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author:("full, Carl")
1.  Targeted loss of Arx results in a developmental epilepsy mouse model and recapitulates the human phenotype in heterozygous females 
Brain  2009;132(6):1563-1576.
Mutations in the X-linked aristaless-related homeobox gene (ARX) have been linked to structural brain anomalies as well as multiple neurocognitive deficits. The generation of Arx-deficient mice revealed several morphological anomalies, resembling those observed in patients and an interneuron migration defect but perinatal lethality precluded analyses of later phenotypes. Interestingly, many of the neurological phenotypes observed in patients with various ARX mutations can be attributed, in part, to interneuron dysfunction. To directly test this possibility, mice carrying a floxed Arx allele were generated and crossed to Dlx5/6CRE-IRES-GFP(Dlx5/6CIG) mice, conditionally deleting Arx from ganglionic eminence derived neurons including cortical interneurons. We now report that Arx−/y;Dlx5/6CIG (male) mice exhibit a variety of seizure types beginning in early-life, including seizures that behaviourally and electroencephalographically resembles infantile spasms, and show evolution through development. Thus, this represents a new genetic model of a malignant form of paediatric epilepsy, with some characteristics resembling infantile spasms, caused by mutations in a known infantile spasms gene. Unexpectedly, approximately half of the female mice carrying a single mutant Arx allele (Arx−/+;Dlx5/6CIG) also developed seizures. We also found that a subset of human female carriers have seizures and neurocognitive deficits. In summary, we have identified a previously unrecognized patient population with neurological deficits attributed to ARX mutations that are recapitulated in our mouse model. Furthermore, we show that perturbation of interneuron subpopulations is an important mechanism underling the pathogenesis of developmental epilepsy in both hemizygous males and carrier females. Given the frequency of ARX mutations in patients with infantile spasms and related disorders, our data unveil a new model for further understanding the pathogenesis of these disorders.
doi:10.1093/brain/awp107
PMCID: PMC2685924  PMID: 19439424
Epilepsy; development; conditional knockout; genetic model; interneurons
2.  Selective temporal and regional alterations of Nogo-A and small proline-rich repeat protein 1A (SPRR1A) but not Nogo-66 receptor (NgR) occur following traumatic brain injury in the rat 
Experimental neurology  2006;197(1):70-83.
Axons show a poor regenerative capacity following traumatic central nervous system (CNS) injury, partly due to the expression of inhibitors of axonal outgrowth, of which Nogo-A is considered the most important. We evaluated the acute expression of Nogo-A, the Nogo-66 receptor (NgR) and the novel small proline-rich repeat protein 1A (SPRR1A, previously undetected in brain), following experimental lateral fluid percussion (FP) brain injury in rats. Immunofluorescence with antibodies against Nogo-A, NgR and SPRR1A was combined with antibodies against the neuronal markers NeuN and microtubule-associated protein (MAP)-2 and the oligodendrocyte marker RIP, while Western blot analysis was performed for Nogo-A and NgR. Brain injury produced a significant increase in Nogo-A expression in injured cortex, ipsilateral external capsule and reticular thalamus from days 1–7 post-injury (P < 0.05) compared to controls. Increased expression of Nogo-A was observed in both RIP- and NeuN positive (+) cells in the ipsilateral cortex, in NeuN (+) cells in the CA3 region of the hippocampus and reticular thalamus and in RIP (+) cells in white matter tracts. Alterations in NgR expression were not observed following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Brain injury increased the extent of SPRR1A expression in the ipsilateral cortex and the CA3 at all post-injury time-points in NeuN (+) cells. The marked increases in Nogo-A and SPRR1A in several important brain regions suggest that although inhibitors of axonal growth may be upregulated, the injured brain is also capable of expressing proteins promoting axonal outgrowth following TBI.
doi:10.1016/j.expneurol.2005.08.029
PMCID: PMC2849132  PMID: 16321384
Nogo-A; Nogo-66 receptor; Small proline-rich repeat protein 1A (SPRR1A); Traumatic brain injury; Oligodendrocytes
3.  Identification of Arx transcriptional targets in the developing basal forebrain 
Human Molecular Genetics  2008;17(23):3740-3760.
Mutations in the aristaless-related homeobox (ARX) gene are associated with multiple neurologic disorders in humans. Studies in mice indicate Arx plays a role in neuronal progenitor proliferation and development of the cerebral cortex, thalamus, hippocampus, striatum, and olfactory bulbs. Specific defects associated with Arx loss of function include abnormal interneuron migration and subtype differentiation. How disruptions in ARX result in human disease and how loss of Arx in mice results in these phenotypes remains poorly understood. To gain insight into the biological functions of Arx, we performed a genome-wide expression screen to identify transcriptional changes within the subpallium in the absence of Arx. We have identified 84 genes whose expression was dysregulated in the absence of Arx. This population was enriched in genes involved in cell migration, axonal guidance, neurogenesis, and regulation of transcription and includes genes implicated in autism, epilepsy, and mental retardation; all features recognized in patients with ARX mutations. Additionally, we found Arx directly repressed three of the identified transcription factors: Lmo1, Ebf3 and Shox2. To further understand how the identified genes are involved in neural development, we used gene set enrichment algorithms to compare the Arx gene regulatory network (GRN) to the Dlx1/2 GRN and interneuron transcriptome. These analyses identified a subset of genes in the Arx GRN that are shared with that of the Dlx1/2 GRN and that are enriched in the interneuron transcriptome. These data indicate Arx plays multiple roles in forebrain development, both dependent and independent of Dlx1/2, and thus provides further insights into the understanding of the mechanisms underlying the pathology of mental retardation and epilepsy phenotypes resulting from ARX mutations.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddn271
PMCID: PMC2581427  PMID: 18799476

Results 1-3 (3)