Fragile X mental retardation protein regulates new neuron differentiation in the adult olfactory bulb.
ABSTRACT: The fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) is an RNA-binding protein essential for multiple aspects of neuronal mRNA metabolism. Its absence leads to the fragile X syndrome, the most prevalent genetic form of mental retardation. The anatomical landmark of the disease, also present in the Fmr1 knock-out (KO) mice, is the hyperabundance of immature-looking lengthened dendritic spines. We used the well known continuous production of adult-born granule cells (GCs) in the mouse olfactory bulb (OB) to analyze the consequences of Fmrp loss on the differentiation of GCs. Morphological analysis of GCs in the Fmr1 KO mice showed an increase in spine density without a change in spine length. We developed an RNA interference strategy to cell-autonomously mutate Fmr1 in a wild-type OB network. Mutated GCs displayed an increase in spine density and spine length. Detailed analysis of the spines through immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, and electrophysiology surprisingly showed that, despite these abnormalities, spines receive normal glutamatergic synapses, and thus that mutated adult-born neurons are synaptically integrated into the OB circuitry. Time-course analysis of the spine defects showed that Fmrp cell-autonomously downregulates the level and rate of spine production and limits their overgrowth. Finally, we report that Fmrp does not regulate dendritogenesis in standard conditions but is necessary for activity-dependent dendritic remodeling. Overall, our study of Fmrp in the context of adult neurogenesis has enabled us to carry out a precise dissection of the role of Fmrp in neuronal differentiation and underscores its pleiotropic involvement in both spinogenesis and dendritogenesis.
Project description:Silencing of fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene and loss of fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) cause fragile X syndrome (FXS), a genetic disorder characterized by intellectual disability and autistic behaviors. FMRP is an mRNA-binding protein regulating neuronal translation of target mRNAs. Abnormalities in actin-rich dendritic spines are major neuronal features in FXS, but the molecular mechanism and identity of FMRP targets mediating this phenotype remain largely unknown. Cytoplasmic FMR1-interacting protein 2 (Cyfip2) was identified as an interactor of FMRP, and its mRNA is a highly ranked FMRP target in mouse brain. Importantly, Cyfip2 is a component of WAVE regulatory complex, a key regulator of actin cytoskeleton, suggesting that Cyfip2 could be implicated in the dendritic spine phenotype of FXS. Here, we generated and characterized Cyfip2-mutant (Cyfip2(+/-)) mice. We found that Cyfip2(+/-) mice exhibited behavioral phenotypes similar to Fmr1-null (Fmr1(-/y)) mice, an animal model of FXS. Synaptic plasticity and dendritic spines were normal in Cyfip2(+/-) hippocampus. However, dendritic spines were altered in Cyfip2(+/-) cortex, and the dendritic spine phenotype of Fmr1(-/y) cortex was aggravated in Fmr1(-/y); Cyfip2(+/-) double-mutant mice. In addition to the spine changes at basal state, metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR)-induced dendritic spine regulation was impaired in both Fmr1(-/y) and Cyfip2(+/-) cortical neurons. Mechanistically, mGluR activation induced mRNA translation-dependent increase of Cyfip2 in wild-type cortical neurons, but not in Fmr1(-/y) or Cyfip2(+/-) neurons. These results suggest that misregulation of Cyfip2 function and its mGluR-induced expression contribute to the neurobehavioral phenotypes of FXS.
Project description:Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) is the major cause of inherited mental retardation and the leading genetic cause of Autism spectrum disorders. FXS is caused by mutations in the Fragile X Mental Retardation 1 (Fmr1) gene, which results in transcriptional silencing of Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein (FMRP). To elucidate cellular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of FXS, we compared dendritic spines in the hippocampal CA1 region of adult wild-type (WT) and Fmr1 knockout (Fmr1-KO) mice. Using diolistic labeling, confocal microscopy, and three-dimensional electron microscopy, we show a significant increase in the diameter of secondary dendrites, an increase in dendritic spine density, and a decrease in mature dendritic spines in adult Fmr1-KO mice. While WT and Fmr1-KO mice had the same mean density of spines, the variance in spine density was three times greater in Fmr1-KO mice. Reduced astrocyte participation in the tripartite synapse and less mature post-synaptic densities were also found in Fmr1-KO mice. We investigated whether the increase in synaptic spine density was associated with altered synaptic pruning during development. Our data are consistent with reduced microglia-mediated synaptic pruning in the CA1 region of Fmr1-KO hippocampi when compared with WT littermates at postnatal day 21, which is the peak period of synaptic pruning in the mouse hippocampus. Collectively, these results support abnormal synaptogenesis and synaptic remodeling in mice deficient in FMRP. Deficits in the maturation and distribution of synaptic spines on dendrites of CA1 hippocampal neurons may play a role in the intellectual disabilities associated with FXS.
