Kappa opioid receptor contributes to EGF-stimulated neurite extension in development.
ABSTRACT: Epidermal growth factor (EGF), a mitogen, also stimulates neurite extension during development, but the underlying mechanism is elusive. This study reveals a functional role for kappa opioid receptor (KOR) in EGF-stimulated neurite extension, and the underlying mechanism. EGF and activated EGF receptor (EGFR) levels are elevated in embryonic spinal cords during late gestation stages, with concurrent rise in protein levels of KOR and axon extension markers, growth-associated protein 43 (GAP43), and transient axonal glycoprotein-1 (TAG-1). Both GAP43 and TAG-1 levels are significantly lower in KOR-null (KOR(-/-)) spinal cords, and EGFR inhibitors effectively reduce the levels of KOR, GAP43, and TAG-1 in wild-type embryonic spinal cords. For KOR(-/-) or KOR-knockdown dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons, EGF can no longer effectively stimulate axon extension, which can be rescued by introducing a constitutive KOR expressing vector but not by a regulated KOR vector carrying its 5' untranslated region, which can be bound and repressed by growth factor receptor-bound protein 7 (Grb7). Furthermore, blocking KOR activation by application of anti-dynorphin, KOR antagonist, or EGFR inhibitor effectively reduces axon extension of DRG neurons. Thus, EGF-stimulated axon extension during development is mediated, at least partially, by specific elevation of KOR protein production at posttranscriptional level, as well as activation of KOR signaling. The result also reveals an action of EGF to augment posttranscriptional regulation of certain mRNAs during developmental stages.
Project description:HuD protein (also known as ELAVL4) has been shown to stabilize mRNAs with AU-rich elements (ARE) in their 3' untranslated regions (UTRs), including Gap43, which has been linked to axon growth. HuD also binds to neuritin (Nrn1) mRNA, whose 3'UTR contains ARE sequences. Although the Nrn1 3'UTR has been shown to mediate its axonal localization in embryonic hippocampal neurons, it is not active in adult dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. Here, we asked why the 3'UTR is not sufficient to mediate the axonal localization of Nrn1 mRNA in DRG neurons. HuD overexpression increases the ability of the Nrn1 3'UTR to mediate axonal localizing in DRG neurons. HuD binds directly to the Nrn1 ARE with about a two-fold higher affinity than to the Gap43 ARE. Although the Nrn1 ARE can displace the Gap43 ARE from HuD binding, HuD binds to the full 3'UTR of Gap43 with higher affinity, such that higher levels of Nrn1 are needed to displace the Gap43 3'UTR. The Nrn1 3'UTR can mediate a higher level of axonal localization when endogenous Gap43 is depleted from DRG neurons. Taken together, our data indicate that endogenous Nrn1 and Gap43 mRNAs compete for binding to HuD for their axonal localization and activity of the Nrn1 3'UTR.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Polyvinylidene fluoride-trifluoroethylene (PVDF-TrFE), which is a piezoelectric, biocompatible polymer, holds promise as a scaffold in combination with Schwann cells (SCs) for spinal cord repair. Piezoelectric materials can generate electrical activity in response to mechanical deformation, which could potentially stimulate spinal cord axon regeneration. Our goal in this study was to investigate PVDF-TrFE scaffolds consisting of aligned fibers in supporting SC growth and SC-supported neurite extension and myelination in vitro. APPROACH:Aligned fibers of PVDF-TrFE were fabricated using the electrospinning technique. SCs and dorsal root ganglion (DRG) explants were co-cultured to evaluate SC-supported neurite extension and myelination on PVDF-TrFE scaffolds. MAIN RESULTS:PVDF-TrFE scaffolds supported SC growth and neurite extension, which was further enhanced by coating the scaffolds with Matrigel. SCs were oriented and neurites extended along the length of the aligned fibers. SCs in co-culture with DRGs on PVDF-TrFE scaffolds promoted longer neurite extension as compared to scaffolds without SCs. In addition to promoting neurite extension, SCs also formed myelin around DRG neurites on PVDF-TrFE scaffolds. SIGNIFICANCE:This study demonstrated PVDF-TrFE scaffolds containing aligned fibers supported SC-neurite extension and myelination. The combination of SCs and PVDF-TrFE scaffolds may be a promising tissue engineering strategy for spinal cord repair.
