cases and 1909 Japanese controls. Haloperidol treatment for 50 weeks increased Gnb1l gene expression in prefrontal cortex of mice. Conclusions: Taken together with the impaired prepulse inhibition observed in heterozygous Gnb1l knockout mice reported by the previous study, the present findings support assertions that GNB1L is one of the genes in the 22q11DS region responsible for increasing the risk of schizophrenia.
PMCID: PMC2894596  PMID: 19011233
22q11DS; haloperidol; prefrontal cortex; postmortem brain
7.  Role of STAT4 polymorphisms in systemic lupus erythematosus in a Japanese population: a case-control association study of the STAT1-STAT4 region 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2008;10(5):R113.
Recent studies identified STAT4 (signal transducers and activators of transcription-4) as a susceptibility gene for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). STAT1 is encoded adjacently to STAT4 on 2q32.2-q32.3, upregulated in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from SLE patients, and functionally relevant to SLE. This study was conducted to test whether STAT4 is associated with SLE in a Japanese population also, to identify the risk haplotype, and to examine the potential genetic contribution of STAT1. To accomplish these aims, we carried out a comprehensive association analysis of 52 tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) encompassing the STAT1-STAT4 region.
In the first screening, 52 tag SNPs were selected based on HapMap Phase II JPT (Japanese in Tokyo, Japan) data, and case-control association analysis was carried out on 105 Japanese female patients with SLE and 102 female controls. For associated SNPs, additional cases and controls were genotyped and association was analyzed using 308 SLE patients and 306 controls. Estimation of haplotype frequencies and an association study using the permutation test were performed with Haploview version 4.0 software. Population attributable risk percentage was estimated to compare the epidemiological significance of the risk genotype among populations.
In the first screening, rs7574865, rs11889341, and rs10168266 in STAT4 were most significantly associated (P < 0.01). Significant association was not observed for STAT1. Subsequent association studies of the three SNPs using 308 SLE patients and 306 controls confirmed a strong association of the rs7574865T allele (SLE patients: 46.3%, controls: 33.5%, P = 4.9 × 10-6, odds ratio 1.71) as well as TTT haplotype (rs10168266/rs11889341/rs7574865) (P = 1.5 × 10-6). The association was stronger in subgroups of SLE with nephritis and anti-double-stranded DNA antibodies. Population attributable risk percentage was estimated to be higher in the Japanese population (40.2%) than in Americans of European descent (19.5%).
The same STAT4 risk allele is associated with SLE in Caucasian and Japanese populations. Evidence for a role of STAT1 in genetic susceptibility to SLE was not detected. The contribution of STAT4 for the genetic background of SLE may be greater in the Japanese population than in Americans of European descent.
PMCID: PMC2592800  PMID: 18803832
8.  Single nucleotide polymorphism-based genome-wide linkage analysis in Japanese atopic dermatitis families 
BMC Dermatology  2007;7:5.
Atopic dermatitis develops as a result of complex interactions between several genetic and environmental factors. To date, 4 genome-wide linkage studies of atopic dermatitis have been performed in Caucasian populations, however, similar studies have not been done in Asian populations. The aim of this study was to identify chromosome regions linked to atopic dermatitis in a Japanese population.
We used a high-density, single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping assay, the Illumina BeadArray Linkage Mapping Panel (version 4) comprising 5,861 single nucleotide polymorphisms, to perform a genome-wide linkage analysis of 77 Japanese families with 111 affected sib-pairs with atopic dermatitis.
We found suggestive evidence for linkage with 15q21 (LOD = 2.01, NPL = 2.87, P = .0012) and weak linkage to 1q24 (LOD = 1.26, NPL = 2.44, P = .008).
We report the first genome-wide linkage study of atopic dermatitis in an Asian population, and novel loci on chromosomes 15q21 and 1q24 linked to atopic dermatitis. Identification of novel causative genes for atopic dermatitis will advance our understanding of the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis.
PMCID: PMC2082241  PMID: 17900373

Results 1-8 (8)