Ethanol-modulated camouflage response screen in zebrafish uncovers a novel role for cAMP and extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling in behavioral sensitivity to ethanol.
ABSTRACT: Ethanol, a widely abused substance, elicits evolutionarily conserved behavioral responses in a concentration-dependent manner in vivo. The molecular mechanisms underlying such behavioral sensitivity to ethanol are poorly understood. While locomotor-based behavioral genetic screening is successful in identifying genes in invertebrate models, such complex behavior-based screening has proven difficult for recovering genes in vertebrates. Here we report a novel and tractable ethanol response in zebrafish. Using this ethanol-modulated camouflage response as a screening assay, we have identified a zebrafish mutant named fantasma (fan), which displays reduced behavioral sensitivity to ethanol. Positional cloning reveals that fan encodes type 5 adenylyl cyclase (AC5). fan/ac5 is required to maintain the phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) in the forebrain structures, including the telencephalon and hypothalamus. Partial inhibition of phosphorylation of ERK in wild-type zebrafish mimics the reduction in sensitivity to stimulatory effects of ethanol observed in the fan mutant, whereas, strikingly, strong inhibition of phosphorylation of ERK renders a stimulatory dose of ethanol sedating. Since previous studies in Drosophila and mice show a role of cAMP signaling in suppressing behavioral sensitivity to ethanol, our findings reveal a novel, isoform-specific role of AC signaling in promoting ethanol sensitivity, and suggest that the phosphorylation level of the downstream effector ERK is a critical "gatekeeper" of behavioral sensitivity to ethanol.
Project description:The dopamine precursor L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) is widely used as a therapeutic choice for the treatment of patients with Parkinson's disease. However, the long-term use of L-DOPA leads to the development of debilitating involuntary movements, called L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia (LID). The cAMP/protein kinase A (PKA) signaling in the striatum is known to play a role in LID. However, from among the nine known adenylyl cyclases (ACs) present in the striatum, the AC that mediates LID remains unknown. To address this issue, we prepared an animal model with unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine lesions in the substantia nigra in wild-type and AC5-knock-out (KO) mice, and examined behavioral responses to short-term or long-term treatment with L-DOPA. Compared with the behavioral responses of wild-type mice, LID was profoundly reduced in AC5-KO mice. The behavioral protection of long-term treatment with L-DOPA in AC5-KO mice was preceded by a decrease in the phosphorylation levels of PKA substrates ERK (extracellular signal-regulated kinase) 1/2, MSK1 (mitogen- and stress-activated protein kinase 1), and histone H3, levels of which were all increased in the lesioned striatum of wild-type mice. Consistently, FosB/?FosB expression, which was induced by long-term L-DOPA treatment in the lesioned striatum, was also decreased in AC5-KO mice. Moreover, suppression of AC5 in the dorsal striatum with lentivirus-shRNA-AC5 was sufficient to attenuate LID, suggesting that the AC5-regulated signaling cascade in the striatum mediates LID. These results identify the AC5/cAMP system in the dorsal striatum as a therapeutic target for the treatment of LID in patients with Parkinson's disease.
Project description:BACKGROUND: In humans, ethanol exposure during pregnancy causes a spectrum of developmental defects (fetal alcohol syndrome or FAS). Individuals vary in phenotypic expression. Zebrafish embryos develop FAS-like features after ethanol exposure. In this study, we ask whether stage-specific effects of ethanol can be identified in the zebrafish, and if so, whether they allow the pinpointing of sensitive developmental mechanisms. We have therefore conducted the first large-scale (>1500 embryos) analysis of acute, stage-specific drug effects on zebrafish development, with a large panel of readouts. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Zebrafish embryos were raised in 96-well plates. Range-finding indicated that 10% ethanol for 1 h was suitable for an acute exposure regime. High-resolution magic-angle spinning proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy showed that this produced a transient pulse of 0.86% concentration of ethanol in the embryo within the chorion. Survivors at 5 days postfertilisation were analysed. Phenotypes ranged from normal (resilient) to severely malformed. Ethanol exposure at early stages caused high mortality (?88%). At later stages of exposure, mortality declined and malformations developed. Pharyngeal arch hypoplasia and behavioral impairment were most common after prim-6 and prim-16 exposure. By contrast, microphthalmia and growth retardation were stage-independent. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings show that some ethanol effects are strongly stage-dependent. The phenotypes mimic key aspects of FAS including craniofacial abnormality, microphthalmia, growth retardation and behavioral impairment. We also identify a critical time window (prim-6 and prim-16) for ethanol sensitivity. Finally, our identification of a wide phenotypic spectrum is reminiscent of human FAS, and may provide a useful model for studying disease resilience.
