Altered regulation of tau phosphorylation in a mouse model of down syndrome aging.
ABSTRACT: Down syndrome (DS) results from trisomy of human chromosome 21 (Hsa21) and is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here, using the unique transchromosomic Tc1 mouse model of DS we investigate the influence of trisomy of Hsa21 on the protein tau, which is hyperphosphorylated in Alzheimer's disease. We show that in old, but not young, Tc1 mice increased phosphorylation of tau occurs at a site suggested to be targeted by the Hsa21 encoded kinase, dual-specificity tyrosine-(Y)-phosphorylation regulated kinase 1A (DYRK1A). We show that DYRK1A is upregulated in young and old Tc1 mice, but that young trisomic mice may be protected from accumulating aberrantly phosphorylated tau. We observe that the key tau kinase, glycogen synthase kinase3-? (GSK-3?) is aberrantly phosphorylated at an inhibitory site in the aged Tc1 brain which may reduce total glycogen synthase kinase3-? activity. It is possible that a similar mechanism may also occur in people with DS.
Project description:Pathological mechanisms underlying Down syndrome (DS)/Trisomy 21, including dysregulation of essential signalling processes remain poorly understood. Combining bioinformatics with RNA and protein analysis, we identified downregulation of the Wnt/?-catenin pathway in the hippocampus of adult DS individuals with Alzheimer's disease and the 'Tc1' DS mouse model. Providing a potential underlying molecular pathway, we demonstrate that the chromosome 21 kinase DYRK1A regulates Wnt signalling via a novel bimodal mechanism. Under basal conditions, DYRK1A is a negative regulator of Wnt/?-catenin. Following pathway activation, however, DYRK1A exerts the opposite effect, increasing signalling activity. In summary, we identified downregulation of hippocampal Wnt/?-catenin signalling in DS, possibly mediated by a dose dependent effect of the chromosome 21-encoded kinase DYRK1A. Overall, we propose that dosage imbalance of the Hsa21 gene DYRK1A affects downstream Wnt target genes. Therefore, modulation of Wnt signalling may open unexplored avenues for DS and Alzheimer's disease treatment.
Project description:Cardiac malformations are prevalent in trisomies of human chromosome 21 [Down's syndrome (DS)], affecting normal chamber separation in the developing heart. Efforts to understand the aetiology of these defects have been severely hampered by the absence of an accurate mouse model. Such models have proved challenging to establish because synteny with human chromosome Hsa21 is distributed across three mouse chromosomes. None of those engineered so far accurately models the full range of DS cardiac phenotypes, in particular the profound disruptions resulting from atrioventricular septal defects (AVSDs). Here, we present analysis of the cardiac malformations exhibited by embryos of the transchromosomic mouse line Tc(Hsa21)1TybEmcf (Tc1) which contains more than 90% of chromosome Hsa21 in addition to the normal diploid mouse genome.Using high-resolution episcopic microscopy and three-dimensional (3D) modelling, we show that Tc1 embryos exhibit many of the cardiac defects found in DS, including balanced AVSD with single and separate valvar orifices, membranous and muscular ventricular septal defects along with outflow tract and valve leaflet abnormalities. Frequencies of cardiac malformations (ranging from 38 to 55%) are dependent on strain background. In contrast, no comparable cardiac defects were detected in embryos of the more limited mouse trisomy model, Dp(16Cbr1-ORF9)1Rhr (Ts1Rhr), indicating that trisomy of the region syntenic to the Down's syndrome critical region, including the candidate genes DSCAM and DYRK1A, is insufficient to yield DS cardiac abnormalities.The Tc1 mouse line provides a suitable model for studying the underlying genetic causes of the DS AVSD cardiac phenotype.
Project description:Children with trisomy 21 (Down syndrome [DS]) have a 130-fold increased incidence of Hirschsprung Disease (HSCR), a developmental defect where the enteric nervous system (ENS) is missing from distal bowel (i.e., distal bowel is aganglionic). Treatment for HSCR is surgical resection of aganglionic bowel, but many children have bowel problems after surgery. Post-surgical problems like enterocolitis and soiling are especially common in children with DS. To determine how trisomy 21 affects ENS development, we evaluated the ENS in two DS mouse models, Ts65Dn and Tc1. These mice are trisomic for many chromosome 21 homologous genes, including Dscam and Dyrk1a, which are hypothesized to contribute to HSCR risk. Ts65Dn and Tc1 mice have normal ENS precursor migration at E12.5 and almost normal myenteric plexus structure as adults. However, Ts65Dn and Tc1 mice have markedly reduced submucosal plexus neuron density throughout the bowel. Surprisingly, the submucosal neuron defect in Ts65Dn mice is not due to excess Dscam or Dyrk1a, since normalizing copy number for these genes does not rescue the defect. These findings suggest the possibility that the high frequency of bowel problems in children with DS and HSCR may occur because of additional unrecognized problems with ENS structure.
