Otitis media is a common reason for hearing loss, especially in children. Otitis media is a multifactorial disease and environmental factors, anatomic dysmorphology and genetic predisposition can all contribute to its pathogenesis. However, the reasons for the variable susceptibility to otitis media are elusive. MCPH1 mutations cause primary microcephaly in humans. So far, no hearing impairment has been reported either in the MCPH1 patients or mouse models with Mcph1 deficiency. In this study, Mcph1-deficient (Mcph1tm1a/tm1a) mice were produced using embryonic stem cells with a targeted mutation by the Sanger Institute's Mouse Genetics Project. Auditory brainstem response measurements revealed that Mcph1tm1a/tm1a mice had mild to moderate hearing impairment with around 70% penetrance. We found otitis media with effusion in the hearing-impaired Mcph1tm1a/tm1a mice by anatomic and histological examinations. Expression of Mcph1 in the epithelial cells of middle ear cavities supported its involvement in the development of otitis media. Other defects of Mcph1tm1a/tm1a mice included small skull sizes, increased micronuclei in red blood cells, increased B cells and ocular abnormalities. These findings not only recapitulated the defects found in other Mcph1-deficient mice or MCPH1 patients, but also revealed an unexpected phenotype, otitis media with hearing impairment, which suggests Mcph1 is a new gene underlying genetic predisposition to otitis media.
An appreciable fraction of the Drosophila melanogaster genome is dedicated to male fertility. One approach to characterizing this subset of the genome is through the study of male-sterile mutations. We studied the relation between vital and male-fertility genes in three large autosomal regions that were saturated for lethal and male-sterile mutations. The majority of male-sterile mutations affect genes that are exclusively expressed in males. These genes are required only for male fertility, and several mutant alleles of each such gene were encountered. A few male-sterile mutations were alleles of vital genes that are expressed in both males and females. About one-fifth of the genes in Drosophila melanogaster show male-specific expression in adults. Although some earlier studies found a paucity of genes on the X chromosome showing male-biased expression, we did not find any significant differences between the X chromosome and the autosomes either in the relative frequencies of mutations to male sterility or in the frequencies of genes with male-specific expression in adults. Our results suggest that as much as 25% of the Drosophila genome may be dedicated to male fertility.
Pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) is a common convulsant agent used in animal models to investigate the mechanisms of seizures. Although adult zebrafish have been recently used to study epileptic seizures, a thorough characterization of the PTZ-induced seizures in this animal model is missing. The goal of this study was to perform a detailed temporal behavior profile characterization of PTZ-induced seizure in adult zebrafish. The behavioral profile during 20 min of PTZ immersion (5, 7.5, 10, and 15 mM) was characterized by stages defined as scores: (0) short swim, (1) increased swimming activity and high frequency of opercular movement, (2) erratic movements, (3) circular movements, (4) clonic seizure-like behavior, (5) fall to the bottom of the tank and tonic seizure-like behavior, (6) death. Animals exposed to distinct PTZ concentrations presented different seizure profiles, intensities and latencies to reach all scores. Only animals immersed into 15 mM PTZ showed an increased time to return to the normal behavior (score 0), after exposure. Total mortality rate at 10 and 15 mM were 33% and 50%, respectively. Considering all behavioral parameters, 5, 7.5, 10, and 15 mM PTZ, induced seizures with low, intermediate, and high severity, respectively. Pretreatment with diazepam (DZP) significantly attenuated seizure severity. Finally, the brain PTZ levels in adult zebrafish immersed into the chemoconvulsant solution at 5 and 10 mM were comparable to those described for the rodent model, with a peak after a 20-min of exposure. The PTZ brain levels observed after 2.5-min PTZ exposure and after 60-min removal from exposure were similar. Altogether, our results showed a detailed temporal behavioral characterization of a PTZ epileptic seizure model in adult zebrafish. These behavioral analyses and the simple method for PTZ quantification could be considered as important tools for future investigations and translational research.
