Semaphorin 4C and 4G are ligands of Plexin-B2 required in cerebellar development.
ABSTRACT: Semaphorins and Plexins are cognate ligand-receptor families that regulate important steps during nervous system development. The Plexin-B2 receptor is critically involved in neural tube closure and cerebellar granule cell development, however, its specific ligands have only been suggested by in vitro studies. Here, we show by in vivo and in vitro analyses that the two Semaphorin-4 family members Sema4C and Sema4G are likely to be in vivo ligands of Plexin-B2. The Sema4C and Sema4G genes are expressed in the developing cerebellar cortex, and Sema4C and Sema4G proteins specifically bind to Plexin-B2 expressing cerebellar granule cells. To further elucidate their in vivo function, we have generated and analyzed Sema4C and Sema4G knockout mouse mutants. Like Plexin-B2-/- mutants, Sema4C-/- mutants reveal exencephaly and subsequent neonatal lethality with partial penetrance. Sema4C-/- mutants that bypass exencephaly are viable and fertile, but display distinctive defects of the cerebellar granule cell layer, including gaps in rostral lobules, fusions of caudal lobules, and ectopic granule cells in the molecular layer. In addition to neuronal defects, we observed in Sema4C-/- mutants also ventral skin pigmentation defects that are similar to those found in Plexin-B2-/- mutants. The Sema4G gene deletion causes no overt phenotype by itself, but combined deletion of Sema4C and Sema4G revealed an enhanced cerebellar phenotype. However, Sema4C/Sema4G double mutants showed overall less severe cerebellar phenotypes than Plexin-B2-/- mutants, indicating that further ligands of Plexin-B2 exist. In explant cultures of the developing cerebellar cortex, Sema4C promoted migration of cerebellar granule cell precursors in a Plexin-B2-dependent manner, supporting the model that a reduced migration rate of granule cell precursors is the basis for the cerebellar defects of Sema4C-/- and Sema4C/Sema4G mutants.
Project description:Semaphorins and their transmembrane receptors, Plexins, are key regulators of axon guidance and development of neuronal connectivity. B-type Plexins respond to Class IV semaphorins and mediate a variety of developmental functions. Here we report that the expression of Plexin-B2 and its high-affinity ligand, Sema4C, persists in peripheral sensory neurons in adult life and is markedly increased in states of persistent pain in mice. Genetic deletion of Sema4C as well as adult-onset loss of Plexin-B2 leads to impairment of the development and duration of inflammatory hypersensitivity. Remarkably, unlike the neurodevelopmental functions of Plexin-B2 that solely rely on Ras signaling, we obtained genetic and pharmacological evidence for a requirement of RhoA-ROCK-dependent mechanisms as well as TRPA1 sensitization in pronociceptive functions of Sema4C-Plexin-B2 signaling in adult life. These results suggest important roles for Plexin-B2 signaling in sensory function that may be of therapeutic relevance in pathological pain.Semaphorins and their receptors are involved in neurodevelopment, but their functions in the adult nervous system are not fully understood. This study finds that semaphorin 4C and its receptor Plexin B are expressed in sensory neurons and are pronociceptive in a mouse model of inflammatory pain.
Project description:Invasive growth is a major determinant of the high lethality of malignant gliomas. Plexin-B2, an axon guidance receptor important for mediating neural progenitor cell migration during development, is upregulated in gliomas, but its function therein remains poorly understood. Combining bioinformatic analyses, immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry of patient samples, we demonstrate that Plexin-B2 is consistently upregulated in all types of human gliomas and that its expression levels correlate with glioma grade and poor survival. Activation of Plexin-B2 by Sema4C ligand in glioblastoma cells induced actin-based cytoskeletal dynamics and invasive migration in vitro. This proinvasive effect was associated with activation of the cell motility mediators RhoA and Rac1. Furthermore, costimulation of Plexin-B2 and the receptor tyrosine kinase Met led to synergistic Met phosphorylation. In intracranial glioblastoma transplants, Plexin-B2 knockdown hindered invasive growth and perivascular spreading, and resulted in decreased tumor vascularity. Our results demonstrate that Plexin-B2 promotes glioma invasion and vascularization, and they identify Plexin-B2 as a potential novel prognostic marker for glioma malignancy. Targeting the Plexin-B2 pathway may represent a novel therapeutic approach to curtail invasive growth of glioblastoma.