Project description:Down's syndrome (DS) is a genetic disorder caused by full or partial trisomy of human chromosome 21 and presents with many clinical phenotypes including a reduced incidence of solid tumours. Recent work with the Ts65Dn model of DS, which has orthologues of about 50% of the genes on chromosome 21 (Hsa21), has indicated that three copies of the ETS2 (ref. 3) or DS candidate region 1 (DSCR1) genes (a previously known suppressor of angiogenesis) is sufficient to inhibit tumour growth. Here we use the Tc1 transchromosomic mouse model of DS to dissect the contribution of extra copies of genes on Hsa21 to tumour angiogenesis. This mouse expresses roughly 81% of Hsa21 genes but not the human DSCR1 region. We transplanted B16F0 and Lewis lung carcinoma tumour cells into Tc1 mice and showed that growth of these tumours was substantially reduced compared with wild-type littermate controls. Furthermore, tumour angiogenesis was significantly repressed in Tc1 mice. In particular, in vitro and in vivo angiogenic responses to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were inhibited. Examination of the genes on the segment of Hsa21 in Tc1 mice identified putative anti-angiogenic genes (ADAMTS1and ERG) and novel endothelial cell-specific genes, never previously shown to be involved in angiogenesis (JAM-B and PTTG1IP), that, when overexpressed, are responsible for inhibiting angiogenic responses to VEGF. Three copies of these genes within the stromal compartment reduced tumour angiogenesis, explaining the reduced tumour growth in DS. Furthermore, we expect that, in addition to the candidate genes that we show to be involved in the repression of angiogenesis, the Tc1 mouse model of DS will permit the identification of other endothelium-specific anti-angiogenic targets relevant to a broad spectrum of cancer patients.
Project description:Down syndrome (DS) is the most common cause of mental retardation. Many neural phenotypes are shared between DS individuals and DS mouse models; however, the common underlying molecular pathogenetic mechanisms remain unclear. Using a transchromosomic model of DS, we show that a 30%-60% reduced expression of Nrsf/Rest (a key regulator of pluripotency and neuronal differentiation) is an alteration that persists in trisomy 21 from undifferentiated embryonic stem (ES) cells to adult brain and is reproducible across several DS models. Using partially trisomic ES cells, we map this effect to a three-gene segment of HSA21, containing DYRK1A. We independently identify the same locus as the most significant eQTL controlling REST expression in the human genome. We show that specifically silencing the third copy of DYRK1A rescues Rest levels, and we demonstrate altered Rest expression in response to inhibition of DYRK1A expression or kinase activity, and in a transgenic Dyrk1A mouse. We reveal that undifferentiated trisomy 21 ES cells show DYRK1A-dose-sensitive reductions in levels of some pluripotency regulators, causing premature expression of transcription factors driving early endodermal and mesodermal differentiation, partially overlapping recently reported downstream effects of Rest +/-. They produce embryoid bodies with elevated levels of the primitive endoderm progenitor marker Gata4 and a strongly reduced neuroectodermal progenitor compartment. Our results suggest that DYRK1A-mediated deregulation of REST is a very early pathological consequence of trisomy 21 with potential to disturb the development of all embryonic lineages, warranting closer research into its contribution to DS pathology and new rationales for therapeutic approaches.
Project description:Down syndrome (DS), caused by trisomy of human chromosome 21 (Hsa21), is characterized by a spectrum of phenotypes including skeletal abnormalities. The Ts65Dn DS mouse model exhibits similar skeletal phenotypes as humans with DS. DYRK1A, a kinase encoded on Hsa21, has been linked to deficiencies in bone homeostasis in DS mice and individuals with DS. Treatment with Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a known inhibitor of Dyrk1a, improves some skeletal abnormalities associated with DS in mice. EGCG supplements are widely available but the effectiveness of different EGCG-containing supplements has not been well studied.Six commercially available supplements containing EGCG were analyzed, and two of these supplements were compared with pure EGCG for their impact on skeletal deficits in a DS mouse model. The results demonstrate differential effects of commercial supplements on correcting skeletal abnormalities in Ts65Dn mice. Different EGCG-containing supplements display differences in degradation, polyphenol content, and effects on trisomic bone.This work suggests that the dose of EGCG and composition of EGCG-containing supplements may be important in correcting skeletal deficits associated with DS. Careful analyses of these parameters may lead to a better understanding of how to improve skeletal and other deficits that impair individuals with DS.
