Tuba1a gene expression is regulated by KLF6/7 and is necessary for CNS development and regeneration in zebrafish.
ABSTRACT: We report that knockdown of the alpha1 tubulin isoform Tuba1a, but not the highly related Tuba1b, dramatically impedes nervous system formation during development and RGC axon regeneration following optic nerve injury in adults. Within the tuba1a promoter, a G/C-rich element was identified that is necessary for tuba1a induction during RGC differentiation and optic axon regeneration. KLF6a and 7a, which we previously reported are essential for optic axon regeneration (Veldman et al., 2007), bind this G/C-rich element and transactivate the tuba1a promoter. In vivo knockdown of KLF6a and 7a attenuate regeneration-dependent activation of the endogenous tuba1a and p27 genes. These results suggest tuba1a expression is necessary for CNS development and regeneration and that KLF6a and 7a mediate their effects, at least in part, via transcriptional control of tuba1a promoter activity.
Project description:Injured retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons do not regenerate spontaneously, causing loss of vision in glaucoma and after trauma. Recent studies have identified several strategies that induce long distance regeneration in the optic nerve. Thus, a pressing question now is whether regenerating RGC axons can find their appropriate targets. Traditional methods of assessing RGC axon regeneration use histological sectioning. However, tissue sections provide fragmentary information about axonal trajectory and termination. To unequivocally evaluate regenerating RGC axons, here we apply tissue clearance and light sheet fluorescence microscopy (LSFM) to image whole optic nerve and brain without physical sectioning. In mice with PTEN/SOCS3 deletion, a condition known to promote robust regeneration, axon growth followed tortuous paths through the optic nerve, with many axons reversing course and extending towards the eye. Such aberrant growth was prevalent in the proximal region of the optic nerve where strong astroglial activation is present. In the optic chiasms of PTEN/SOCS3 deletion mice and PTEN deletion/Zymosan/cAMP mice, many axons project to the opposite optic nerve or to the ipsilateral optic tract. Following bilateral optic nerve crush, similar divergent trajectory is seen at the optic chiasm compared to unilateral crush. Centrally, axonal projection is limited predominantly to the hypothalamus. Together, we demonstrate the applicability of LSFM for comprehensive assessment of optic nerve regeneration, providing in-depth analysis of the axonal trajectory and pathfinding. Our study indicates significant axon misguidance in the optic nerve and brain, and underscores the need for investigation of axon guidance mechanisms during optic nerve regeneration in adults.
Project description:Irreversible blindness from glaucoma and optic neuropathies is attributed to retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) losing the ability to regenerate axons. While several transcription factors and proteins have demonstrated enhancement of axon regeneration after optic nerve injury, mechanisms contributing to the age-related decline in axon regenerative capacity remain elusive. In this study, we show that microRNAs are differentially expressed during RGC development and identify microRNA-19a (miR-19a) as a heterochronic marker; developmental decline of miR-19a relieves suppression of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), a key regulator of axon regeneration, and serves as a temporal indicator of decreasing axon regenerative capacity. Intravitreal injection of miR-19a promotes axon regeneration after optic nerve crush in adult mice, and it increases axon extension in RGCs isolated from aged human donors. This study uncovers a previously unrecognized involvement of the miR-19a-PTEN axis in RGC axon regeneration, and it demonstrates therapeutic potential of microRNA-mediated restoration of axon regenerative capacity in optic neuropathies.
Project description:The tuba1a gene encodes a neural-specific ?-tubulin isoform whose expression is restricted to the developing and regenerating nervous system. By using zebrafish as a model system for studying CNS regeneration, we recently showed that retinal injury induces tuba1a gene expression in Müller glia that reentered the cell cycle. However, because of the transient nature of tuba1a gene expression during development and regeneration, it was not possible to trace the lineage of the tuba1a-expressing cells with a reporter directly under the control of the tuba1a promoter. To overcome this limitation, we generated tuba1a:CreER(T2) and ?-actin2:loxP-mCherrry-loxP-GFP double transgenic fish that allowed us to label tuba1a-expressing cells conditionally and permanently via ligand-induced recombination. During development, recombination revealed transient tuba1a expression in not only neural progenitors but also cells that contribute to skeletal muscle, heart, and intestine. In the adult, recombination revealed tuba1a expression in brain, olfactory neurons, and sensory cells of the lateral line, but not in the retina. After retinal injury, recombination showed tuba1a expression in Müller glia that had reentered the cell cycle, and lineage tracing indicated that these cells are responsible for regenerating retinal neurons and glia. These results suggest that tuba1a-expressing progenitors contribute to multiple cell lineages during development and that tuba1a-expressing Müller glia are retinal progenitors in the adult.
