Snf2l regulates Foxg1-dependent progenitor cell expansion in the developing brain.
ABSTRACT: Balancing progenitor cell self-renewal and differentiation is essential for brain development and is regulated by the activity of chromatin remodeling complexes. Nevertheless, linking chromatin changes to specific pathways that control cortical histogenesis remains a challenge. Here we identify a genetic interaction between the chromatin remodeler Snf2l and Foxg1, a key regulator of neurogenesis. Snf2l mutant mice exhibit forebrain hypercellularity arising from increased Foxg1 expression, increased progenitor cell expansion, and delayed differentiation. We demonstrate that Snf2l binds to the Foxg1 locus at midneurogenesis and that the phenotype is rescued by reducing Foxg1 dosage, thus revealing that Snf2l and Foxg1 function antagonistically to regulate brain size.
Project description:Alterations in the homeostasis of either cortical progenitor pool, namely the apically located radial glial (RG) cells or the basal intermediate progenitors (IPCs) can severely impair cortical neuron production. Such changes are reflected by microcephaly and are often associated with cognitive defects. Genes encoding epigenetic regulators are a frequent cause of intellectual disability and many have been shown to regulate progenitor cell growth, including our inactivation of the Smarca1 gene encoding Snf2l, which is one of two ISWI mammalian orthologs. Loss of the Snf2l protein resulted in dysregulation of Foxg1 and IPC proliferation leading to macrocephaly. Here we show that inactivation of the closely related Smarca5 gene encoding the Snf2h chromatin remodeler is necessary for embryonic IPC expansion and subsequent specification of callosal projection neurons. Telencephalon-specific Smarca5 cKO embryos have impaired cell cycle kinetics and increased cell death, resulting in fewer Tbr2+ and FoxG1+ IPCs by mid-neurogenesis. These deficits give rise to adult mice with a dramatic reduction in Satb2+ upper layer neurons, and partial agenesis of the corpus callosum. Mice survive into adulthood but molecularly display reduced expression of the clustered protocadherin genes that may further contribute to altered dendritic arborization and a hyperactive behavioral phenotype. Our studies provide novel insight into the developmental function of Snf2h-dependent chromatin remodeling processes during brain development.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Mutations in genes whose products modify chromatin structure have been recognized as a cause of X-linked mental retardation (XLMR). These genes encode proteins that regulate DNA methylation (MeCP2), modify histones (RSK2 and JARID1C), and remodel nucleosomes through ATP hydrolysis (ATRX). Thus, genes encoding other chromatin modifying proteins should also be considered as disease candidate genes. In this work, we have characterized the SNF2L gene, encoding an ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling protein of the ISWI family, and sequenced the gene in patients from 12 XLMR families linked to Xq25-26. METHODS: We used an in silico and RT-PCR approach to fully characterize specific SNF2L isoforms. Mutation screening was performed in 12 patients from individual families with syndromic or non-syndromic XLMR. We sequenced each of the 25 exons encompassing the entire coding region, complete 5' and 3' untranslated regions, and consensus splice-sites. RESULTS: The SNF2L gene spans 77 kb and is encoded by 25 exons that undergo alternate splicing to generate several distinct transcripts. Specific isoforms are generated through the alternate use of exons 1 and 13, and by the use of alternate donor splice sites within exon 24. Alternate splicing within exon 24 removes a NLS sequence and alters the subcellular distribution of the SNF2L protein. We identified 3 single nucleotide polymorphisms but no mutations in our 12 patients. CONCLUSION: Our results demonstrate that there are numerous splice variants of SNF2L that are expressed in multiple cell types and which alter subcellular localization and function. SNF2L mutations are not a cause of XLMR in our cohort of patients, although we cannot exclude the possibility that regulatory mutations might exist. Nonetheless, SNF2L remains a candidate for XLMR localized to Xq25-26, including the Shashi XLMR syndrome.