Project description:Aneuploidies are common chromosomal defects that result in growth and developmental deficits and high levels of lethality in humans. To gain insight into the biology of aneuploidies, we manipulated mouse embryonic stem cells and generated a trans-species aneuploid mouse line that stably transmits a freely segregating, almost complete human chromosome 21 (Hsa21). This "transchromosomic" mouse line, Tc1, is a model of trisomy 21, which manifests as Down syndrome (DS) in humans, and has phenotypic alterations in behavior, synaptic plasticity, cerebellar neuronal number, heart development, and mandible size that relate to human DS. Transchromosomic mouse lines such as Tc1 may represent useful genetic tools for dissecting other human aneuploidies.
Project description:Two groups of tau, 3R- and 4R-tau, are generated by alternative splicing of tau exon 10. Normal adult human brain expresses equal levels of them. Disruption of the physiological balance is a common feature of several tauopathies. Very early in their life, individuals with Down syndrome (DS) develop Alzheimer-type tau pathology, the molecular basis for which is not fully understood. Here, we demonstrate that Dyrk1A, a kinase encoded by a gene in the DS critical region, phosphorylates alternative splicing factor (ASF) at Ser-227, Ser-234, and Ser-238, driving it into nuclear speckles and preventing it from facilitating tau exon 10 inclusion. The increased dosage of Dyrk1A in DS brain due to trisomy of chromosome 21 correlates to an increase in 3R-tau level, which on abnormal hyperphosphorylation and aggregation of tau results in neurofibrillary degeneration. Imbalance of 3R- and 4R-tau in DS brain by Dyrk1A-induced dysregulation of alternative splicing factor-mediated alternative splicing of tau exon 10 represents a novel mechanism of neurofibrillary degeneration and may help explain early onset tauopathy in individuals with DS.
Project description:Down Syndrome (DS) is caused by trisomy of chromosome 21 (Hsa21) and results in a spectrum of phenotypes including learning and memory deficits, and motor dysfunction. It has been hypothesized that an additional copy of a few Hsa21 dosage-sensitive genes causes these phenotypes, but this has been challenged by observations that aneuploidy can cause phenotypes by the mass action of large numbers of genes, with undetectable contributions from individual sequences. The motor abnormalities in DS are relatively understudied-the identity of causative dosage-sensitive genes and the mechanism underpinning the phenotypes are unknown. Using a panel of mouse strains with duplications of regions of mouse chromosomes orthologous to Hsa21 we show that increased dosage of small numbers of genes causes locomotor dysfunction and, moreover, that the Dyrk1a gene is required in three copies to cause the phenotype. Furthermore, we show for the first time a new DS phenotype: loss of motor neurons both in mouse models and, importantly, in humans with DS, that may contribute to locomotor dysfunction.
Project description:Down syndrome (DS) is caused by trisomy of chromosome 21 (Hsa21) and presents a complex phenotype that arises from abnormal dosage of genes on this chromosome. However, the individual dosage-sensitive genes underlying each phenotype remain largely unknown. To help dissect genotype--phenotype correlations in this complex syndrome, the first fully transchromosomic mouse model, the Tc1 mouse, which carries a copy of human chromosome 21 was produced in 2005. The Tc1 strain is trisomic for the majority of genes that cause phenotypes associated with DS, and this freely available mouse strain has become used widely to study DS, the effects of gene dosage abnormalities, and the effect on the basic biology of cells when a mouse carries a freely segregating human chromosome. Tc1 mice were created by a process that included irradiation microcell-mediated chromosome transfer of Hsa21 into recipient mouse embryonic stem cells. Here, the combination of next generation sequencing, array-CGH and fluorescence in situ hybridization technologies has enabled us to identify unsuspected rearrangements of Hsa21 in this mouse model; revealing one deletion, six duplications and more than 25 de novo structural rearrangements. Our study is not only essential for informing functional studies of the Tc1 mouse but also (1) presents for the first time a detailed sequence analysis of the effects of gamma radiation on an entire human chromosome, which gives some mechanistic insight into the effects of radiation damage on DNA, and (2) overcomes specific technical difficulties of assaying a human chromosome on a mouse background where highly conserved sequences may confound the analysis. Sequence data generated in this study is deposited in the ENA database, Study Accession number: ERP000439.