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1.  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.
doi:10.1177/1099800409332726
PMCID: PMC3513273  PMID: 19398414
microarray; painful peripheral neuropathy; chronic pain; gigaxonin; giant axonal neuropathy; HIV/AIDS; HAART; NRTI
2.  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.
doi:10.1186/1744-8069-5-61
PMCID: PMC2777863  PMID: 19874592
3.  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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000044
PMCID: PMC2268012  PMID: 18369462

Results 1-3 (3)