Project description:Purpose:Enhanced regeneration of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons can be achieved by modification of numerous neuronal-intrinsic factors. However, axon growth initiation and the pathfinding behavior of these axons after traumatic injury remain poorly understood outside of acute injury paradigms, despite the clinical relevance of more chronic settings. We therefore examined RGC axon regeneration following therapeutic delivery that is postponed until 2 months after optic nerve crush injury. Methods:Optic nerve regeneration was induced by virally mediated (adeno-associated virus) ciliary neurotrophic factor (AAV-CNTF) administered either immediately or 56 days after optic nerve crush in wild-type or Bax knockout (KO) mice. Retinal ganglion nerve axon regeneration was assessed 21 and 56 days after viral injection. Immunohistochemical analysis of RGC injury signals and extrinsic factors in the optic nerve were also examined at 5 and 56 days post crush. Results:In addition to sustained expression of injury response proteins in surviving RGCs, we observe axon regrowth in wild-type and apoptosis-deficient Bax KO mice following AAV-CNTF treatment. Fewer instances of aberrant axon growth are seen, at least in the area near the lesion site, in animals given treatment 56 days after crush injury compared to the animals given treatment immediately after injury. We also find evidence of long distance growth into a visual target in Bax KO mice despite postponed initiation of this regenerative program. Conclusions:These studies provide evidence against an intrinsic critical period for RGC axon regeneration or degradation of injury signals. Regeneration results from Bax KO mice imply highly sustained regenerative capacity in RGCs, highlighting the importance of long-lasting neuroprotective strategies as well as of RGC axon guidance research in chronically injured animals.
Project description:Activation of axonal growth program is a critical step in successful optic nerve regeneration following injury. Yet the molecular mechanisms that orchestrate this developmental transition are not fully understood. Here we identified a novel regulator, insulin-like growth factor binding protein-like 1 (IGFBPL1), for the growth of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons. Expression of IGFBPL1 correlates with RGC axon growth in development, and acute knockdown of IGFBPL1 with shRNA or IGFBPL1 knockout in vivo impaired RGC axon growth. In contrast, administration of IGFBPL1 promoted axon growth. Moreover, IGFBPL1 bound to insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and subsequently induced calcium signaling and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) phosphorylation to stimulate axon elongation. Blockage of IGF-1 signaling abolished IGFBPL1-mediated axon growth, and vice versa, IGF-1 required the presence of IGFBPL1 to promote RGC axon growth. These data reveal a novel element in the control of RGC axon growth and suggest an unknown signaling loop in the regulation of the pleiotropic functions of IGF-1. They suggest new therapeutic target for promoting optic nerve and axon regeneration and repair of the central nervous system.
Project description:RNA-binding proteins Lin28a/b regulate cellular growth and tissue regeneration. Here, we investigated the role of Lin28 in the control of axon regeneration in postmitotic neurons. We find that Lin28a/b are both necessary and sufficient for supporting axon regeneration in mature sensory neurons through their regulatory partners, let-7 microRNAs (miRNAs). More importantly, overexpression of Lin28a in mature retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) produces robust and sustained optic nerve regeneration. Additionally, combined overexpression of Lin28a and downregulation of Pten in RGCs act additively to promote optic nerve regeneration, potentially by reducing the backward turning of regenerating RGC axons. Our findings not only reveal a vital role of Lin28 signaling in regulating mammalian axon regeneration but also identify a signaling pathway that can promote axon regeneration in the central nervous system (CNS).
Project description:Microtubules are dynamic cytoskeletal polymers that mediate numerous, essential functions such as axon and dendrite growth and neuron migration throughout brain development. In recent years, sequencing has revealed dominant mutations that disrupt the tubulin protein building blocks of microtubules. These tubulin mutations lead to a spectrum of devastating brain malformations, complex neurological and physical phenotypes, and even fatality. The most common tubulin gene mutated is the ?-tubulin gene TUBA1A, which is the most prevalent ?-tubulin gene expressed in post-mitotic neurons. The normal role of TUBA1A during neuronal maturation, and how mutations alter its function to produce the phenotypes observed in patients, remains unclear. This review synthesizes current knowledge of TUBA1A function and expression during brain development, and the brain malformations caused by mutations in TUBA1A.
