Neural Crest-Specific TSC1 Deletion in Mice Leads to Sclerotic Craniofacial Bone Lesion.
ABSTRACT: Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is an autosomal dominant disorder caused by mutations in either TSC1 or TSC2. TSC has high frequency of osseous manifestations such as sclerotic lesions in the craniofacial region. However, an animal model that replicates TSC craniofacial bone lesions has not yet been described. The roles of Tsc1 and the sequelae of Tsc1 dysfunction in bone are unknown. In this study, we generated a mouse model of TSC with a deletion of Tsc1 in neural crest-derived (NCD) cells that recapitulated the sclerotic craniofacial bone lesions in TSC. Analysis of this mouse model demonstrated that TSC1 deletion led to enhanced mTORC1 signaling in NCD bones and the increase in bone formation is responsible for the aberrantly increased bone mass. Lineage mapping revealed that TSC1 deficient NCD cells overpopulated the NCD bones. Mechanistically, hyperproliferation of osteoprogenitors at an early postnatal stage accounts for the increased osteoblast pool. Intriguingly, early postnatal treatment with rapamycin, an mTORC1 inhibitor, can completely rescue the aberrant bone mass, but late treatment cannot. Our data suggest that enhanced mTOR signaling in NCD cells can increase bone mass through enlargement of the osteoprogenitor pool, which likely explains the sclerotic bone lesion observed in TSC patients.
Project description:Increased mTORC1 signaling from <i>TSC1/TSC2</i> inactivation is found in cancer and causes tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). The role of mesenchymal-derived cells in TSC tumorigenesis was investigated through disruption of <i>Tsc2</i> in craniofacial and limb bud mesenchymal progenitors. Tsc2cKO<sup>Prrx1-cre</sup> mice had shortened lifespans and extensive hamartomas containing abnormal tortuous, dilated vessels prominent in the forelimbs. Abnormalities were blocked by the mTORC1 inhibitor sirolimus. A Tsc2/mTORC1 expression signature identified in Tsc2-deficient fibroblasts was also increased in bladder cancers with <i>TSC1</i>/<i>TSC2</i> mutations in the TCGA database. Signature component <i>Lgals3</i> encoding galectin-3 was increased in Tsc2-deficient cells and serum of Tsc2cKO<sup>Prrx1</sup>-cre mice. Galectin-3 was increased in TSC-related skin tumors, angiomyolipomas, and lymphangioleiomyomatosis with serum levels in patients with lymphangioleiomyomatosis correlating with impaired lung function and angiomyolipoma presence. Our results demonstrate Tsc2-deficient mesenchymal progenitors cause aberrant morphogenic signals, and identify an expression signature including <i>Lgals3</i> relevant for human disease of <i>TSC1/TSC2</i> inactivation and mTORC1 hyperactivity.
Project description:PURPOSE: To determine if sclerotic bone lesions evident at body computed tomography (CT) are of value as a diagnostic criterion of tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) and in the differentiation of TSC with lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) from sporadic LAM. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Informed consent was signed by all patients in this HIPAA-compliant study approved by the institutional review board. Retrospective analysis was performed of the body CT studies of 472 patients: 365 with sporadic LAM, 82 with TSC/LAM, and 25 with TSC. The images were reviewed by using a picture archiving and communication system workstation with bone settings (window width, 1500 HU; window level, 300 HU) and fit-to-screen option. CT image characteristics assessed included shape, size, and distribution of sclerotic bone lesions with subsequent calculation of differences in the frequency of these lesions. RESULTS: Most commonly the sclerotic bone lesions were round, measured 0.3 cm (range, 0.2-3.2), and were distributed throughout the spine. The frequencies differed among the three patient groups Four or more sclerotic bone lesions were detected in all 25 (100%) of those with TSC, with a sensitivity of .89 (72 of 82) and specificity of .97 (355 of 367) in the differentiation of sporadic LAM from TSC/LAM (P < .01). CONCLUSION: The number of sclerotic bone lesions at body CT is of potential value in the diagnosis of TSC and in the differentiation of patients with sporadic LAM from those with TSC/LAM. (c) RSNA, 2010.