Bonobos, compared to chimpanzees, are highly motivated to play as adults. Therefore, it is interesting to compare the two species at earlier developmental stages to determine how and when these differences arise. We measured and compared some play parameters between the two species including frequency, number of partners (solitary, dyadic, and polyadic play), session length, and escalation into overt aggression. Since solitary play has a role in developing cognitive and physical skills, it is not surprising that chimpanzees and bonobos share similar developmental trajectories in the motivation to engage in this activity. The striking divergence in play developmental pathways emerged for social play. Infants of the two species showed comparable social play levels, which began to diverge during the juvenile period, a ‘timing hotspot’ for play development. Compared to chimpanzees, social play sessions in juvenile bonobos escalated less frequently into overt aggression, lasted longer, and frequently involved more than two partners concurrently (polyadic play). In this view, play fighting in juvenile bonobos seems to maintain a cooperative mood, whereas in juvenile chimpanzees it acquires more competitive elements. The retention of juvenile traits into adulthood typical of bonobos can be due to a developmental delay in social inhibition. Our findings show that the divergence of play ontogenetic pathways between the two Pan species and the relative emergence of play neotenic traits in bonobos can be detected before individuals reach sexual maturity. The high play motivation showed by adult bonobos compared to chimpanzees is probably the result of a long developmental process, rooted in the delicate transitional phase, which leads subjects from infancy to juvenility.
Mutations in RPGRIP1 are associated with early onset retinal degenerations in humans and dogs. Dogs homozygous for a 44 bp insertion including a polyA29 tract potentially leading to premature truncation of the protein, show cone rod degeneration. This is rapid and blinding in a colony of dogs in which the mutation was characterised but in dogs with the same mutation in the pet population there is very variable disease severity and rate of progression.
We hypothesized that this variability must be associated with leakiness of the RPGRIP1 mutation, allowing continued RPGRIP1 production. The study was designed to discover mechanisms that might allow such leakiness.
We analysed alternate start sites and splicing of RPGRIP1 transcripts; variability of polyAn length in the insertion and slippage at polyAn during transcription/translation.
Results and Significance
We observed a low rate of use of alternative start codons having potential to allow forms of transcript not including the insertion, with the possibility of encoding truncated functional RPGRIP1 protein isoforms. Complex alternative splicing was observed, but did not increase this potential. Variable polyAn length was confirmed in DNA from different RPGRIP1−/− dogs, yet polyAn variability did not correspond with the clinical phenotypes and no individual was found that carried a polyAn tract capable of encoding an in-frame variant. Remarkably though, in luciferase reporter gene assays, out-of-frame inserts still allowed downstream reporter gene expression at some 40% of the efficiency of in-frame controls. This indicates a major role of transcriptional or translational frameshifting in RPGRIP1 expression. The known slippage of reverse transcriptases as well as RNA polymerases and thermostable DNA polymerases on oligoA homopolymers meant that we could not distinguish whether the majority of slippage was transcriptional or translational. This leakiness at the mutation site may allow escape from severe effects of the mutation for some dogs.
In C. elegans, the highly conserved DAF-2/insulin/insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor signaling (IIS) pathway regulates longevity, metabolism, reproduction and development. In mammals, acid sphingomyelinase (ASM) is an enzyme that hydrolyzes sphingomyelin to produce ceramide. ASM has been implicated in CD95 death receptor signaling under certain stress conditions. However, the involvement of ASM in growth factor receptor signaling under physiological conditions is not known. Here, we report that in vivo ASM functions as a positive regulator of the DAF-2/IIS pathway in C. elegans. We have shown that inactivation of asm-3 extends animal lifespan and promotes dauer arrest, an alternative developmental process. A significant cooperative effect on lifespan is observed between asm-3 deficiency and loss-of-function alleles of the age-1/PI 3-kinase, with the asm-3; age-1 double mutant animals having a mean lifespan 259% greater than that of the wild-type animals. The lifespan extension phenotypes caused by the loss of asm-3 are dependent on the functions of daf-16/FOXO and daf-18/PTEN. We have demonstrated that inactivation of asm-3 causes nuclear translocation of DAF-16::GFP protein, up-regulates endogenous DAF-16 protein levels and activates the downstream targeting genes of DAF-16. Together, our findings reveal a novel role of asm-3 in regulation of lifespan and diapause by modulating IIS pathway. Importantly, we have found that two drugs known to inhibit mammalian ASM activities, desipramine and clomipramine, markedly extend the lifespan of wild-type animals, in a manner similar to that achieved by genetic inactivation of the asm genes. Our studies illustrate a novel strategy of anti-aging by targeting ASM, which may potentially be extended to mammals.