Project description:Purpose:To investigate the possible role of activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3) in retinal ganglion cell (RGC) neuroprotection and optic nerve regeneration after optic nerve crush (ONC). Methods:Overexpression of proteins of interest (ATF3, phosphatase and tensin homolog [PTEN], placental alkaline phosphatase, green fluorescent protein) in the retina was achieved by intravitreal injections of recombinant adenovirus-associated viruses (rAAVs) expressing corresponding proteins. The number of RGCs and ?RGCs was evaluated by immunostaining retinal sections and whole-mount retinas with antibodies against RNA binding protein with multiple splicing (RBPMS) and osteopontin, respectively. Axonal regeneration was assessed via fluorophore-coupled cholera toxin subunit B labeling. RGC function was evaluated by recording positive scotopic threshold response. Results:The level of ATF3 is preferentially elevated in osteopontin+/RBPMS+ ?RGCs following ONC. Overexpression of ATF3 by intravitreal injection of rAAV 2 weeks before ONC promoted RBPMS+ RGC survival and preserved RGC function as assessed by positive scotopic threshold response recordings 2 weeks after ONC. However, overexpression of ATF3 and simultaneous downregulation of PTEN, a negative regulator of the mTOR pathway, combined with ONC, only moderately promoted short distance RGC axon regeneration (200 ?m from the lesion site) but did not provide additional RGC neuroprotection compared with PTEN downregulation alone. Conclusions:These results reveal a neuroprotective effect of ATF3 in the retina following injury and identify ATF3 as a promising agent for potential treatments of optic neuropathies.
Project description:Purpose:Adult central nervous system (CNS) neurons are unable to regenerate their axons after injury. Krüppel-like transcription factor (KLF) family members regulate intrinsic axon growth ability in vitro and in vivo, but mechanisms downstream of these transcription factors are not known. Methods:Purified retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) were transduced to express exogenous KLF9, KLF16, KLF7, or KLF11; microarray analysis was used to identify downstream genes, which were screened for effects on axon growth. Dual-specificity phosphatase 14 (Dusp14) was further studied using genetic (siRNA, shRNA) and pharmacologic (PTP inhibitor IV) manipulation to assess effects on neurite length in vitro and survival and regeneration in vivo after optic nerve crush in rats and mice. Results:By screening genes regulated by KLFs in RGCs, we identified Dusp14 as a critical gene target limiting axon growth and regeneration downstream of KLF9's ability to suppress axon growth in RGCs. The KLF9-Dusp14 pathway inhibited activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases normally critical to neurotrophic signaling of RGC survival and axon elongation. Decreasing Dusp14 expression or disrupting its function in RGCs increased axon growth in vitro and promoted survival and optic nerve regeneration after optic nerve injury in vivo. Conclusions:These results link intrinsic and extrinsic regulators of axon growth and suggest modulation of the KLF9-Dusp14 pathway as a potential approach to improve regeneration in the adult CNS after injury.
Project description:Despite robust effects on immature neurons, growth factors minimally promote axon regeneration in the adult central nervous system (CNS). Attempting to improve growth-factor responsiveness in mature neurons by dedifferentiation, we overexpressed Lin28 in the retina. Lin28-treated retinas responded to insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF1) by initiating retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axon regeneration after axotomy. Surprisingly, this effect was cell non-autonomous. Lin28 expression was required only in amacrine cells, inhibitory neurons that innervate RGCs. Ultimately, we found that optic-nerve crush pathologically upregulated activity in amacrine cells, which reduced RGC electrical activity and suppressed growth-factor signaling. Silencing amacrine cells or pharmacologically blocking inhibitory neurotransmission also induced IGF1 competence. Remarkably, RGCs regenerating across these manipulations localized IGF1 receptor to their primary cilia, which maintained their signaling competence and regenerative ability. Thus, our results reveal a circuit-based mechanism that regulates CNS axon regeneration and implicate primary cilia as a regenerative signaling hub.