Project description:Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder caused by silencing of the FMR1 gene and subsequent loss of its protein product, fragile X retardation protein (FMRP). One of the most robust neuropathological findings in post-mortem human FXS and Fmr1 KO mice is the abnormal increase in dendritic spine densities, with the majority of spines showing an elongated immature morphology. However, the exact mechanisms of how FMRP can regulate dendritic spine development are still unclear. Abnormal dendritic spines can result from disturbances of multiple factors during neurodevelopment, such as alterations in neuron numbers, position and glial cells. In this study, we undertook a comprehensive histological analysis of the cerebral cortex in Fmr1 KO mice. They displayed significantly fewer neuron and PV-interneuron numbers, along with altered cortical lamination patterns. In terms of glial cells, Fmr1 KO mice exhibited an increase in Olig2-oligodendrocytes, which corresponded to the abnormally higher myelin expression in the corpus callosum. Iba1-microglia were significantly reduced but GFAP-astrocyte numbers and intensity were elevated. Using primary astrocytes derived from KO mice, we further demonstrated the presence of astrogliosis characterized by an increase in GFAP expression and astrocyte hypertrophy. Our findings provide important information on the cortical architecture of Fmr1 KO mice, and insights towards possible mechanisms associated with FXS.
Project description:Fragile X syndrome (FXS) causes mental impairment and autism through transcriptional silencing of the Fmr1 gene, resulting in the loss of the RNA-binding protein fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP). Cortical pyramidal neurons in affected individuals and Fmr1 knock-out (KO) mice have an increased density of dendritic spines. The mutant mice also show defects in synaptic and experience-dependent circuit plasticity, which are known to be mediated in part by dendritic spine dynamics. We used in vivo time-lapse imaging with two-photon microscopy through cranial windows in male and female neonatal mice to test the hypothesis that dynamics of dendritic protrusions are altered in KO mice during early postnatal development. We find that layer 2/3 neurons from wild-type mice exhibit a rapid decrease in dendritic spine dynamics during the first 2 postnatal weeks, as immature filopodia are replaced by mushroom spines. In contrast, KO mice show a developmental delay in the downregulation of spine turnover and in the transition from immature to mature spine subtypes. Blockade of metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) signaling, which reverses some adult phenotypes of KO mice, accentuated this immature protrusion phenotype in KO mice. Thus, absence of FMRP delays spine stabilization and dysregulated mGluR signaling in FXS may partially normalize this early synaptic defect.
Project description:Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) is the most common form of inherited mental retardation. The neuroanatomical phenotype of adult FXS patients, as well as adult Fmr1 knockout (KO) mice, includes elevated dendritic spine density and a spine morphology profile in neocortex that resembles younger individuals. Developmental studies in mouse neocortex have revealed a dynamic phenotype that varies with age, especially during the period of synaptic pruning. Here we investigated the hippocampal dentate gyrus to determine if the FXS spine phenotype is similarly tied to periods of maturation and pruning in this brain region. We used high-voltage electron microscopy to characterize Golgi-stained spines along granule cell dendrites in Fmr1 KO and wildtype (WT) mouse dentate gyrus at postnatal days 15, 21, 30, and 60. In contrast to neocortex, dendritic spine density was higher in Fmr1 KO mice across development. Interestingly, neither genotype showed specific phases of synaptogenesis or pruning, potentially explaining the phenotypic differences from neocortex. Similarly, although the KO mice showed a more immature morphological phenotype overall than WT (higher proportion of thin headed spines, lower proportion of mushroom and stubby spines), both genotypes showed gradual development, rather than impairments during specific phases of maturation. Finally, spine length showed a complex developmental pattern that differs from other brain regions examined, suggesting dynamic regulation by FMRP and other brain region-specific proteins. These findings shed new light on FMRP's role in development and highlight the need for new techniques to further understand the mechanisms by which FMRP affects synaptic maturation.
Project description:Fragile X syndrome (FXS), the most common genetic form of mental retardation and autism, is caused by loss-of-function mutations in an RNA-binding protein, Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein (FMRP). Neurons from patients and the mouse Fmr1 knockout (KO) model are characterized by an excess of dendritic spines, suggesting a deficit in excitatory synapse elimination. In response to neuronal activity, myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) transcription factors induce robust synapse elimination. Here, we demonstrate that MEF2 activation fails to eliminate functional or structural excitatory synapses in hippocampal neurons from Fmr1 KO mice. Similarly, inhibition of endogenous MEF2 increases synapse number in wild-type but not Fmr1 KO neurons. MEF2-dependent synapse elimination is rescued in Fmr1 KO neurons by acute postsynaptic expression of wild-type but not RNA-binding mutants of FMRP. Our results reveal that active MEF2 and FMRP function together in an acute, cell-autonomous mechanism to eliminate excitatory synapses.