The L1 cell adhesion molecule promotes neurite outgrowth and neuronal survival in homophilic and heterophilic interactions and enhances neurite outgrowth and neuronal survival homophilically, i.e. by self binding. We investigated whether exploitation of homophilic and possibly also heterophilic mechanisms of neural stem cells overexpressing the full-length transmembrane L1 and a secreted trimer engineered to express its extracellular domain would be more beneficial for functional recovery of the compression injured spinal cord of adult mice than stem cells overexpressing only full-length L1 or the parental, non-engineered cells. Here we report that stem cells expressing trimeric and full-length L1 are indeed more efficient in promoting locomotor recovery when compared to stem cells overexpressing only full-length L1 or the parental stem cells. The trimer expressing stem cells were also more efficient in reducing glial scar volume and expression of chondroitin sulfates and the chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan NG2. They were also more efficient in enhancing regrowth/sprouting and/or preservation of serotonergic axons, and remyelination and/or myelin sparing. Moreover, degeneration/dying back of corticospinal cord axons was prevented more by the trimer expressing stem cells. These results encourage the view that stem cells engineered to drive the beneficial functions of L1 via homophilic and heterophilic interactions are functionally optimized and may thus be of therapeutic value.
This study investigated the effects of experimentally manipulated seawater carbonate chemistry on several early life history processes of the Baltic tellin (Macoma balthica), a widely distributed bivalve that plays a critical role in the functioning of many coastal habitats. We demonstrate that ocean acidification significantly depresses fertilization, embryogenesis, larval development and survival during the pelagic phase. Fertilization and the formation of a D-shaped shell during embryogenesis were severely diminished: successful fertilization was reduced by 11% at a 0.6 pH unit decrease from present (pH 8.1) conditions, while hatching success was depressed by 34 and 87%, respectively at a 0.3 and 0.6 pH unit decrease. Under acidified conditions, larvae were still able to develop a shell during the post-embryonic phase, but higher larval mortality rates indicate that fewer larvae may metamorphose and settle in an acidified ocean. The cumulative impact of decreasing seawater pH on fertilization, embryogenesis and survival to the benthic stage is estimated to reduce the number of competent settlers by 38% for a 0.3 pH unit decrease, and by 89% for a 0.6 pH unit decrease from present conditions. Additionally, slower growth rates and a delayed metamorphosis at a smaller size were indicative for larvae developed under acidified conditions. This may further decline the recruit population size due to a longer subjection to perturbations, such as predation, during the pelagic phase. In general, early life history processes were most severely compromised at ∼pH 7.5, which corresponds to seawater undersaturated with respect to aragonite. Since recent models predict a comparable decrease in pH in coastal waters in the near future, this study indicates that future populations of Macoma balthica are likely to decline as a consequence of ongoing ocean acidification.
Animals have to cope with starvation. The molecular mechanisms by which animals survive long-term starvation, however, are not clearly understood. When they hatch without food, C. elegans arrests development at the first larval stage (L1) and survives more than two weeks. Here we show that the survival span of arrested L1s, which we call L1 longevity, is a starvation response regulated by metabolic rate during starvation. A high rate of metabolism shortens the L1 survival span, whereas a low rate of metabolism lengthens it. The longer worms are starved, the slower they grow once they are fed, suggesting that L1 arrest has metabolic costs. Furthermore, mutants of genes that regulate metabolism show altered L1 longevity. Among them, we found that AMP-dependent protein kinase (AMPK), as a key energy sensor, regulates L1 longevity by regulating this metabolic arrest. Our results suggest that L1 longevity is determined by metabolic rate and that AMPK as a master regulator of metabolism controls this arrest so that the animals survive long-term starvation.
Recognition of conspecifics and mates is based on a variety of sensory cues that are specific to the species, sex and social status of each individual. The courtship and mating activity of Drosophila melanogaster flies is thought to depend on the olfactory perception of a male-specific volatile pheromone, cis-vaccenyl acetate (cVA), and the gustatory perception of cuticular hydrocarbons (CHs), some of which are sexually dimorphic. Using two complementary sampling methods (headspace Solid Phase Micro-Extraction [SPME] and solvent extraction) coupled with GC-MS analysis, we measured the dispersion of pheromonal CHs in the air and on the substrate around the fly. We also followed the variations in CHs that were induced by social and sexual interactions. We found that all CHs present on the fly body were deposited as a thin layer on the substrate, whereas only a few of these molecules were also detected in the air. Moreover, social experience during early adult development and in mature flies strongly affected male volatile CHs but not cVA, whereas sexual interaction only had a moderate influence on dispersed CHs. Our study suggests that, in addition to their role as contact cues, CHs can influence fly behavior at a distance and that volatile, deposited and body pheromonal CHs participate in a three-step recognition of the chemical identity and social status of insects.
