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1.  BBS4 Is Necessary for Ciliary Localization of TrkB Receptor and Activation by BDNF 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e98687.
Primary cilia regulate an expanding list of signaling pathways in many different cell types. It is likely that identification of the full catalog of pathways associated with cilia will be necessary to fully understand their role in regulation of signaling and the implications for diseases associated with their dysfunction, ciliopathies. Bardet-Biedl Syndrome (BBS) is one such ciliopathy which is characterized by a spectrum of phenotypes. These include neural defects such as impaired cognitive development, centrally mediated hyperphagia and peripheral sensory defects. Here we investigate potential defects in a signaling pathway associated with neuronal function, brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling. Upon loss of BBS4 expression in cultured cells, we observed decreased phosphorylation and activation by BDNF of its target receptor, TrkB. Assessment of ciliary localization revealed that, TrkB localized to the axonemes or basal bodies of cilia only in the presence of BDNF. Axonemal localization, specifically, was abrogated with loss of BBS4. Finally, we present evidence that loss of the ciliary axoneme through depletion of KIF3A impedes activation of TrkB. Taken together, these data suggest the possibility of a previously uninvestigated pathway associated with perturbation of ciliary proteins.
PMCID: PMC4035337  PMID: 24867303
2.  Ciliopathy proteins regulate paracrine signaling by modulating proteasomal degradation of mediators 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2014;124(5):2059-2070.
Cilia are critical mediators of paracrine signaling; however, it is unknown whether proteins that contribute to ciliopathies converge on multiple paracrine pathways through a common mechanism. Here, we show that loss of cilopathy-associated proteins Bardet-Biedl syndrome 4 (BBS4) or oral-facial-digital syndrome 1 (OFD1) results in the accumulation of signaling mediators normally targeted for proteasomal degradation. In WT cells, several BBS proteins and OFD1 interacted with proteasomal subunits, and loss of either BBS4 or OFD1 led to depletion of multiple subunits from the centrosomal proteasome. Furthermore, overexpression of proteasomal regulatory components or treatment with proteasomal activators sulforaphane (SFN) and mevalonolactone (MVA) ameliorated signaling defects in cells lacking BBS1, BBS4, and OFD1, in morphant zebrafish embryos, and in induced neurons from Ofd1-deficient mice. Finally, we tested the hypothesis that other proteasome-dependent pathways not known to be associated with ciliopathies are defective in the absence of ciliopathy proteins. We found that loss of BBS1, BBS4, or OFD1 led to decreased NF-κB activity and concomitant IκBβ accumulation and that these defects were ameliorated with SFN treatment. Taken together, our data indicate that basal body proteasomal regulation governs paracrine signaling pathways and suggest that augmenting proteasomal function might benefit ciliopathy patients.
PMCID: PMC4001542  PMID: 24691443
3.  Genome-Wide Screen Identifies Drug-Induced Regulation of the Gene Giant Axonal Neuropathy (Gan) in a Mouse Model of Antiretroviral-Induced Painful Peripheral Neuropathy 
Painful peripheral neuropathy is a debilitating complication of the treatment of HIV with nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). Patients are living longer with these drugs; however many develop excruciating, unremitting, and often treatment-limiting neuropathy that is resistant to conventional pain management therapies. Improving patient comfort and quality of life is paramount and depends on a clearer understanding of this devastating side effect. The mechanisms underlying the development of NRTI-induced neuropathy, however, remain unclear. Using a mouse model of NRTI-induced neuropathy, the authors conducted an unbiased whole-genome microarray screen to identify molecular targets in the spinal dorsal horn, which is the location where integration of ascending sensory transmission and descending modulatory effects occur. Analysis of the microarray data identified a change in the gene giant axonal neuropathy 1 (Gan1). Mutation of this gene has been linked to the development of giant axonal neuropathy (GAN), a rare autosomal recessive condition characterized by a progressive sensorimotor neuropathy. Gan1 has not been previously linked to nerve pathologies in other populations. In this study, downregulation of the Gan1 gene and the gene protein product, gigaxonin, was validated via quantitative polymerase chain reaction ([qPCR] gene expression) and Western blot analyses (protein level). Our report is the first to suggest that Gan1 might be a novel molecular target in the development of NRTI-induced peripheral neuropathy with implications for new therapeutic approaches to preventing or reducing a significant side effect of HIV treatment.