Project description:Modulation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK-1/2), a signaling pathway directly associated with cell proliferation, survival, and homeostasis, has been implicated in several pathologies, including alcoholic liver disease. However, the underlying mechanism of ethanol-induced ERK-1/2 modulation remains unknown. This investigation explored the effects of ethanol-associated oxidative stress on constitutive hepatic ERK-1/2 activity and assessed the contribution of the lipid peroxidation product 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) to the observations made in vivo. Constitutive ERK-1/2 phosphorylation was suppressed in hepatocytes isolated from rats chronically consuming ethanol for 45 days. This observation was associated with an increase in 4-HNE-ERK monomer adduct concentration and a hepatic cellular and lobular redistribution of ERK-1/2 that correlated with 4-HNE-protein adduct accumulation. Chronic ethanol consumption was also associated with a decrease in hepatocyte nuclear ELK-1 phosphorylation, independent of changes in total nuclear ELK-1 protein. Primary hepatocytes treated with concentrations of 4-HNE consistent with those occurring during oxidative stress displayed a concentration-dependent decrease in constitutive ERK-1/2 phosphorylation, activity, and nuclear localization that negatively correlated with 4-HNE-ERK-1/2 monomer adduct accumulation. These data paralleled the decreased phosphorylation of the downstream kinase ELK-1. Molar ratios of purified ERK-2 to 4-HNE consistent with pathologic ratios found in vivo resulted in protein monomer-adduct formation across a range of concentrations. Collectively, these data demonstrate a novel association between ethanol-induced lipid peroxidation and the inhibition of constitutive ERK-1/2, and suggest an inhibitory mechanism mediated by the lipid peroxidation product 4-hydroxynonenal.
Project description:The mechanisms of ethanol actions that produce its behavioral sequelae involve the synthesis of potent GABAergic neuroactive steroids, specifically the GABAergic metabolites of progesterone, (3alpha,5alpha)-3-hydroxypregnan-20-one (3alpha,5alpha-THP), and deoxycorticosterone, (3alpha,5alpha)-3,21-dihydroxypregnan-20-one. We investigated the mechanisms that underlie the effect of ethanol on adrenal steroidogenesis. We found that ethanol effects on plasma pregnenolone, progesterone, 3alpha,5alpha-THP and cortical 3alpha,5alpha-THP are highly correlated, exhibit a threshold of 1.5 g/kg, but show no dose dependence. Ethanol increases plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), adrenal steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR), and adrenal StAR phosphorylation, but does not alter levels of other adrenal cholesterol transporters. The inhibition of ACTH release, de novo adrenal StAR synthesis or cytochrome P450 side chain cleavage activity prevents ethanol-induced increases in GABAergic steroids in plasma and brain. ACTH release and de novo StAR synthesis are independently regulated following ethanol administration and both are necessary, but not sufficient, for ethanol-induced elevation of plasma and brain neuroactive steroids. As GABAergic steroids contribute to ethanol actions and ethanol sensitivity, the mechanisms of this effect of ethanol may be important factors that contribute to the behavioral actions of ethanol and risk for alcohol abuse disorders.
