New dystrophin/dystroglycan interactors control neuron behavior in Drosophila eye.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The Dystrophin Glycoprotein Complex (DGC) is a large multi-component complex that is well known for its function in muscle tissue. When the main components of the DGC, Dystrophin (Dys) and Dystroglycan (Dg) are affected cognitive impairment and mental retardation in addition to muscle degeneration can occur. Previously we performed an array of genetic screens using a Drosophila model for muscular dystrophy in order to find novel DGC interactors aiming to elucidate the signaling role(s) in which the complex is involved. Since the function of the DGC in the brain and nervous system has not been fully defined, we have here continued to analyze the DGC modifiers' function in the developing Drosophila brain and eye. RESULTS: Given that disruption of Dys and Dg leads to improper photoreceptor axon projections into the lamina and eye neuron elongation defects during development, we have determined the function of previously screened components and their genetic interaction with the DGC in this tissue. Our study first found that mutations in chif, CG34400, Nrk, Lis1, capt and Cam cause improper axon path-finding and loss of SP2353, Grh, Nrk, capt, CG34400, vimar, Lis1 and Cam cause shortened rhabdomere lengths. We determined that Nrk, mbl, capt and Cam genetically interact with Dys and/or Dg in these processes. It is notable that most of the neuronal DGC interacting components encountered are involved in regulation of actin dynamics. CONCLUSIONS: Our data indicate possible DGC involvement in the process of cytoskeletal remodeling in neurons. The identification of new components that interact with the DGC not only helps to dissect the mechanism of axon guidance and eye neuron differentiation but also provides a great opportunity for understanding the signaling mechanisms by which the cell surface receptor Dg communicates via Dys with the actin cytoskeleton.
Project description:In humans, mutations in the Dystrophin Glycoprotein Complex (DGC) cause muscular dystrophies (MDs) that are associated with muscle loss, seizures and brain abnormalities leading to early death. Using Drosophila as a model to study MD we have found that loss of Dystrophin (Dys) during development leads to heat-sensitive abnormal muscle contractions that are repressed by mutations in Dys's binding partner, Dystroglycan (Dg). Hyperthermic seizures are independent from dystrophic muscle degeneration and rely on neurotransmission, which suggests involvement of the DGC in muscle-neuron communication. Additionally, reduction of the Ca(2+) regulator, Calmodulin or Ca(2+) channel blockage rescues the seizing phenotype, pointing to Ca(2+) mis-regulation in dystrophic muscles. Also, Dys and Dg mutants have antagonistically abnormal cellular levels of ROS, suggesting that the DGC has a function in regulation of muscle cell homeostasis. These data show that muscles deficient for Dys are predisposed to hypercontraction that may result from abnormal neuromuscular junction signaling.
Project description:The Dystroglycan-Dystrophin (Dg-Dys) complex has a capacity to transmit information from the extracellular matrix to the cytoskeleton inside the cell. It is proposed that this interaction is under tight regulation; however the signaling/regulatory components of Dg-Dys complex remain elusive. Understanding the regulation of the complex is critical since defects in this complex cause muscular dystrophy in humans. To reveal new regulators of the Dg-Dys complex, we used a model organism Drosophila melanogaster and performed genetic interaction screens to identify modifiers of Dg and Dys mutants in Drosophila wing veins. These mutant screens revealed that the Dg-Dys complex interacts with genes involved in muscle function and components of Notch, TGF-beta and EGFR signaling pathways. In addition, components of pathways that are required for cellular and/or axonal migration through cytoskeletal regulation, such as Semaphorin-Plexin, Frazzled-Netrin and Slit-Robo pathways show interactions with Dys and/or Dg. These data suggest that the Dg-Dys complex and the other pathways regulating extracellular information transfer to the cytoskeletal dynamics are more intercalated than previously thought.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Dystroglycan (Dg) is a transmembrane protein that is a part of the Dystrophin Glycoprotein Complex (DGC) which connects the extracellular matrix to the actin cytoskeleton. The C-terminal end of Dg contains a number of putative SH3, SH2 and WW domain binding sites. The most C-terminal PPXY motif has been established as a binding site for Dystrophin (Dys) WW-domain. However, our previous studies indicate that both Dystroglycan PPXY motives, WWbsI and WWbsII can bind Dystrophin protein in vitro. RESULTS: We now find that both WW binding sites are important for maintaining full Dg function in the establishment of oocyte polarity in Drosophila. If either WW binding site is mutated, the Dg protein can still be active. However, simultaneous mutations in both WW binding sites abolish the Dg activities in both overexpression and loss-of-function oocyte polarity assays in vivo. Additionally, sequence comparisons of WW binding sites in 12 species of Drosophila, as well as in humans, reveal a high level of conservation. This preservation throughout evolution supports the idea that both WW binding sites are functionally required. CONCLUSION: Based on the obtained results we propose that the presence of the two WW binding sites in Dystroglycan secures the essential interaction between Dg and Dys and might further provide additional regulation for the cytoskeletal interactions of this complex.