Insecticide resistance is a worldwide problem with major impact on agriculture and human health. Understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms is crucial for the management of the phenomenon; however, this information often comes late with respect to the implementation of efficient counter-measures, particularly in the case of metabolism-based resistance mechanisms. We employed a genome-wide insertional mutagenesis screen to Drosophila melanogaster, using a Minos-based construct, and retrieved a line (MiT[w−]3R2) resistant to the neonicotinoid insecticide Imidacloprid. Biochemical and bioassay data indicated that resistance was due to increased P450 detoxification. Deep sequencing transcriptomic analysis revealed substantial over- and under-representation of 357 transcripts in the resistant line, including statistically significant changes in mixed function oxidases, peptidases and cuticular proteins. Three P450 genes (Cyp4p2, Cyp6a2 and Cyp6g1) located on the 2R chromosome, are highly up-regulated in mutant flies compared to susceptible Drosophila. One of them (Cyp6g1) has been already described as a major factor for Imidacloprid resistance, which validated the approach. Elevated expression of the Cyp4p2 was not previously documented in Drosophila lines resistant to neonicotinoids. In silico analysis using the Drosophila reference genome failed to detect transcription binding factors or microRNAs associated with the over-expressed Cyp genes. The resistant line did not contain a Minos insertion in its chromosomes, suggesting a hit-and-run event, i.e. an insertion of the transposable element, followed by an excision which caused the mutation. Genetic mapping placed the resistance locus to the right arm of the second chromosome, within a ∼1 Mb region, where the highly up-regulated Cyp6g1 gene is located. The nature of the unknown mutation that causes resistance is discussed on the basis of these results.
Aggregates of the microtubule-associated protein Tau are neuropathological hallmark lesions in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related primary tauopathies. In addition, Tau is genetically implicated in a number of human neurodegenerative disorders including frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Parkinson's disease (PD). The exact mechanism by which Tau exerts its neurotoxicity is incompletely understood. Here, we give an overview of how studies using the genetic model organism Drosophila over the past decade have contributed to the molecular understanding of Tau neurotoxicity. We compare the different available readouts for Tau neurotoxicity in flies and review the molecular pathways in which Tau has been implicated. Finally, we emphasize that the integration of genome-wide approaches in human or mice with high-throughput genetic validation in Drosophila is a fruitful approach.
Neural crest cells (NCC) give rise to much of the tissue that forms the vertebrate head and face, including cartilage and bone, cranial ganglia and teeth. In this study we show that conditional expression of a dominant-negative (DN) form of Rho kinase (Rock) in mouse NCC results in severe hypoplasia of the frontonasal processes and first pharyngeal arch, ultimately resulting in reduction of the maxilla and nasal bones and severe craniofacial clefting affecting the nose, palate and lip. These defects resemble frontonasal dysplasia in humans. Disruption of the actin cytoskeleton, which leads to abnormalities in cell-matrix attachment, is seen in the RockDN;Wnt1-cre mutant embryos. This leads to elevated cell death, resulting in NCC deficiency and hypoplastic NCC-derived craniofacial structures. Rock is thus essential for survival of NCC that form the craniofacial region. We propose that reduced NCC numbers in the frontonasal processes and first pharyngeal arch, resulting from exacerbated cell death, may be the common mechanism underlying frontonasal dysplasia.
Duct cells isolated from adult human pancreas can be reprogrammed to express islet beta cell genes by adenoviral transduction of the developmental transcription factor neurogenin3 (Ngn3). In this study we aimed to fully characterize the extent of this reprogramming and intended to improve it.
The extent of the Ngn3-mediated duct-to-endocrine cell reprogramming was measured employing genome wide mRNA profiling. By modulation of the Delta-Notch signaling or addition of pancreatic endocrine transcription factors Myt1, MafA and Pdx1 we intended to improve the reprogramming.
Ngn3 stimulates duct cells to express a focused set of genes that are characteristic for islet endocrine cells and/or neural tissues. This neuro-endocrine shift however, is incomplete with less than 10% of full duct-to-endocrine reprogramming achieved. Transduction of exogenous Ngn3 activates endogenous Ngn3 suggesting auto-activation of this gene. Furthermore, pancreatic endocrine reprogramming of human duct cells can be moderately enhanced by inhibition of Delta-Notch signaling as well as by co-expressing the transcription factor Myt1, but not MafA and Pdx1.