Project description:Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) is a disease caused by autosomal dominant mutations in the TSC1 or TSC2 genes, and is characterized by tumor susceptibility, brain lesions, seizures and behavioral impairments. The TSC1 and TSC2 genes encode proteins forming a complex (TSC), which is a major regulator and suppressor of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), a signaling complex that promotes cell growth and proliferation. TSC1/2 loss of heterozygosity (LOH) and the subsequent complete loss of TSC regulatory activity in null cells causes mTORC1 dysregulation and TSC-associated brain lesions or other tissue tumors. However, it is not clear whether TSC1/2 heterozygous brain cells are abnormal and contribute to TSC neuropathology. To investigate this issue, we generated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from TSC patients and unaffected controls, and utilized these to obtain neural progenitor cells (NPCs) and differentiated neurons in vitro. These patient-derived TSC2 heterozygous NPCs were delayed in their ability to differentiate into neurons. Patient-derived progenitor cells also exhibited a modest activation of mTORC1 signaling downstream of TSC, and a marked attenuation of upstream PI3K/AKT signaling. We further show that pharmacologic PI3K or AKT inhibition, but not mTORC1 inhibition, causes a neuronal differentiation delay, mimicking the patient phenotype. Together these data suggest that heterozygous TSC2 mutations disrupt neuronal development, potentially contributing to the disease neuropathology, and that this defect may result from dysregulated PI3K/AKT signaling in neural progenitor cells.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Microglial abnormalities have been reported in pathologic specimens from patients with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), a genetic disorder characterized by epilepsy, intellectual disability, and autism. However, the pathogenic role of microglia in epilepsy in TSC is poorly understood, particularly whether microglia defects may be a primary contributor to epileptogenesis or are secondary to seizures or simply epiphenomena. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that Tsc1 gene inactivation in microglia is sufficient to cause epilepsy in mouse models of TSC. METHODS:Using a chemokine receptor, Cx3cr1, to target microglia, conventional Tsc1Cx3cr1-Cre CKO (conditional knockout) mice and postnatal-inducible Tsc1Cx3cr1-CreER CKO mice were generated and assessed for molecular and histopathologic evidence of microglial abnormalities, mechanistic target of rapamycin 1 (mTORC1) pathway activation, and epilepsy. RESULTS:Tsc1Cx3cr1-Cre CKO mice exhibited a high efficiency of microglia Tsc1 inactivation, mTORC1 activation, increased microglial size and number, and robust epilepsy, which were rapamycin-dependent. However, Cre reporter studies demonstrated that constitutive Cx3cr1 expression affected not only microglia, but also a large percentage of cortical neurons, confounding the role of microglia in epileptogenesis in Tsc1 Cx3cr1-Cre CKO mice. In contrast, postnatal inactivation of Tsc1 utilizing a tamoxifen-inducible Cx3cr1-CreER resulted in a more-selective microglia Tsc1 inactivation with high efficiency, mTORC1 activation, and increased microglial size and number, but no documented epilepsy. SIGNIFICANCE:Microglia abnormalities may contribute to epileptogenesis in the context of neuronal involvement in TSC mouse models, but selective Tsc1 gene inactivation in microglia alone may not be sufficient to cause epilepsy, suggesting that microglia have more supportive roles in the pathogenesis of seizures in TSC.
Project description:Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) is a multiorgan genetic disease that prominently features brain malformations (tubers) with many patients suffering from epilepsy and autism. These malformations typically exhibit neuronal as well as glial cell abnormalities and likely underlie much of the neurological morbidity seen in TSC. Tuber pathogenesis remains poorly understood though upregulation of the mTORC1 signaling pathway in TSC has been consistently demonstrated. Here we address abnormal brain development in TSC by inactivating the mouse Tsc1 gene in embryonic neural progenitor cells. This strategy permits evaluation of the role of the Tsc1 gene in both neuronal as well as glial cell lineages. Tsc1(Emx1-Cre) conditional knockout (CKO) animals die by 25 days of life. Their brains have increased size and contain prominent large cells within the cerebral cortex that have greatly increased mTORC1 signaling and decreased mTORC2 signaling. Severe defects of cortical lamination, enlarged dysmorphic astrocytes and decreased myelination were also found. Tsc1(Emx1-Cre) CKO mice were then treated with rapamycin to see if the premature death and brain abnormalities can be rescued. Postnatal rapamycin treatment completely prevented premature death and largely reversed the glia pathology but not abnormal neuronal lamination. These findings support a model that loss of function of the TSC genes in embryonic neural progenitor cells causes cortical malformations in patients with TSC. The dramatic effect of rapamycin suggests that even with extensive multi-lineage abnormalities, a postnatal therapeutic window may exist for patients with TSC.