Project description:Semaphorins are important molecules in embryonic development and multiple semaphorins have been identified as having key roles in immune regulation. To date, there is little known about Semaphorin 4C (Sema4C) in immune biology. We report for the first time that Sema4C is inducible in human and murine B-cells and may be important for normal B-cell development.Human tonsillar B-cells were studied following activation via anti-CD40 antibodies in the presence or absence of representative Th1, Th2, and regulatory cytokines. Murine B-cells from WT and Sema4C-/- mice were similarly stimulated. B-cell phenotyping in WT and Sema4C mutant mice was performed by flow cytometry and lymphoid architecture was studied by immunohistochemistry. Sema4C expression and synapse formation were analyzed by confocal microscopy.Gene array studies performed on human tonsillar B-cells stimulated to produce IgE revealed that Sema4C was among the top genes expressed at 24?h, and the only semaphorin to be increased under Th2 conditions. Validation studies demonstrated that human and murine B-cells expressed Sema4C under similar conditions. Sema4C-/- mice had impaired maturation of B-cell follicles in spleens and associated decreases in follicular and marginal zone B-cells as well as impaired IgG and IgA production. In keeping with a potential role in maturation of B-cells, Sema4C was expressed predominantly on CD27+ human B-cells. Within 72?h of B-cell activation, Sema4C was localized to one pole in a synapse-like structure, in association with F-actin, B-cell receptor, and Plexin-B2. Cell polarization was impaired in Sema4C-/- mice.We have identified a novel immune semaphorin induced in human and murine B-cells under Th2 conditions. Sema4C appears to be a marker for human memory B-cells. It may be important for B-cell polarization and for the formation of normal splenic follicles.
Project description:The small GTPases RhoA and Rac1 are key cytoskeletal regulators that function in a mutually antagonistic manner to control the migration and morphogenesis of a broad range of cell types. However, their role in shaping the cerebellum, a unique brain structure composed of an elaborate set of folia separated by fissures of different lengths, remains largely unexplored. Here we show that dysregulation of both RhoA and Rac1 signaling results in abnormal cerebellar ontogenesis. Ablation of RhoA from neuroprogenitor cells drastically alters the timing and placement of fissure formation, the migration and positioning of granule and Purkinje cells, the alignment of Bergmann glia, and the integrity of the basement membrane, primarily in the anterior lobules. Furthermore, in the absence of RhoA, granule cell precursors located at the base of fissures fail to undergo cell shape changes required for fissure initiation. Many of these abnormalities can be recapitulated by deleting RhoA specifically from granule cell precursors but not postnatal glia, indicating that RhoA functions in granule cell precursors to control cerebellar morphogenesis. Notably, mice with elevated Rac1 activity due to loss of the Rac1 inhibitors Bcr and Abr show similar anterior cerebellar deficits, including ectopic neurons and defects in fissure formation, Bergmann glia organization and basement membrane integrity. Together, our results suggest that RhoA and Rac1 play indispensable roles in patterning cerebellar morphology.
Project description:Cobblestone lissencephaly is a severe neuronal migration disorder associated with congenital muscular dystrophies (CMD) such as Walker-Warburg syndrome, muscle-eye-brain disease, and Fukuyama-type CMD. In these severe forms of dystroglycanopathy, the muscular dystrophy and other tissue pathology is caused by mutations in genes involved in O-linked glycosylation of alpha-dystroglycan. While cerebellar dysplasia is a common feature of dystroglycanopathy, its pathogenesis has not been thoroughly investigated.Here we evaluate the role of dystroglycan during cerebellar development. Brain-selective deletion of dystroglycan does not affect overall cerebellar growth, yet causes malformations associated with glia limitans disruptions and granule cell heterotopia that recapitulate phenotypes found in dystroglycanopathy patients. Cerebellar pathology in these mice is not evident until birth even though dystroglycan is lost during the second week of embryogenesis. The severity and spatial distribution of glia limitans disruption, Bergmann glia disorganization, and heterotopia exacerbate during postnatal development. Astrogliosis becomes prominent at these same sites by the time cerebellar development is complete. Interestingly, there is spatial heterogeneity in the glia limitans and granule neuron migration defects that spares the tips of lobules IV-V and VI.The full spectrum of developmental pathology is caused by loss of dystroglycan from Bergmann glia, as neither granule cell- nor Purkinje cell-specific deletion of dystroglycan results in similar pathology. These data illustrate the importance of dystroglycan function in radial/Bergmann glia, not neurons, for normal cerebellar histogenesis. The spatial heterogeneity of pathology suggests that the dependence on dystroglycan is not uniform.
Project description:We created an Nse-CreERT2 mouse line expressing the tamoxifen-inducible CreERT2 recombinase under the control of the neuron-specific enolase (Nse) promoter. By using Cre reporter lines we could show that this Nse-CreERT2 line has recombination activity in the granule cells of all cerebellar lobules as well as in postmitotic granule cell precursors in the external granular layer of the developing cerebellum. A few hippocampal dentate gyrus granule cells showed Cre-mediated recombination as well. Cre activity could be induced in both the developing and adult mouse brain. The established mouse line constitutes a valuable tool to study the function of genes expressed by cerebellar granule cells in the developing and adult brain. In combination with reporter lines it is a useful model to analyze the development and maintenance of the cerebellar architecture including granule cell distribution, migration, and the extension of granule cell fibers in vivo.