Project description:Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common type of mental retardation attributable to a single-gene mutation. It is caused by FMR1 gene silencing and the consequent loss of its protein product, fragile X mental retardation protein. Fmr1 global knockout (KO) mice recapitulate many behavioral and synaptic phenotypes associated with FXS. Abundant evidence suggests that astrocytes are important contributors to neurological diseases. This study investigates astrocytic contributions to the progression of synaptic abnormalities and learning impairments associated with FXS.Taking advantage of the Cre-lox system, we generated and characterized mice in which fragile X mental retardation protein is selectively deleted or exclusively expressed in astrocytes. We performed in vivo two-photon imaging to track spine dynamics/morphology along dendrites of neurons in the motor cortex and examined associated behavioral defects.We found that adult astrocyte-specific Fmr1 KO mice displayed increased spine density in the motor cortex and impaired motor-skill learning. The learning defect coincided with a lack of enhanced spine dynamics in the motor cortex that normally occurs in response to motor skill acquisition. Although spine density was normal at 1 month of age in astrocyte-specific Fmr1 KO mice, new spines formed at an elevated rate. Furthermore, fragile X mental retardation protein expression in only astrocytes was insufficient to rescue most spine or behavioral defects.Our work suggests a joint astrocytic-neuronal contribution to FXS pathogenesis and reveals that heightened spine formation during adolescence precedes the overabundance of spines and behavioral defects found in adult Fmr1 KO mice.
Project description:Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common inherited form of mental retardation and is caused by transcriptional inactivation of the X-linked fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene. FXS is associated with increased density and abnormal morphology of dendritic spines, the postsynaptic sites of the majority of excitatory synapses. To better understand how lack of the FMR1 gene function affects spine development and plasticity, we examined spine formation and elimination of layer 5 pyramidal neurons in the whisker barrel cortex of Fmr1 KO mice with a transcranial two-photon imaging technique. We found that the rates of spine formation and elimination over days to weeks were significantly higher in both young and adult KO mice compared with littermate controls. The heightened spine turnover in KO mice was due to the existence of a larger pool of "short-lived" new spines in KO mice than in controls. Furthermore, we found that the formation of new spines and the elimination of existing ones were less sensitive to modulation by sensory experience in KO mice. These results indicate that the loss of Fmr1 gene function leads to ongoing overproduction of transient spines in the primary somatosensory cortex. The insensitivity of spine formation and elimination to sensory alterations in Fmr1 KO mice suggest that the developing synaptic circuits may not be properly tuned by sensory stimuli in FXS.
Project description:Fragile X syndrome is caused by the absence of functional fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP), an RNA binding protein. The molecular mechanism of aberrant protein synthesis in fmr1 KO mice is closely associated with the role of FMRP in mRNA transport, delivery, and local protein synthesis. We show that GFP-labeled Fmr1 and CaMKIIalpha mRNAs undergo decelerated motion at 0-40 min after group I mGluR stimulation, and later recover at 40-60 min. Then we investigate targeting of mRNAs associated with FMRP after neuronal stimulation. We find that FMRP is synthesized closely adjacent to stimulated mGluR5 receptors. Moreover, in WT neurons, CaMKIIalpha mRNA can be delivered and translated in dendritic spines within 10 min in response to group I mGluR stimulation, whereas KO neurons fail to show this response. These data suggest that FMRP can mediate spatial mRNA delivery for local protein synthesis in response to synaptic stimulation.
Project description:Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes intellectual disability, as well as the leading monogenic cause of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), in which neurons show aberrant dendritic spine structure. The reduction/absence of the functional FMRP protein, coded by the X-linked Fmr1 gene in humans, is responsible for the syndrome. Targets of FMRP, CLSTN1, and ICAM5, play critical roles in the maturation of dendritic spines, synapse formation and synaptic plasticity. However, the implication of CLSTN1 and ICAM5 in dendritic spine abnormalities and the underlying neuropathologic processes in FXS remain uninvestigated. In this study, we demonstrated that CLSTN1 co-localizes and co-transports with ICAM5 in cultured cortical neurons. Also we showed that shRNA-mediated downregulation of CLSTN1 in cultured WT neurons increases ICAM5 on the surface of synaptic membrane, subsequently affecting the maturation of dendritic spines. Whereas, normalization of CLSTN1 level in Fmr1 KO neurons reduces ICAM5 abundance and rescues impaired dendritic spine phenotypes. Most importantly, CLSTN1 protein is reduced in the postnatal medial prefrontal cortex of Fmr1 KO mice, which is correlated with increased ICAM5 levels on the surface of synapses and excessive filopodia-like spines. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that CLSTN1 plays a critical role in dendritic spine formation and maturation in FXS by regulating ICAM5 redistribution.