Project description:The zebrafish camouflage response is an innate "hard-wired" behavior that offers an excellent opportunity to explore neural circuit assembly and function. Moreover, the camouflage response is sensitive to ethanol, making it a tractable system for understanding how ethanol influences neural circuit development and function. Here we report the identification of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) as a critical component of the camouflage response pathway. We further show that ethanol, having no direct effect on the visual sensory system or the melanocytes, acts downstream of retinal ganglion cells and requires the CRF-proopiomelanocortin pathway to exert its effect on camouflage. Treatment with ethanol, as well as alteration of light exposure that changes sensory input into the camouflage circuit, robustly modifies CRF expression in subsets of neurons. Activity of both adenylyl cyclase 5 and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) is required for such ethanol-induced or light-induced plasticity of crf expression. These results reveal an essential role of a peptidergic pathway in camouflage that is regulated by light and influenced by ethanol at concentrations relevant to abuse and anxiolysis, in a cAMP-dependent and ERK-dependent manner. We conclude that this ethanol-modulated camouflage response represents a novel and relevant system for molecular genetic dissection of a neural circuit that is regulated by light and sensitive to ethanol.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Increased ethanol intake, a major predictor for the development of alcohol use disorders, is facilitated by the development of tolerance to both the aversive and pleasurable effects of the drug. The molecular mechanisms underlying ethanol tolerance development are complex and are not yet well understood. METHODS:To identify genetic mechanisms that contribute to ethanol tolerance, we examined the time course of gene expression changes elicited by a single sedating dose of ethanol in Drosophila, and completed a behavioral survey of strains harboring mutations in ethanol-regulated genes. RESULTS:Enrichment for genes in metabolism, nucleic acid binding, olfaction, regulation of signal transduction, and stress suggests that these biological processes are coordinately affected by ethanol exposure. We also detected a coordinate up-regulation of genes in the Toll and Imd innate immunity signal transduction pathways. A multi-study comparison revealed a small set of genes showing similar regulation, including increased expression of 3 genes for serine biosynthesis. A survey of Drosophila strains harboring mutations in ethanol-regulated genes for ethanol sensitivity and tolerance phenotypes revealed roles for serine biosynthesis, olfaction, transcriptional regulation, immunity, and metabolism. Flies harboring deletions of the genes encoding the olfactory co-receptor Or83b or the sirtuin Sir2 showed marked changes in the development of ethanol tolerance. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings implicate novel roles for these genes in regulating ethanol behavioral responses.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Alcohol use disorder is a serious illness marked by uncontrollable drinking and a negative withdrawal state when not using. Alcohol is one of the most commonly used drugs among adolescent populations. Given that adolescence is a unique developmental stage during which alcohol has long-term effects on future drug-taking behavior; it is essential to understand how early exposure to ethanol during adolescence may affect the abuse liability of the drug later in life. Our studies focused on characterizing how exposure to alcohol in adolescence alters later adult alcohol dependence behaviors, by using well-established mouse models of ethanol drinking. We hypothesized that early exposure to ethanol leads to increased ethanol intake in adults and other behavioral phenotypes that may lead to dependence. METHODS:We investigated the impact of ethanol drinking in early adolescent C57BL/6J mice using a modified Drinking in the Dark (DID) model. RESULTS:Our results showed that exposure to ethanol during adolescence enhanced ethanol intake in adulthood in the DID, and the 2-bottle choice drinking paradigms. In contrast, adult exposure of alcohol did not enhance later alcohol intake. We also conducted tests for ethanol behavioral sensitivity such as loss of righting reflex and anxiety-related behaviors to further elucidate the relationship between adolescent ethanol exposure and enhanced ethanol intake in adult mice. CONCLUSIONS:Overall, our results suggest that adolescence is a critical period of sensitivity and binge drinking that can lead to lasting changes in ethanol intake in adulthood. Further research will be required in order to more fully examine the neurochemical mechanisms underlying the lasting changes in adulthood.