Project description:Illuminating the molecular identity and regulation of early progenitor cells in the olfactory sensory epithelium represents an important challenge in the field of neural development. We show in both mouse and zebrafish that the winged helix transcription factor Foxg1 is expressed in an early progenitor population of the olfactory placode. In the mouse, Foxg1 is first expressed throughout the olfactory placode but later becomes restricted to the ventrolateral olfactory epithelium. The essential role of Foxg1 in olfactory development is demonstrated by the strikingly severe phenotype of Foxg1 knock-out mice: older embryos have no recognizable olfactory structures, including epithelium, bulb, or vomeronasal organs. Initially, a small number of olfactory progenitors are specified but show defects in both proliferation and differentiation. Similarly, antisense RNA knockdown of Foxg1 expression in the zebrafish shows a reduction in the number of neurons and mitotic cells in olfactory rosettes, mirroring the phenotype seen in the mouse Foxg1 null mutant. Using mosaic analysis in the zebrafish, we show that Foxg1 is required cell-autonomously for the production of mature olfactory receptor neurons. Therefore, we identified an evolutionarily conserved requirement for Foxg1 in the development of the vertebrate olfactory system.
Project description:SNF2L, an ATPase chromatin remodeling gene nearly ubiquitously expressed in diverse tissues, cancers, and derived cell lines, contributes to the chromatin remodeling complex that facilitates transcription. Because of this near ubiquitous expression, it has not been exploited as a cancer therapeutic target. However, in a recent study, we found that highly malignant cancer cells, although expressing SNF2L at similar levels as their normal counterparts, were sensitive to its knockdown. Only the highly malignant (HM) lines showed significant growth inhibition, DNA damage, a DNA damage response, and phosphorylation of checkpoint proteins and marked apoptosis. In studying SNF2L, we discovered a novel truncated isoform, SNF2LT which, when compared to full length SNF2L, lacked three important domains: HAND, SANT and SLIDE. Although truncated isoforms usually have antagonistic functions to their parental molecule, here SNF2LT knockdown had similar effects to the knockdown of its parental molecule, SNF2L, of inducing DNA damage, a DNA damage response, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis selectively in cancer cell lines. However dual SNF2L and SNF2LT knockdown, while inducing DNA damage, did not result in a DNA damage response, a cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. In fact HM lines subjected to dual knockdown paradoxically exhibited sustained cell growth. Our findings indicate that the ratio of SNF2L to its isoform tightly regulates the cancer cell's response to DNA damage. Cancer cell lines which endogenously express low levels of both SNF2L and its isoform mimic the situation of dual knockdown and permit DNA damage which is allowed to propagate unchecked.
Project description:ISWI is an evolutionarily conserved ATPase that catalyzes nucleosome remodeling in different macromolecular complexes. Two mammalian ISWI orthologs, SNF2H and SNF2L, are thought to have specialized functions despite their high sequence similarity. To date, the function of SNF2L in human cells has not been a focus of research. Newly established specific monoclonal antibodies and selective RNA interference protocols have now enabled a comprehensive characterization of loss-of-function phenotypes in human cells. In contrast to earlier results, we found SNF2L to be broadly expressed in primary human tissues. Depletion of SNF2L in HeLa cells led to enhanced proliferation and increased migration. These phenomena were explained by transcriptome profiling, which identified SNF2L as a modulator of the Wnt signaling network. The cumulative effects of SNF2L depletion on gene expression portray the cell in a state of activated Wnt signaling characterized by increased proliferation and chemotactic locomotion. Accordingly, high levels of SNF2L expression in normal melanocytes contrast with undetectable expression in malignant melanoma. In summary, our data document an inverse relationship between SNF2L expression and features characteristic of malignant cells.
Project description:Chromatin remodeling complexes can translocate nucleosomes along the DNA in an ATP-dependent manner. Here, we studied autofluorescent protein constructs of the human ISWI family members Snf2H, Snf2L, the catalytically inactive Snf2L+13 splice variant, and the accessory Acf1 subunit in living human and mouse cells by fluorescence microscopy/spectroscopy. Except for Snf2L, which was not detected in the U2OS cell line, the endogenous ISWI proteins were abundant at nuclear concentrations between 0.14 and 0.83 ?M. A protein interaction analysis showed the association of multimeric Snf2H and Acf1 into a heterotetramer or higher-order ACF complex. During the G1/2 cell cycle phase, Snf2H and Snf2L displayed average residence times <150 ms in the chromatin-bound state. The comparison of active and inactive Snf2H/Snf2L indicated that an immobilized fraction potentially involved in active chromatin remodeling comprised only 1-3%. This fraction was largely increased at replication foci in S phase or at DNA repair sites. To rationalize these findings we propose that ISWI remodelers operate via a "continuous sampling" mechanism: The propensity of nucleosomes to be translocated is continuously tested in transient binding reactions. Most of these encounters are unproductive and efficient remodeling requires an increased binding affinity to chromatin. Due to the relatively high intranuclear remodeler concentrations cellular response times for repositioning a given nucleosome were calculated to be in the range of tens of seconds to minutes.