The results provide further insight into the plasticity of adult human duct cells and suggest measurable routes to enhance Ngn3-mediated in vitro reprogramming protocols for regenerative beta cell therapy in diabetes.
Abundant evidence indicates that chicken reproduction is strictly regulated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonad (HPG) axis, and the genes included in the HPG axis have been studied extensively. However, the question remains as to whether any other genes outside of the HPG system are involved in regulating chicken reproduction. The present study was aimed to identify, on a genome-wide level, novel genes associated with chicken reproductive traits.
Suppressive subtractive hybridization (SSH), genome-wide association study (GWAS), and gene-centric GWAS were used to identify novel genes underlying chicken reproduction. Single marker-trait association analysis with a large population and allelic frequency spectrum analysis were used to confirm the effects of candidate genes. Using two full-sib Ningdu Sanhuang (NDH) chickens, GARNL1 was identified as a candidate gene involved in chicken broodiness by SSH analysis. Its expression levels in the hypothalamus and pituitary were significantly higher in brooding chickens than in non-brooding chickens. GWAS analysis with a NDH two tail sample showed that 2802 SNPs were significantly associated with egg number at 300 d of age (EN300). Among the 2802 SNPs, 2 SNPs composed a block overlapping the GARNL1 gene. The gene-centric GWAS analysis with another two tail sample of NDH showed that GARNL1 was strongly associated with EN300 and age at first egg (AFE). Single marker-trait association analysis in 1301 female NDH chickens confirmed that variation in this gene was related to EN300 and AFE. The allelic frequency spectrum of the SNP rs15700989 among 5 different populations supported the above associations. Western blotting, RT-PCR, and qPCR were used to analyze alternative splicing of the GARNL1 gene. RT-PCR detected 5 transcripts and revealed that the transcript, which has a 141 bp insertion, was expressed in a tissue-specific manner.
Our findings demonstrate that the GARNL1 gene contributes to chicken reproductive traits.
Although the embryonic expression pattern of ADP ribosylation factor-like 6 interacting protein 1 (Arl6ip1) has been reported, its function in neural crest development is unclear.
We found that knockdown of Arl6ip1 caused defective embryonic neural crest derivatives that were particularly severe in craniofacial cartilages. Expressions of the ectodermal patterning factors msxb, dlx3b, and pax3 were normal, but the expressions of the neural crest specifier genes foxd3, snai1b, and sox10 were greatly reduced. These findings suggest that arl6ip1 is essential for specification of neural crest derivatives, but not neural crest induction. Furthermore, we revealed that the streams of crestin- and sox10-expressing neural crest cells, which migrate ventrally from neural tube into trunk, were disrupted in arl6ip1 morphants. This migration defect was not only in the trunk neural crest, but also in the enteric tract where the vagal-derived neural crest cells failed to populate the enteric nervous system. We found that this migration defect was induced by dampened Shh signaling, which may have resulted from defective cilia. These data further suggested that arl6ip1 is required for neural crest migration. Finally, by double-staining of TUNEL and crestin, we confirmed that the loss of neural crest cells could not be attributed to apoptosis.
Therefore, we concluded that arl6ip1 is required for neural crest migration and sublineage specification.
microRNAs (miRNAs) are small, conserved, non-coding RNAs that contribute to the control of many different cellular processes, including cell fate specification and growth control. Drosophila bantam, a conserved miRNA, is involved in several functions, such as stimulating proliferation and inhibiting apoptosis in the wing disc. Here, we reported the detailed expression pattern of bantam in the developing optic lobe, and demonstrated a new, essential role in promoting proliferation of mitotic cells in the optic lobe, including stem cells and differentiated glial cells. Changes in bantam levels autonomously affected glial cell number and distribution, and non-autonomously affected photoreceptor neuron axon projection patterns. Furthermore, we showed that bantam promotes the proliferation of mitotically active glial cells and affects their distribution, largely through down regulation of the T-box transcription factor, optomotor-blind (omb, Flybase, bifid). Expression of omb can rescue the bantam phenotype, and restore the normal glial cell number and proper glial cell positioning in most Drosophila brains. These results suggest that bantam is critical for maintaining the stem cell pools in the outer proliferation center and glial precursor cell regions of the optic lobe, and that its expression in glial cells is crucial for their proliferation and distribution.
