Neuregulin-1/ErbB signaling serves distinct functions in myelination of the peripheral and central nervous system.
ABSTRACT: Understanding the control of myelin formation by oligodendrocytes is essential for treating demyelinating diseases. Neuregulin-1 (NRG1) type III, an EGF-like growth factor, is essential for myelination in the PNS. It is thus thought that NRG1/ErbB signaling also regulates CNS myelination, a view suggested by in vitro studies and the overexpression of dominant-negative ErbB receptors. To directly test this hypothesis, we generated a series of conditional null mutants that completely lack NRG1 beginning at different stages of neural development. Unexpectedly, these mice assemble normal amounts of myelin. In addition, double mutants lacking oligodendroglial ErbB3 and ErbB4 become myelinated in the absence of any stimulation by neuregulins. In contrast, a significant hypermyelination is achieved by transgenic overexpression of NRG1 type I or NRG1 type III. Thus, NRG1/ErbB signaling is markedly different between Schwann cells and oligodendrocytes that have evolved an NRG/ErbB-independent mechanism of myelination control.
Project description:Neuregulins (NRGs) comprise a large family of growth factors that stimulate ERBB receptor tyrosine kinases. NRGs and their receptors, ERBBs, have been identified as susceptibility genes for diseases such as schizophrenia (SZ) and bipolar disorder. Recent studies have revealed complex Nrg/Erbb signaling networks that regulate the assembly of neural circuitry, myelination, neurotransmission, and synaptic plasticity. Evidence indicates there is an optimal level of NRG/ERBB signaling in the brain and deviation from it impairs brain functions. NRGs/ERBBs and downstream signaling pathways may provide therapeutic targets for specific neuropsychiatric symptoms.
Project description:The recently isolated second family of neuregulins, NRG2, shares its primary receptors, ErbB-3 and ErbB-4, and induction of mammary cell differentiation with NRG1 isoforms, suggesting functional redundancy of the two growth factor families. To address this possibility, we analyzed receptor specificity of NRGs by using an engineered cellular system. The activity of isoform-specific but partly overlapping patterns of specificities that collectively activate all eight ligand-stimulatable ErbB dimers was revealed. Specifically, NRG2-alpha [corrected], like NRG1-beta [corrected], emerges as a narrow-specificity ligand, whereas NRG2-beta [corrected] is a pan-ErbB ligand that binds with different affinities to all receptor combinations, including those containing ErbB-1, but excluding homodimers of ErbB-2. The latter protein, however, displayed cooperativity with the direct NRG receptors. Apparently, signaling by all NRGs is funneled through the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). However, the duration and potency of MAPK activation depend on the identity of the stimulatory ligand-receptor ternary complex. We conclude that the NRG-ErbB network represents a complex and nonredundant machinery developed for fine-tuning of signal transduction.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Evidence of genetic association between the NRG1 (Neuregulin-1) gene and schizophrenia is now well-documented. Furthermore, several recent reports suggest association between schizophrenia and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in ERBB4, one of the receptors for Neuregulin-1. In this study, we have extended the previously published associations by investigating the involvement of all eight genes from the ERBB and NRG families for association with schizophrenia. METHODS: Eight genes from the ERBB and NRG families were tested for association to schizophrenia using a collection of 396 cases and 1,342 blood bank controls ascertained from Aberdeen, UK. A total of 365 SNPs were tested. Association testing of both alleles and genotypes was carried out using the fast Fisher's Exact Test (FET). To understand better the nature of the associations, all pairs of SNPs separated by >or= 0.5 cM with at least nominal evidence of association (P < 0.10) were tested for evidence of pairwise interaction by logistic regression analysis. RESULTS: 42 out of 365 tested SNPs in the eight genes from the ERBB and NRG gene families were significantly associated with schizophrenia (P < 0.05). Associated SNPs were located in ERBB4 and NRG1, confirming earlier reports. However, novel associations were also seen in NRG2, NRG3 and EGFR. In pairwise interaction tests, clear evidence of gene-gene interaction was detected for NRG1-NRG2, NRG1-NRG3 and EGFR-NRG2, and suggestive evidence was also seen for ERBB4-NRG1, ERBB4-NRG2, ERBB4-NRG3 and ERBB4-ERBB2. Evidence of intragenic interaction was seen for SNPs in ERBB4. CONCLUSION: These new findings suggest that observed associations between NRG1 and schizophrenia may be mediated through functional interaction not just with ERBB4, but with other members of the NRG and ERBB families. There is evidence that genetic interaction among these loci may increase susceptibility to schizophrenia.