Project description:Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and deadly malignant brain cancer, with a median survival of <2 years. GBM displays a cellular complexity that includes brain tumour-initiating cells (BTICs), which are considered as potential key targets for GBM therapies. Here we show that the transcription factors FOXG1 and Groucho/TLE are expressed in poorly differentiated astroglial cells in human GBM specimens and in primary cultures of GBM-derived BTICs, where they form a complex. FOXG1 knockdown in BTICs causes downregulation of neural stem/progenitor and proliferation markers, increased replicative senescence, upregulation of astroglial differentiation genes and decreased BTIC-initiated tumour growth after intracranial transplantation into host mice. These effects are phenocopied by Groucho/TLE knockdown or dominant inhibition of the FOXG1:Groucho/TLE complex. These results provide evidence that transcriptional programmes regulated by FOXG1 and Groucho/TLE are important for BTIC-initiated brain tumour growth, implicating FOXG1 and Groucho/TLE in GBM tumourigenesis.
Project description:Rett syndrome is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that is mainly caused by mutations in MECP2. However, mutations in FOXG1 cause a less frequent form of atypical Rett syndrome, called FOXG1 syndrome. FOXG1 is a key transcription factor crucial for forebrain development, where it maintains the balance between progenitor proliferation and neuronal differentiation. Using genome-wide small RNA sequencing and quantitative proteomics, we identified that FOXG1 affects the biogenesis of miR200b/a/429 and interacts with the ATP-dependent RNA helicase, DDX5/p68. Both FOXG1 and DDX5 associate with the microprocessor complex, whereby DDX5 recruits FOXG1 to DROSHA. RNA-Seq analyses of Foxg1cre/+ hippocampi and N2a cells overexpressing miR200 family members identified cAMP-dependent protein kinase type II-beta regulatory subunit (PRKAR2B) as a target of miR200 in neural cells. PRKAR2B inhibits postsynaptic functions by attenuating protein kinase A (PKA) activity; thus, increased PRKAR2B levels may contribute to neuronal dysfunctions in FOXG1 syndrome. Our data suggest that FOXG1 regulates PRKAR2B expression both on transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels.
Project description:The olfactory epithelium (OE) of the mouse is an excellent model system for studying principles of neural stem cell biology because of its well-defined neuronal lineage and its ability to regenerate throughout life. To approach the molecular mechanisms of stem cell regulation in the OE, we have focused on Foxg1, also known as brain factor 1, which is a member of the Forkhead transcription factor family. Foxg1(-/-) mice show major defects in the OE at birth, suggesting that Foxg1 plays an important role in OE development. We find that Foxg1 is expressed in cells within the basal compartment of the OE, the location where OE stem and progenitor cells are known to reside. Since FoxG1 is known to regulate proliferation of neuronal progenitor cells during telencephalon development, we performed bromodeoxyuridine pulse-chase labeling of Sox2-expressing neural stem cells during primary OE neurogenesis. We found the percentage of Sox2-expressing cells that retained bromodeoxyuridine was twice as high in Foxg1(-/-) OE cells as in the wild type, suggesting that these cells are delayed and/or halted in their development in the absence of Foxg1. Our findings suggest that the proliferation and/or subsequent differentiation of Sox2-expressing neural stem cells in the OE is regulated by Foxg1.
Project description:More than one hundred distinct gene hemizygosities are specifically linked to epilepsy, mental retardation, autism, schizophrenia and neuro-degeneration. Radical repair of these gene deficits via genome engineering is hardly feasible. The same applies to therapeutic stimulation of the spared allele by artificial transactivators. Small activating RNAs (saRNAs) offer an alternative, appealing approach. As a proof-of-principle, here we tested this approach on the Rett syndrome-linked, haploinsufficient, Foxg1 brain patterning gene. We selected a set of artificial small activating RNAs (saRNAs) upregulating it in neocortical precursors and their derivatives. Expression of these effectors achieved a robust biological outcome. saRNA-driven activation (RNAa) was limited to neural cells which normally express Foxg1 and did not hide endogenous gene tuning. saRNAs recognized target chromatin through a ncRNA stemming from it. Gene upregulation required Ago1 and was associated to RNApolII enrichment throughout the Foxg1 locus. Finally, saRNA delivery to murine neonatal brain replicated Foxg1-RNAa in vivo.