Project description:Development of the cerebellum involves a coordinated program of neuronal process outgrowth and migration resulting in a foliated structure that plays a key role in motor function. Neuron navigator 2 (Nav2) is a cytoskeletal-interacting protein that functions in neurite outgrowth and axonal elongation. Herein we show that hypomorphic mutant mice lacking the full-length Nav2 transcript exhibit ataxia and defects in cerebellar development. At embryonic day (E)17.5, the mutant cerebellum is reduced in size and exhibits defects in vermal foliation. Reduction in cell proliferation at early times (E12.5 and E14.5) may contribute to this size reduction. The full-length Nav2 transcript is expressed in the premigratory zone of the external granule layer (EGL). Granule cells in the germinal zone of the EGL appear to proliferate normally, however, due to the reduction in cerebellar circumference there are fewer total BrdU-labeled granule cells in the mutants, and these fail to migrate normally toward the interior of the cerebellum. In Nav2 hypomorphs, fewer granule cells migrate out of cerebellar EGL explants and neurite outgrowth from both explants and isolated external granule cell cultures is reduced. This suggests that the formation of parallel axon fibers and neuronal migration is disrupted in Nav2 mutants. This work supports an essential role for full-length Nav2 in cerebellar development, including axonal elongation and migration of the EGL neurons.
Project description:The Liver Kinase B1 (LKB1) gene plays crucial roles in cell differentiation, proliferation and the establishment of cell polarity. We created LKB1 conditional knockout mice (LKB1(Atoh1) CKO) to investigate the function of LKB1 in cerebellar development. The LKB1(Atoh1) CKO mice displayed motor dysfunction. In the LKB1(Atoh1) CKO cerebellum, the overall structure had a larger volume and more lobules. LKB1 inactivation led to an increased proliferation of granule cell precursors (GCPs), aberrant granule cell migration and overproduction of unipolar brush cells. To investigate the mechanism underlying the abnormal foliation, we examined sonic hedgehog signalling (Shh) by testing its transcriptional mediators, the Gli proteins, which regulate the GCPs proliferation and cerebellar foliation during cerebellar development. The expression levels of Gli genes were significantly increased in the mutant cerebellum. In vitro assays showed that the proliferation of cultured GCPs from mutant cerebellum significantly increased, whereas the proliferation of mutant GCPs significantly decreased in the presence of a Shh inhibitor GDC-0049. Thus, LKB1 deficiency in the LKB1(Atoh1) CKO mice enhanced Shh signalling, leading to the excessive GCP proliferation and the formation of extra lobules. We proposed that LKB1 regulates cerebellar development by controlling GCPs proliferation through Shh signalling during cerebellar development.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Plexins, known to date as receptors of semaphorins, are implicated in semaphorin-mediated axon repulsion and growth cone collapse. However, subtype-specific functions of the majority of the nine members of the mammalian plexin family are largely unknown. In order to investigate functional properties of B-plexins, we analyzed the expression of human and murine plexin B3 and expressed full-length human plexins B2 (B2) and B3 (B3) in NIH-3T3 cells. RESULTS: Unexpectedly, B3 strongly and B2 moderately stimulate neurite outgrowth of primary murine cerebellar neurons. Both plexins mediate Ca2+/Mg2+-dependent cell aggregation due to homophilic trans-interaction, which is strong in the case of B3 and moderate for B2. Using different deletion constructs we show that the sema domain of B3 is essential for homophilic interaction. Using yeast two-hybrid analysis, we identified the neuron-specific and calmodulin-binding Ras-related GTPase Rin as an interaction partner of the intracellular part of B3, but not of B2. Rin, also known for its neurite outgrowth-inducing characteristics, co-localizes and co-immunoprecipitates with B3 in co-transfected COS-7 cells. CONCLUSION: Our data suggest an involvement of homophilic interaction of B3 in semaphorin-independent signaling mechanisms positively influencing neuronal morphogenesis or function. Furthermore the neuron-specific small GTPase Rin is involved in downstream signaling of plexin B3.
Project description:The cerebellum receives sensory information by mossy fiber input from a multitude of sources that require differential signal processing. A compartmentalization of function begins with the segregation of mossy fibers across 10 distinct lobules over the rostrocaudal axis, with tactile receptor afferents prevalent in anterior lobules and vestibular input in caudal lobules. However, it is unclear how these unique signals might be differentially processed at the circuit level across the cerebellum. As granule cells receive mossy fiber input, they represent a key stage at which postsynaptic mechanisms could influence signal processing. Granule cells express an A-type current mediated by Kv4 potassium channels that modify the latency and frequency of spike output. The current study examined the potential for a Cav3 calcium-Kv4 channel complex to regulate the response of granule cells to mossy fiber input in lobules 2 and 9 of the rat cerebellum. Similar A-type currents were recorded in both regions, but the Cav3 calcium current was expressed at a substantially higher density in lobule 9 cells, acting to increase A-type current availability through its influence on Kv4 voltage for inactivation. The difference in excitability imparted by Cav3-Kv4 interactions proves to allow lobule 2 granule cells to respond more effectively to tactile stimulus-like burst input and lobule 9 cells to slow shifts in input frequency characteristic of vestibular input. The expression pattern of Cav3 channels and its control of Kv4 availability thus provides a novel means of processing widely different forms of sensory input across cerebellar lobules.