Project description:The Neuregulin (NRG) family of ErbB ligands is comprised of numerous variants originating from the use of different genes, alternative promoters, and splice variants. NRGs have generally been thought to be transported to axons and presynaptic terminals where they signal via ErbB3/4 receptors in paracrine or juxtacrine mode. However, we recently demonstrated that unprocessed pro-NRG2 accumulates on cell bodies and proximal dendrites, and that NMDAR activity is required for shedding of its ectodomain by metalloproteinases. Here we systematically investigated the subcellular distribution and processing of major NRG isoforms in rat hippocampal neurons. We show that NRG1 isotypes I and II, which like NRG2 are single-pass transmembrane proteins with an Ig-like domain, share the same subcellular distribution and ectodomain shedding properties. We furthermore show that NRG3, like CRD-NRG1, is a dual-pass transmembrane protein that harbors a second transmembrane domain near its amino terminus. Both NRG3 and CRD-NRG1 cluster on axons through juxtacrine interactions with ErbB4 present on GABAergic interneurons. Interestingly, although single-pass NRGs accumulate as unprocessed proforms, axonal puncta of CRD-NRG1 and NRG3 are comprised of processed protein. Mutations of CRD-NRG1 and NRG3 that render them resistant to BACE cleavage, as well as BACE inhibition, result in the loss of axonal puncta and in the accumulation of unprocessed proforms in neuronal soma. Together, these results define two groups of NRGs with distinct membrane topologies and fundamentally different targeting and processing properties in central neurons. The implications of this functional diversity for the regulation of neuronal processes by the NRG/ErbB pathway are discussed.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Numerous Neuregulins (NRGs) are generated through the use of different genes, promoters, and alternative splicing, but the functional significance of this evolutionary conserved diversity remains poorly understood. Here we show that NRGs can be categorized by their membrane topologies. Single-pass NRGs, such as NRG1 Types I/II and NRG2, accumulate as unprocessed proforms on cell bodies, and their ectodomains are shed by metalloproteinases in response to NMDA receptor activation. By contrast, dual-pass CRD-NRG1 and NRG3 are constitutively processed by BACE and accumulate on axons where they interact with ErbB4 in juxtacrine mode. These findings reveal a previously unknown functional relationship between membrane topology, protein processing, and subcellular distribution, and suggest that single- and dual-pass NRGs regulate neuronal functions in fundamentally different ways.
Project description:Myelin sheath thickness is precisely adjusted to axon caliber, and in the peripheral nervous system, neuregulin 1 (NRG1) type III is a key regulator of this process. It has been proposed that the protease BACE1 activates NRG1 dependent myelination. Here, we characterize the predicted product of BACE1-mediated NRG1 type III processing in transgenic mice. Neuronal overexpression of a NRG1 type III-variant, designed to mimic prior cleavage in the juxtamembrane stalk region, induces hypermyelination in vivo and is sufficient to restore myelination of NRG1 type III-deficient neurons. This observation implies that the NRG1 cytoplasmic domain is dispensable and that processed NRG1 type III is sufficient for all steps of myelination. Surprisingly, transgenic neuronal overexpression of full-length NRG1 type III promotes hypermyelination also in BACE1 null mutant mice. Moreover, NRG1 processing is impaired but not abolished in BACE1 null mutants. Thus, BACE1 is not essential for the activation of NRG1 type III to promote myelination. Taken together, these findings suggest that multiple neuronal proteases collectively regulate NRG1 processing.
Project description:Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) neuropathies are highly heterogeneous disorders caused by mutations in more than 70 genes, with no available treatment. Thus, it is difficult to envisage a single suitable treatment for all pathogenetic mechanisms. Axonal Neuregulin 1 (Nrg1) type III drives Schwann cell myelination and determines myelin thickness by ErbB2/B3-PI3K-Akt signaling pathway activation. Nrg1 type III is inhibited by the ?-secretase Tace, which negatively regulates PNS myelination. We hypothesized that modulation of Nrg1 levels and/or secretase activity may constitute a unifying treatment strategy for CMT neuropathies with focal hypermyelination as it could restore normal levels of myelination. Here we show that in vivo delivery of Niaspan, a FDA-approved drug known to enhance TACE activity, efficiently rescues myelination in the Mtmr2-/- mouse, a model of CMT4B1 with myelin outfoldings, and in the Pmp22+/- mouse, which reproduces HNPP (hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies) with tomacula. Importantly, we also found that Niaspan reduces hypermyelination of Vim (vimentin)-/- mice, characterized by increased Nrg1 type III and Akt activation, thus corroborating the hypothesis that Niaspan treatment downregulates Nrg1 type III signaling.
Project description:Integrin-growth factor receptor cross-talk plays a role in growth factor signaling, but the specifics are unclear. In a current model, integrins and growth factor receptors independently bind to their ligands (extracellular matrix and growth factors, respectively). We discovered that neuregulin-1 (NRG1), either as an isolated EGF-like domain or as a native multi-domain form, binds to integrins ?v?3 (with a K(D) of 1.36 × 10(-7) m) and ?6?4. Docking simulation predicted that three Lys residues at positions 180, 184, and 186 of the EGF-like domain are involved in integrin binding. Mutating these residues to Glu individually or in combination markedly suppressed integrin binding and ErbB3 phosphorylation. Mutating all three Lys residues to Glu (the 3KE mutation) did not affect the ability of NRG1 to bind to ErbB3 but markedly reduced the ability of NRG1 to induce ErbB3 phosphorylation and AKT and Erk1/2 activation in MCF-7 and T47D human breast cancer cells. This suggests that direct integrin binding to NRG1 is critical for NRG1/ErbB signaling. Notably, stimulation of cells with WT NRG1 induced co-precipitation of ErbB3 with ?6?4 and with ?v?3 to a much lower extent. This suggests that WT NRG1 induces integrin-NRG1-ErbB3 ternary complex formation. In contrast, the 3KE mutant was much less effective in inducing ternary complex formation than WT NRG1, suggesting that this process depends on the ability of NRG1 to bind to integrins. These results suggest that direct NRG1-integrin interaction mediates integrin-ErbB cross-talk and that ?6?4 plays a major role in NRG-ErbB signaling in these cancer cells.