Project description:Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a dominantly inherited disease caused by hyperactivation of the mTORC1 pathway and characterized by the development of hamartomas and benign tumors, including in the brain. Among the neurological manifestations associated with TSC, the tumor progression of static subependymal nodules (SENs) into subependymal giant cell astrocytomas (SEGAs) is one of the major causes of morbidity and shortened life expectancy. To date, mouse modeling has failed in reproducing these 2 lesions. Here we report that simultaneous hyperactivation of mTORC1 and Akt pathways by codeletion of Tsc1 and Pten, selectively in postnatal neural stem cells (pNSCs), is required for the formation of bona fide SENs and SEGAs. Notably, both lesions closely recapitulate the pathognomonic morphological and molecular features of the corresponding human abnormalities. The establishment of long-term expanding pNSC lines from mouse SENs and SEGAs made possible the identification of mTORC2 as one of the mediators conferring tumorigenic potential to SEGA pNSCs. Notably, in spite of concurrent Akt hyperactivation in mouse brain lesions, single mTOR inhibition by rapamycin was sufficient to strongly impair mouse SEGA growth. This study provides evidence that, concomitant with mTORC1 hyperactivation, sustained activation of Akt and mTORC2 in pNSCs is a mandatory step for the induction of SENs and SEGAs, and, at the same time, makes available an unprecedented NSC-based in vivo/in vitro model to be exploited for identifying actionable targets in TSC.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a genetic disorder that cause tumors to form in many organs. These lesions may lead to epilepsy, autism, developmental delay, renal, and pulmonary failure. Loss of function mutations in TSC1 and TSC2 genes by aberrant activation of the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTORC1) signaling pathway are the known causes of TSC. Therefore, targeting mTORC1 becomes a most available therapeutic strategy for TSC. Although mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin and Rapalogs have demonstrated exciting results in the recent clinical trials, however, tumors rebound and upon the discontinuation of the mTORC1 inhibition. Thus, understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms responsible for rapamycin-induced cell survival becomes an urgent need. Identification of additional molecular targets and development more effective remission-inducing therapeutic strategies are necessary for TSC patients. RESULTS:We have discovered an Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-evoked positive feedback loop that dampens the efficacy of mTORC1 inhibition. Mechanistically, mTORC1 inhibition increased MEK1-dependent activation of MAPK in TSC-deficient cells. Pharmacological inhibition of MAPK abrogated this feedback loop activation. Importantly, the combinatorial inhibition of mTORC1 and MAPK induces the death of TSC2-deficient cells. CONCLUSIONS:Our results provide a rationale for dual targeting of mTORC1 and MAPK pathways in TSC and other mTORC1 hyperactive neoplasm.
Project description:Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a neurogenetic disorder that leads to elevated mechanistic targeting of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) activity. Cilia can be affected by mTORC1 signaling, and ciliary deficits are associated with neurodevelopmental disorders. Here, we examine whether neuronal cilia are affected in TSC. We show that cortical tubers from TSC patients and mutant mouse brains have fewer cilia. Using high-content image-based assays, we demonstrate that mTORC1 activity inversely correlates with ciliation in TSC1/2-deficient neurons. To investigate the mechanistic relationship between mTORC1 and cilia, we perform a phenotypic screen for mTORC1 inhibitors with TSC1/2-deficient neurons. We identify inhibitors of the heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) that suppress mTORC1 through regulation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt signaling. Pharmacological inhibition of Hsp90 rescues ciliation through downregulation of Hsp27. Our study uncovers the heat-shock machinery as a druggable signaling node to restore mTORC1 activity and cilia due to loss of TSC1/2, and it provides broadly applicable platforms for studying TSC-related neuronal dysfunction.
Project description:Although mTORC1 negatively regulates autophagy in cultured cells, how autophagy impacts mTORC1 signaling, in particular in vivo, is less clear. Here we show that autophagy supports mTORC1 hyperactivation in NSCs lacking Tsc1, thereby promoting defects in NSC maintenance, differentiation, tumourigenesis, and the formation of the neurodevelopmental lesion of Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC). Analysing mice that lack Tsc1 and the essential autophagy gene Fip200 in NSCs we find that TSC-deficient cells require autophagy to maintain mTORC1 hyperactivation under energy stress conditions, likely to provide lipids via lipophagy to serve as an alternative energy source for OXPHOS. In vivo, inhibition of lipophagy or its downstream catabolic pathway reverses defective phenotypes caused by Tsc1-null NSCs and reduces tumorigenesis in mouse models. These results reveal a cooperative function of selective autophagy in coupling energy availability with TSC pathogenesis and suggest a potential new therapeutic strategy to treat TSC patients.