Project description:Activated macrophages can promote regeneration of CNS axons. However, macrophages also release factors that kill neurons. These opposing functions are likely induced simultaneously but are rarely considered together in the same experimental preparation. A goal of this study was to unequivocally document the concurrent neurotoxic and neuroregenerative potential of activated macrophages. To do so, we quantified the length and magnitude of axon growth from enhanced green fluorescent protein-expressing dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons transplanted into the spinal cord in relationship to discrete foci of activated macrophages. Macrophages were activated via intraspinal injections of zymosan, a potent inflammatory stimulus known to increase axon growth and cause neurotoxicity. Using this approach, a significant increase in axon growth up to macrophage foci was evident. Within and adjacent to macrophages, DRG and spinal cord axons were destroyed. Macrophage toxicity became more evident when zymosan was injected closer to DRG soma. Under these conditions, DRG neurons were killed or their ability to extend axons was dramatically impaired. The concurrent induction of pro-regenerative and neurotoxic functions in zymosan-activated macrophages (ZAMs) was confirmed in vitro using DRG and cortical neurons. Importantly, the ability of ZAMs to stimulate axon growth was transient; prolonged exposure to factors produced by ZAMs enhanced cell death and impaired axon growth in surviving neurons. Lipopolysaccharide, another potent macrophage activator, elicited a florid macrophage response, but without enhancing axon growth or notable toxicity. Together, these data show that a single mode of activation endows macrophages with the ability to simultaneously promote axon regeneration and cell killing.
Project description:<h4>Background and purpose</h4>Cannabinoid CB? receptor activation by selective agonists has been shown to produce analgesic effects in preclinical models of inflammatory and neuropathic pain. However, mechanisms underlying CB?-mediated analgesic effects remain largely unknown. The present study was conducted to elucidate the CB? receptor expression in 'pain relevant' tissues and the potential sites of action of CB? agonism in rats.<h4>Experimental approach</h4>Expression of cannabinoid receptor mRNA was evaluated by quantitative RT-PCR in dorsal root ganglia (DRGs), spinal cords, paws and several brain regions of sham, chronic inflammatory pain (CFA) and neuropathic pain (spinal nerve ligation, SNL) rats. The sites of CB? mediated antinociception were evaluated in vivo following intra-DRG, intrathecal (i.t.) or intraplantar (i.paw) administration of potent CB?-selective agonists A-836339 and AM1241.<h4>Key results</h4>CB? receptor gene expression was significantly up-regulated in DRGs (SNL and CFA), spinal cords (SNL) or paws (CFA) ipsilateral to injury under inflammatory and neuropathic pain conditions. Systemic A-836339 and AM1241 produced dose-dependent efficacy in both inflammatory and neuropathic pain models. Local administration of CB? agonists also produced significant analgesic effects in SNL (intra-DRG and i.t.) and CFA (intra-DRG) pain models. In contrast to A-836339, i.paw administration of AM-1241 dose-relatedly reversed the CFA-induced thermal hyperalgesia, suggesting that different mechanisms may be contributing to its in vivo properties.<h4>Conclusions and implications</h4>These results demonstrate that both DRG and spinal cord are important sites contributing to CB? receptor-mediated analgesia and that the changes in CB? receptor expression play a crucial role for the sites of action in regulating pain perception.
Project description:Regeneration following spinal root avulsion is broadly unsuccessful despite the regenerative capacity of other PNS-located nerves. By combining focal laser lesioning to model root avulsion in zebrafish, time-lapse imaging, and transgenesis, we identify that regenerating DRG neurons fail to recapitulate developmental paradigms of actin-based invasion after injury. We demonstrate that inducing actin reorganization into invasive components via pharmacological and genetic approaches in the regenerating axon can rescue sensory axon spinal cord entry. Cell-autonomous induction of invasion components using constitutively active Src induces DRG axon regeneration, suggesting an intrinsic mechanism can be activated to drive regeneration. Furthermore, analyses of neuronal activity and animal behavior show restoration of sensory circuit activity and behavior upon stimulating axons to re-enter the spinal cord via invasion. Altogether, our data identify induction of invasive components as sufficient for functional sensory root regeneration after injury.
Project description:Developing axons can locally synthesize proteins, with roles in axon growth, guidance, and regeneration, but the mechanisms that regulate axonal mRNA translation are not well understood. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are important regulators of translation but have still been little characterized in developing axons. Here we study mouse dorsal root ganglion (DRG) axons and show that their extension is impaired by conditional deficiency of the miRNA-processing enzyme Dicer in vitro and in vivo. A screen for axonal localization identifies a specific set of miRNAs preferentially enriched within the developing axon. High axonal expression and preferential localization were observed for miR-132, a miRNA previously known for roles in dendrites and dysregulation in major neurologic diseases. miR-132 knockdown reduced extension of cultured DRG axons, whereas overexpression increased extension. Mechanistically, miR-132 regulated the mRNA for the Ras GTPase activator Rasa1, a novel target in neuronal function. Moreover, miR-132 regulation of Rasa1 translation was seen in severed axons, demonstrating miRNA function locally within the axon. miR-132 expression in DRGs peaked in the period of maximum axon growth in vivo, consistent with its effect on axon growth, and suggesting a role as a developmental timer. Together, these findings identify miR-132 as a positive regulator of developing axon extension, acting through repression of Rasa1 mRNA, in a mechanism that operates locally within the axon.