Project description:Studies in humans and animal models document that acute behavioral responses to ethanol are predisposing factor for the risk of long-term drinking behavior. Prior microarray data from our laboratory document strain- and brain region-specific variation in gene expression profile responses to acute ethanol that may be underlying regulators of ethanol behavioral phenotypes. The non-receptor tyrosine kinase Fyn has previously been mechanistically implicated in the sedative-hypnotic response to acute ethanol. To further understand how Fyn may modulate ethanol behaviors, we used whole-genome expression profiling. We characterized basal and acute ethanol-evoked (3 g/kg) gene expression patterns in nucleus accumbens (NAC), prefrontal cortex (PFC), and ventral midbrain (VMB) of control and Fyn knockout mice. Bioinformatics analysis identified a set of Fyn-related gene networks differently regulated by acute ethanol across the three brain regions. In particular, our analysis suggested a coordinate basal decrease in myelin-associated gene expression within NAC and PFC as an underlying factor in sensitivity of Fyn null animals to ethanol sedation. An in silico analysis across the BXD recombinant inbred (RI) strains of mice identified a significant correlation between Fyn expression and a previously published ethanol loss-of-righting-reflex (LORR) phenotype. By combining PFC gene expression correlates to Fyn and LORR across multiple genomic datasets, we identified robust Fyn-centric gene networks related to LORR. Our results thus suggest that multiple system-wide changes exist within specific brain regions of Fyn knockout mice, and that distinct Fyn-dependent expression networks within PFC may be important determinates of the LORR due to acute ethanol. These results add to the interpretation of acute ethanol behavioral sensitivity in Fyn kinase null animals, and identify Fyn-centric gene networks influencing variance in ethanol LORR. Such networks may also inform future design of pharmacotherapies for the treatment and prevention of alcohol use disorders.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Previous work from our laboratory demonstrated a role for the Drosophila Lim-only (dLmo) gene in regulating behavioral responses to cocaine. Herein, we examined whether dLmo influences the flies' sensitivity to ethanol's sedating effects. We also investigated whether 1 of the mammalian homologs of dLmo, Lmo3, is involved in behavioral responses to ethanol in mice. METHODS:To examine dLmo function in ethanol-induced sedation, mutant flies with reduced or increased dLmo expression were tested using the loss of righting (LOR) assay. To determine whether mouse Lmo3 regulates behavioral responses to ethanol, we generated transgenic mice expressing a short-hairpin RNA targeting Lmo3 for RNA interference-mediated knockdown by lentiviral infection of single cell embryos. Adult founder mice, expressing varying amounts of Lmo3 in the brain, were tested using ethanol loss-of-righting-reflex (LORR) and 2-bottle choice ethanol consumption assays. RESULTS:We found that in flies, reduced dLmo activity increased sensitivity to ethanol-induced sedation, whereas increased expression of dLmo led to increased resistance to ethanol-induced sedation. In mice, reduced levels of Lmo3 were correlated with increased sedation time in the LORR test and decreased ethanol consumption in the 2-bottle choice protocol. CONCLUSIONS:These data describe a novel and conserved role for Lmo genes in flies and mice in behavioral responses to ethanol. These studies also demonstrate the feasibility of rapidly translating findings from invertebrate systems to mammalian models of alcohol abuse by combining RNA interference in transgenic mice and behavioral testing.
Project description:Genes encoding the ?1/2 subunits of GABAA receptors have been associated with alcohol (ethanol) dependence in humans, and ?1 was also shown to regulate some of the behavioral effects of ethanol in animal models. Ethanol inhibits GABA-mediated responses in wild-type (WT) ?1, but not ?1(T6'Y) mutant receptors expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes, indicating the presence of an inhibitory site for ethanol in the second transmembrane helix. In this study, we found that ?1(T6'Y) receptors expressed in oocytes display overall normal responses to GABA, the endogenous GABA modulator (zinc), and partial agonists (?-alanine and taurine). We generated ?1 (T6'Y) knockin (KI) mice using CRISPR/Cas9 to test the behavioral importance of the inhibitory actions of ethanol on this receptor. Both ?1 KI and knockout (KO) mice showed faster recovery from acute ethanol-induced motor incoordination compared to WT mice. Both KI and KO mutant strains also showed increased tolerance to motor impairment produced by ethanol. The KI mice did not differ from WT mice in other behavioral actions, including ethanol intake and preference, conditioned taste aversion to ethanol, and duration of ethanol-induced loss of righting reflex. WT and KI mice did not differ in levels of ?1 or ?2 mRNA in cerebellum or in ethanol clearance. Our findings indicate that the inhibitory site for ethanol in GABAA ?1 receptors regulates acute functional tolerance to moderate ethanol intoxication. We note that low sensitivity to alcohol intoxication has been linked to risk for development of alcohol dependence in humans.