PMCID: PMC3513273  PMID: 19398414
microarray; painful peripheral neuropathy; chronic pain; gigaxonin; giant axonal neuropathy; HIV/AIDS; HAART; NRTI
4.  In vivo evidence that truncated trkB.T1 participates in nociception 
Molecular Pain  2009;5:61.
Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) is a central nervous system modulator of nociception. In animal models of chronic pain, BDNF exerts its effects on nociceptive processing by binding to the full-length receptor tropomyosin-related kinase B (trkB.FL) and transducing intracellular signaling to produce nocifensive behaviors. In addition to trkB.FL, the trkB locus also produces a widely-expressed alternatively-spliced truncated isoform, trkB.T1. TrkB.T1 binds BDNF with high affinity; however the unique 11 amino acid intracellular cytoplasmic tail lacks the kinase domain of trkB.FL. Recently, trkB.T1 was shown to be specifically up-regulated in a model of HIV-associated neuropathic pain, potentially implicating trkB.T1 as a modulator of nociception. Here, we report that trkB.T1 mRNA and protein is up-regulated in the spinal dorsal horn at times following antiretroviral drug treatment and hind paw inflammation in which nocifensive behaviors develop. While genetic depletion of trkB.T1 did not affect baseline mechanical and thermal thresholds, the absence of trkB.T1 resulted in significant attenuation of inflammation- and antiretroviral-induced nocifensive behaviors. Our results suggest that trkB.T1 up-regulation following antiretroviral treatment and tissue inflammation participates in the development and maintenance of nocifensive behavior and may represent a novel therapeutic target for pain treatment.
PMCID: PMC2777863  PMID: 19874592
5.  An Essential Role for DYF-11/MIP-T3 in Assembling Functional Intraflagellar Transport Complexes 
PLoS Genetics  2008;4(3):e1000044.
MIP-T3 is a human protein found previously to associate with microtubules and the kinesin-interacting neuronal protein DISC1 (Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia 1), but whose cellular function(s) remains unknown. Here we demonstrate that the C. elegans MIP-T3 ortholog DYF-11 is an intraflagellar transport (IFT) protein that plays a critical role in assembling functional kinesin motor-IFT particle complexes. We have cloned a loss of function dyf-11 mutant in which several key components of the IFT machinery, including Kinesin-II, as well as IFT subcomplex A and B proteins, fail to enter ciliary axonemes and/or mislocalize, resulting in compromised ciliary structures and sensory functions, and abnormal lipid accumulation. Analyses in different mutant backgrounds further suggest that DYF-11 functions as a novel component of IFT subcomplex B. Consistent with an evolutionarily conserved cilia-associated role, mammalian MIP-T3 localizes to basal bodies and cilia, and zebrafish mipt3 functions synergistically with the Bardet-Biedl syndrome protein Bbs4 to ensure proper gastrulation, a key cilium- and basal body-dependent developmental process. Our findings therefore implicate MIP-T3 in a previously unknown but critical role in cilium biogenesis and further highlight the emerging role of this organelle in vertebrate development.
Author Summary
The transport of protein complexes and associated cargo along microtubule tracks represents an essential eukaryotic process responsible for a multitude of cellular functions, including cell division, vesicle movement to membranes, and trafficking along dendrites, axons, and cilia. The latter organelles are hair-like cellular appendages implicated in cell and fluid motility, sensing and transducing information from their environment, and development. Their biogenesis and maintenance depends on a kinesin- and dynein-mediated motility process termed intraflagellar transport (IFT). In addition to comprising these specialized molecular motors, the IFT machinery consists of large multisubunit complexes whose exact composition and organization has not been fully defined. Here we identify a protein, DYF-11/MIP-T3, that is conserved in all ciliated organisms and is associated with IFT in C. elegans. Disruption of C. elegans DYF-11 results in structurally compromised cilia, likely as a result of IFT motor and subunit misassembly. Animals lacking DYF-11 display chemosensory anomalies, consistent with a role for the protein in cilia-associated sensory processes. In zebrafish, MIP-T3 is essential for gastrulation movements during development, similar to that observed for other ciliary components, including Bardet-Biedl syndrome proteins. In conclusion, we have identified a novel IFT machinery component that is also essential for development in vertebrates.
PMCID: PMC2268012  PMID: 18369462

Results 1-5 (5)