Project description:Radial glial cells (RGCs) are distinctive neural stem cells with an extraordinary slender bipolar morphology and dual functions as precursors and migration scaffolds for cortical neurons. Here we show a novel mechanism by which the Lis1-Nde1 complex maintains RGC functions through stabilizing the dystrophin/dystroglycan glycoprotein complex (DGC). A direct interaction between Nde1 and utrophin/dystrophin allows for the assembly of a multi-protein complex that links the cytoskeleton to the extracellular matrix of RGCs to stabilize their lateral membrane, cell-cell adhesion, and radial morphology. Lis1-Nde1 mutations destabilized the DGC and resulted in deformed, disjointed RGCs and disrupted basal lamina. Besides impaired RGC self-renewal and neuronal migration arrests, Lis1-Nde1 deficiencies also led to neuronal over-migration. Additional to phenotypic resemblances of Lis1-Nde1 with DGC, strong synergistic interactions were found between Nde1 and dystroglycan in RGCs. As functional insufficiencies of LIS1, NDE1, and dystroglycan all cause lissencephaly syndromes, our data demonstrated that a three-dimensional regulation of RGC's cytoarchitecture by the Lis1-Nde1-DGC complex determines the number and spatial organization of cortical neurons as well as the size and shape of the cerebral cortex.
Project description:BACKGROUND: CAP/Capulet (Capt), Slingshot (Ssh) and Cofilin/Twinstar (Tsr) are actin-binding proteins that restrict actin polymerization. Previously, it was shown that low resolution analyses of loss-of-function mutations in capt, ssh and tsr all show ectopic F-actin accumulation in various Drosophila tissues. In contrast, RNAi depletion of capt, tsr and ssh in Drosophila S2 cells all affect actin-based lamella formation differently. Whether loss of these three related genes might cause the same effect in the same tissue remains unclear. METHODS: Loss-of-function mutant clones were generated using the MARCM or EGUF system whereas overexpression clones were generated using the Flip-out system. Immunostaining were then performed in eye imaginal discs with clones. FRAP was performed in cultured eye discs. RESULTS: Here, we compared their loss-of-function phenotype at single-cell resolution, using a sheet of epithelial cells in the Drosophila eye imaginal disc as a model system. Surprisingly, we found that capt and ssh, but not tsr, mutant cells within and posterior to the morphogenetic furrow (MF) shared similar phenotypes. The capt/ssh mutant cells possessed: (1) hexagonal cell packing with discontinuous adherens junctions; and (2) largely complementary accumulation of excessive phosphorylated myosin light chain (p-MLC) and F-actin rings at the apical cortex. We further showed that the capt/ssh mutant phenotypes depended on the inactivation of protein kinase A (PKA) and activation of Rho. CONCLUSIONS: Although Capt, Ssh and Tsr were reported to negatively regulate actin polymerization, we found that Capt and Ssh, but not Tsr, share overlapping functions during eye morphogenesis.
Project description:Perturbation in the Dystroglycan (Dg)-Dystrophin (Dys) complex results in muscular dystrophies and brain abnormalities in human. Here we report that Drosophila is an excellent genetically tractable model to study muscular dystrophies and neuronal abnormalities caused by defects in this complex. Using a fluorescence polarization assay, we show a high conservation in Dg-Dys interaction between human and Drosophila. Genetic and RNAi-induced perturbations of Dg and Dys in Drosophila cause cell polarity and muscular dystrophy phenotypes: decreased mobility, age-dependent muscle degeneration and defective photoreceptor path-finding. Dg and Dys are required in targeting glial cells and neurons for correct neuronal migration. Importantly, we now report that Dg interacts with insulin receptor and Nck/Dock SH2/SH3-adaptor molecule in photoreceptor path-finding. This is the first demonstration of a genetic interaction between Dg and InR.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The Dystrophin-glycoprotein complex (DGC) comprises dystrophin, dystroglycan, sarcoglycan, dystrobrevin and syntrophin subunits. In muscle fibers, it is thought to provide an essential mechanical link between the intracellular cytoskeleton and the extracellular matrix and to protect the sarcolemma during muscle contraction. Mutations affecting the DGC cause muscular dystrophies. Most members of the DGC are also concentrated at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ), where their deficiency is often associated with NMJ structural defects. Hence, synaptic dysfunction may also intervene in the pathology of dystrophic muscles. Dystroglycan is a central component of the DGC because it establishes a link between the extracellular matrix and Dystrophin. In this study, we focused on the synaptic role of Dystroglycan (Dg) in Drosophila. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We show that Dg was concentrated postsynaptically at the glutamatergic NMJ, where, like in vertebrates, it controls the concentration of synaptic Laminin and Dystrophin homologues. We also found that synaptic Dg controlled the amount of postsynaptic 4.1 protein Coracle and alpha-Spectrin, as well as the relative subunit composition of glutamate receptors. In addition, both Dystrophin and Coracle were required for normal Dg concentration at the synapse. In electrophysiological recordings, loss of postsynaptic Dg did not affect postsynaptic response, but, surprisingly, led to a decrease in glutamate release from the presynaptic site. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: Altogether, our study illustrates a conservation of DGC composition and interactions between Drosophila and vertebrates at the synapse, highlights new proteins associated with this complex and suggests an unsuspected trans-synaptic function of Dg.