Pax6 and Pax6(5a) are two isoforms of the evolutionary conserved Pax6 gene often co-expressed in specific stochiometric relationship in the brain and the eye during development. The Pax6(5a) protein differs from Pax6 by having a 14 amino acid insert in the paired domain, causing the two proteins to have different DNA binding specificities. Difference in functions during development is proven by the fact that mutations in the 14 amino acid insertion for Pax6(5a) give a slightly different eye phenotype than the one described for Pax6. Whereas quite many Pax6 target genes have been published during the last years, few Pax6(5a) specific target genes have been reported on. However, target genes identified by Pax6 knockout studies can probably be Pax6(5a) targets as well, since this isoform also will be affected by the knockout. In order to identify new Pax6 target genes, and to try to distinguish between genes regulated by Pax6 and Pax6(5a), we generated FlpIn-3T3 cell lines stably expressing Pax6 or Pax6(5a). RNA was harvested from these cell lines and used in gene expression microarrays where we identified a number of genes differentially regulated by Pax6 and Pax6(5a). A majority of these were associated with the extracellular region. By qPCR we verified that Ncam1, Ngef, Sphk1, Dkk3 and Crtap are Pax6(5a) specific target genes, while Tgfbi, Vegfa, EphB2, Klk8 and Edn1 were confirmed as Pax6 specific target genes. Nbl1, Ngfb and seven genes encoding different glycosyl transferases appeared to be regulated by both. Direct binding to the promoters of Crtap, Ctgf, Edn1, Dkk3, Pdgfb and Ngef was verified by ChIP. Furthermore, a change in morphology of the stably transfected Pax6 and Pax6(5a) cells was observed, and the Pax6 expressing cells were shown to have increased proliferation and migration capacities.
Axon pathfinding is a subfield of neural development by which neurons send out axons to reach the correct targets. In particular, motoneurons extend their axons toward skeletal muscles, leading to spontaneous motor activity. In this study, we identified the zebrafish Ccdc80 and Ccdc80-like1 (Ccdc80-l1) proteins in silico on the basis of their high aminoacidic sequence identity with the human CCDC80 (Coiled-Coil Domain Containing 80). We focused on ccdc80-l1 gene that is expressed in nervous and non-nervous tissues, in particular in territories correlated with axonal migration, such as adaxial cells and muscle pioneers. Loss of ccdc80-l1 in zebrafish embryos induced motility issues, although somitogenesis and myogenesis were not impaired. Our results strongly suggest that ccdc80-l1 is involved in axon guidance of primary and secondary motoneurons populations, but not in their proper formation. ccdc80-l1 has a differential role as regards the development of ventral and dorsal motoneurons, and this is consistent with the asymmetric distribution of the transcript. The axonal migration defects observed in ccdc80-l1 loss-of-function embryos are similar to the phenotype of several mutants with altered Hedgehog activity. Indeed, we reported that ccdc80-l1 expression is positively regulated by the Hedgehog pathway in adaxial cells and muscle pioneers. These findings strongly indicate ccdc80-l1 as a down-stream effector of the Hedgehog pathway.
With powerful genetics and a translucent cuticle, the Drosophila larva is an ideal model system for live imaging studies of neuronal cell biology and function. Here, we present an easy-to-use approach for high resolution live imaging in Drosophila using microfluidic chips. Two different designs allow for non-invasive and chemical-free immobilization of 3rd instar larvae over short (up to 1 hour) and long (up to 10 hours) time periods. We utilized these ‘larva chips’ to characterize several sub-cellular responses to axotomy which occur over a range of time scales in intact, unanaesthetized animals. These include waves of calcium which are induced within seconds of axotomy, and the intracellular transport of vesicles whose rate and flux within axons changes dramatically within 3 hours of axotomy. Axonal transport halts throughout the entire distal stump, but increases in the proximal stump. These responses precede the degeneration of the distal stump and regenerative sprouting of the proximal stump, which is initiated after a 7 hour period of dormancy and is associated with a dramatic increase in F-actin dynamics. In addition to allowing for the study of axonal regeneration in vivo, the larva chips can be utilized for a wide variety of in vivo imaging applications in Drosophila.