Project description:RNA localization is a regulatory mechanism that is conserved from bacteria to mammals. Yet, little is known about the mechanism and the logic that govern the distribution of RNA transcripts within the cell. Here we present a novel organ culture system, which enables the isolation of RNA specifically from NGF dependent re-growing peripheral axons of mouse embryo sensory neurons. In combination with massive parallel sequencing technology, we determine the sub-cellular localization of most transcripts in the transcriptome. We found that the axon is enriched in mRNAs that encode secreted proteins, transcription factors and the translation machinery. In contrast, the axon was largely depleted from mRNAs encoding transmembrane proteins, a particularly interesting finding, since many of these gene products are specifically expressed in the tip of the axon at the protein level. Comparison of the mitochondrial mRNAs encoded in the nucleus with those encoded in the mitochondria, uncovered completely different localization pattern, with the latter much enriched in the axon fraction. This discovery is intriguing since the protein products encoded by the nuclear and mitochondrial genome form large co-complexes. Finally, focusing on alternative splice variants that are specific to axonal fractions, we find short sequence motifs that are enriched in the axonal transcriptome. Together our findings shed light on the extensive role of RNA localization and its characteristics. For each RNA sample, Spinal Cords\ DRGs were dissected from 40 E13.5 embryos and cultured for 48H. Total RNA was extracted from whole DRG and Peripheral axons. Poly-A enriched. In duplicates, using GAIIx. Read length - 80nt.
Project description:Neuronal migration, axon fasciculation, and axon guidance need to be closely coordinated for neural circuit assembly. Spinal motor neurons (MNs) face unique challenges during development because their cell bodies reside within the central nervous system (CNS) and their axons project to various targets in the body periphery. The molecular mechanisms that contain MN somata within the spinal cord while allowing their axons to exit the CNS and navigate to their final destinations remain incompletely understood. We find that the MN cell surface protein TAG-1 anchors MN cell bodies in the spinal cord to prevent their emigration, mediates motor axon fasciculation during CNS exit, and guides motor axons past dorsal root ganglia. TAG-1 executes these varied functions in MN development independently of one another. Our results identify TAG-1 as a key multifunctional regulator of MN wiring that coordinates neuronal migration, axon fasciculation, and axon guidance.
Project description:mRNA of kappa opioid receptor (KOR) can be transported to nerve fibers, including axons of dorsal root ganglia (DRG), and can be locally translated. Yeast three-hybrid screening identifies Copb1 as a kor mRNA-associated protein that form complexes with endogenous kor mRNA, which are colocalized in the soma and axons of DRG neurons. Axonal transport of kor mRNA is demonstrated, directly, by observing mobilization of biotin-labeled kor mRNA in Campenot chambers. Efficient transport of kor mRNA into the side chamber requires Copb1 and can be blocked by a drug that disrupts microtubules. The requirement for Copb1 in mobilizing kor mRNA is confirmed by using the MS2-GFP mRNA-tagging system. Furthermore, Copb1 also facilitates the translation of kor mRNA in the soma and axons. This study provides evidence for a microtubule-dependent, active axonal kor mRNA-transport process that involves Copb1 and can stimulate localized translation and suggests coupling of transport and translation of mRNAs destined to the remote areas such as axons.
Project description:Astrocytes in the CNS respond to tissue damage by becoming reactive. They migrate, undergo hypertrophy, and form a glial scar that inhibits axon regeneration. Therefore, limiting astrocytic responses represents a potential therapeutic strategy to improve functional recovery. It was recently shown that the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor is upregulated in astrocytes after injury and promotes their transformation into reactive astrocytes. Furthermore, EGF receptor inhibitors were shown to enhance axon regeneration in the injured optic nerve and promote recovery after spinal cord injury. However, the signaling pathways involved were not elucidated. Here we show that in cultures of adult spinal cord astrocytes EGF activates the mTOR pathway, a key regulator of astrocyte physiology. This occurs through Akt-mediated phosphorylation of the GTPase-activating protein Tuberin, which inhibits Tuberin's ability to inactivate the small GTPase Rheb. Indeed, we found that Rheb is required for EGF-dependent mTOR activation in spinal cord astrocytes, whereas the Ras-MAP kinase pathway does not appear to be involved. Moreover, astrocyte growth and EGF-dependent chemoattraction were inhibited by the mTOR-selective drug rapamycin. We also detected elevated levels of activated EGF receptor and mTOR signaling in reactive astrocytes in vivo in an ischemic model of spinal cord injury. Furthermore, increased Rheb expression likely contributes to mTOR activation in the injured spinal cord. Interestingly, injured rats treated with rapamycin showed reduced signs of reactive gliosis, suggesting that rapamycin could be used to harness astrocytic responses in the damaged nervous system to promote an environment more permissive to axon regeneration.