Project description:Heart disease is a leading cause of death in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Patients with DMD lack the protein dystrophin, which is widely expressed in striated muscle. In skeletal muscle, the loss of dystrophin results in dramatically decreased expression of the dystrophin associated glycoprotein complex (DGC). Interestingly, in the heart the DGC is normally expressed without dystrophin; this has been attributed to presence of the dystrophin homologue utrophin. We demonstrate here that neither utrophin nor dystrophin are required for the expression of the cardiac DGC. However, alpha-dystroglycan (?-DG), a major component of the DGC, is differentially glycosylated in dystrophin-(mdx) and dystrophin-/utrophin-(dko) deficient mouse hearts. In both models the altered ?-DG retains laminin binding activity, but has an altered localization at the sarcolemma. In hearts lacking both dystrophin and utrophin, the alterations in ?-DG glycosylation are even more dramatic with changes in gel migration equivalent to 24 ± 3 kDa. These data show that the absence of dystrophin and utrophin alters the processing of ?-DG; however it is not clear if these alterations are a consequence of the loss of a direct interaction with dystrophin/utrophin or results from an indirect response to the presence of severe pathology. Recently there have been great advances in our understanding of the glycosylation of ?-DG regarding its role as a laminin receptor. Here we present data that alterations in glycosylation occur in the hearts of animal models of DMD, but these changes do not affect laminin binding. The physiological consequences of these alterations remain unknown, but may have significant implications for the development of therapies for DMD.
Project description:The robust axonal growth and regenerative capacities of young neurons decrease substantially with age. This developmental downregulation of axonal growth may facilitate axonal pruning and neural circuit formation but limits functional recovery following nerve damage. While external factors influencing axonal growth have been extensively investigated, relatively little is known about the intrinsic molecular changes underlying the age-dependent reduction in regeneration capacity. We report that developmental downregulation of LIS1 is responsible for the decreased axonal extension capacity of mature dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. In contrast, exogenous LIS1 expression or endogenous LIS1 augmentation by calpain inhibition restored axonal extension capacity in mature DRG neurons and facilitated regeneration of the damaged sciatic nerve. The insulator protein CTCF suppressed LIS1 expression in mature DRG neurons, and this reduction resulted in excessive accumulation of phosphoactivated GSK-3β at the axon tip, causing failure of the axonal extension. Conversely, sustained LIS1 expression inhibited developmental axon pruning in the mammillary body. Thus, LIS1 regulation may coordinate the balance between axonal growth and pruning during maturation of neuronal circuits.
Project description:The neural circuit mechanisms underlying the integration and functions of adult-born dentate granule cell (DGCs) are poorly understood. Adult-born DGCs are thought to compete with mature DGCs for inputs to integrate. Transient genetic overexpression of a negative regulator of dendritic spines, Kruppel-like factor 9 (Klf9), in mature DGCs enhanced integration of adult-born DGCs and increased NSC activation. Reversal of Klf9 overexpression in mature DGCs restored spines and activity and reset neuronal competition dynamics and NSC activation, leaving the DG modified by a functionally integrated, expanded cohort of age-matched adult-born DGCs. Spine elimination by inducible deletion of Rac1 in mature DGCs increased survival of adult-born DGCs without affecting proliferation or DGC activity. Enhanced integration of adult-born DGCs transiently reorganized adult-born DGC local afferent connectivity and promoted global remapping in the DG. Rejuvenation of the DG by enhancing integration of adult-born DGCs in adulthood, middle age, and aging enhanced memory precision.