The Genetic screened homeobox 2 (Gsx2) transcription factor is required for the development of olfactory bulb (OB) and striatal neurons, and for the regional specification of the embryonic telencephalon. Although Gsx2 is expressed abundantly by progenitor cells in the ventral telencephalon, its precise function in the generation of neurons from neural stem cells (NSCs) is not clear. Similarly, the role of Gsx2 in regulating the self-renewal and multipotentiality of NSCs has been little explored. Using retroviral vectors to express Gsx2, we have studied the effect of Gsx2 on the growth of NSCs isolated from the OB and ganglionic eminences (GE), as well as its influence on the proliferation and cell fate of progenitors in the postnatal mouse OB. Expression of Gsx2 reduces proliferation and the self-renewal capacity of NSCs, without significantly affecting cell death. Furthermore, Gsx2 overexpression decreases the differentiation of NSCs into neurons and glia, and it maintains the cells that do not differentiate as cycling progenitors. These effects were stronger in GESCs than in OBSCs, indicating that the actions of Gsx2 are cell-dependent. In vivo, Gsx2 produces a decrease in the number of Pax6+ cells and doublecortin+ neuroblasts, and an increase in Olig2+ cells. In summary, our findings show that Gsx2 inhibits the ability of NSCs to proliferate and self-renew, as well as the capacity of NSC-derived progenitors to differentiate, suggesting that this transcription factor regulates the quiescent and undifferentiated state of NSCs and progenitors. Furthermore, our data indicate that Gsx2 negatively regulates neurogenesis from postnatal progenitor cells.
Aggressive behavior is widely present throughout the animal kingdom and is crucial to ensure survival and reproduction. Aggressive actions serve to acquire territory, food, or mates and in defense against predators or rivals; while in some species these behaviors are involved in establishing a social hierarchy. Aggression is a complex behavior, influenced by a broad range of genetic and environmental factors. Recent studies in Drosophila provide insight into the genetic basis and control of aggression. The state of the art on aggression in Drosophila and the many opportunities provided by this model organism to unravel the genetic and neurobiological basis of aggression are reviewed.
aggression; behavior; Drosophila; genetics; neurobiology
Perception of temperature is an important brain function for organisms to survive. Evidence suggests that temperature preference behavior (TPB) in Drosophila melanogaster, one of poikilothermal animals, is regulated by cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) signaling in mushroom bodies of the brain. However, downstream targets for the PKA signaling in this behavior have not been identified. From a genome-wide search for the genes regulated by PKA activity in the mushroom bodies, we identified the cyp6a17 Cytochrome P450 gene as a new target for PKA. Our detailed analysis of mutants by genetic, molecular and behavioral assays shows that cyp6a17 is essential for temperature preference behavior. cyp6a17 expression is enriched in the mushroom bodies of the adult brain. Tissue-specific knockdown and rescue experiments demonstrate that cyp6a17 is required in the mushroom bodies for normal temperature preference behavior. This is the first study, to our knowledge, to show PKA-dependent expression of a cytochrome P450 gene in the mushroom bodies and its role as a key factor for temperature preference behavior. Taken together, this study reveals a new PKA-Cytochrome P450 pathway that regulates the temperature preference behavior.
The Wuerzburg Hybridoma Library against the
Drosophila brain represents a
collection of around 200 monoclonal antibodies
that bind to specific structures in the
Drosophila brain. Here we
describe the immunohistochemical staining
patterns, the Western blot signals of one- and
two-dimensional electrophoretic separation, and
the mass spectrometric characterization of the
target protein candidates recognized by the
monoclonal antibodies aa2 and ab52 from the
library. Analysis of a mutant of a candidate gene
identified the Drosophila homolog
of the Epidermal growth factor receptor Pathway
Substrate clone 15 (Eps15) as the antigen for
these two antibodies.
DNA damage accumulates in genome DNA during the long life of neurons, thus DNA damage repair is indispensable to keep normal functions of neurons. We previously reported that Ku70, a critical molecule for DNA double strand break (DSB) repair, is involved in the pathology of Huntington's disease (HD). Mutant huntingtin (Htt) impaired Ku70 function via direct interaction, and Ku70 supplementation recovered phenotypes of a mouse HD model. In this study, we generate multiple Drosophila HD models that express mutant huntingtin (Htt) in eye or motor neuron by different drivers and show various phenotypes. In such fly models, Ku70 co-expression recovers lifespan, locomotive activity and eye degeneration. In contrast, Ku70 reduction by heterozygous null mutation or siRNA-mediated knock down accelerates lifespan shortening and locomotion disability. These results collectively support that Ku70 is a critical mediator of the HD pathology and a candidate therapeutic target in HD.