Project description:A key component in the response of the nervous system to injury is the proliferation and switch to a "proinflammatory" phenotype by microglia (microgliosis). In situations where the blood-brain barrier is intact, microglial numbers increase via the proliferation and chemotaxis of resident microglia; however, there is limited knowledge regarding the factors mediating this response. After peripheral nerve injury, a dorsal horn microgliosis develops, which directly contributes to the development of neuropathic pain. Neuregulin-1 (NRG-1) is a growth and differentiation factor with a well characterized role in neural and cardiac development. Microglia express the NRG1 receptors erbB2, 3, and 4, and NRG1 signaling via the erbB2 receptor stimulated microglial proliferation, chemotaxis, and survival, as well as interleukin-1beta release in vitro. Intrathecal treatment with NRG1 resulted in microglial proliferation within the dorsal horn, and these cells developed an activated morphology. This microglial response was associated with the development of both mechanical and cold pain-related hypersensitivity. Primary afferents express NRG1, and after spinal nerve ligation (SNL) we observed both an increase in NRG1 within the dorsal horn as well as activation of erbB2 specifically within microglia. Blockade of the erbB2 receptor or sequestration of endogenous NRG after SNL reduced the proliferation, the number of microglia with an activated morphology, and the expression of phospho-P38 by microglia. Furthermore, consequent to such changes, the mechanical pain-related hypersensitivity and cold allodynia were reduced. NRG1-erbB signaling therefore represents a novel pathway regulating the injury response of microglia.
Project description:Neuregulin-1 (NRG1) and Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia-1 (DISC1) are promising susceptibility factors for schizophrenia. Both are multifunctional proteins with roles in a variety of neurodevelopmental processes, including progenitor cell proliferation, migration, and differentiation. Here, we provide evidence linking these factors together in a single pathway, which is mediated by ErbB receptors and PI3K/Akt. We show that signaling by NRG1 and NRG2, but not NRG3, increase expression of an isoform of DISC1 in vitro. Receptors ErbB2 and ErbB3, but not ErbB4, are responsible for transducing this effect, and PI3K/Akt signaling is also required. In NRG1 knockout mice, this DISC1 isoform is selectively reduced during neurodevelopment. Furthermore, a similar decrease in DISC1 expression is seen in beta-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme-1 (BACE1) knockout mice, in which NRG1/Akt signaling is reportedly impaired. In contrast to neuronal DISC1 that was reported and characterized, expression of DISC1 in other types of cells in the brain has not been addressed. Here we demonstrate that DISC1, like NRG and ErbB proteins, is expressed in neurons, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, microglia, and radial progenitors. These findings may connect NRG1, ErbBs, Akt, and DISC1 in a common pathway, which may regulate neurodevelopment and contribute to susceptibility to schizophrenia.
Project description:Recently, the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor (EGFR), a member of the ErbB receptor family, and its down-stream signalling have been identified as co-factors for HCV entry and replication. Since EGFR also functions as a heterodimer with other ErbB receptor family members, the subject of the present study was to investigate a possible viral interference with these cellular components. By using genotype 1b replicon cells as well as an infection-based system we found that while transcript and protein levels of EGFR and ErbB2 were up-regulated or unaffected, respectively, HCV induced a substantial reduction of ErbB3 and ErbB4 expression. Down-regulation of ErbB3 expression by HCV involves specificity protein (Sp)1-mediated induction of Neuregulin (NRG)1 expression as well as activation of Akt. Consistently, at transcript level disruption of ErbB3 expression by HCV can be prevented by knockdown of NRG1 or Sp1 expression, whereas reconstitution of ErbB3 protein levels requires inhibition of HCV-induced NRG1 expression and of Akt activity. Interestingly, the NRG1-mediated suppression of ErbB3 expression by HCV results in an enhanced expression of EGFR and ErbB2 on the cell surface, which can be mimicked by siRNA-mediated knockdown of ErbB3 expression. These data delineate a novel mechanism enabling HCV to sway the composition of the ErbB family members on the surface of its host cell by an NRG1-driven circuit and unravels a yet unknown cross-regulation between ErbB3 and the two other family members ErbB2 and EGFR. The shift of the receptor surface expression of the ErbB family towards enhanced expression of ErbB2 and EGFR triggered by HCV was found to promote viral RNA replication and infectivity. This suggests that HCV rearranges expression of ErbB family members to adapt the cellular environment to its requirements.