A Novel and Multivalent Role of Pax6 in Cerebellar Development.
ABSTRACT: Pax6 is a prominent gene in brain development. The deletion of Pax6 results in devastated development of eye, olfactory bulb, and cortex. However, it has been reported that the Pax6-null Sey cerebellum only has minor defects involving granule cells despite Pax6 being expressed throughout cerebellar development. The present work has uncovered a requirement of Pax6 in the development of all rhombic lip (RL) lineages. A significant downregulation of Tbr1 and Tbr2 expression is found in the Sey cerebellum, these are cell-specific markers of cerebellar nuclear (CN) neurons and unipolar brush cells (UBCs), respectively. The examination of Tbr1 and Lmx1a immunolabeling and Nissl staining confirmed the loss of CN neurons from the Sey cerebellum. CN neuron progenitors are produced in the mutant but there is an enhanced death of these neurons as shown by increased presence of caspase-3-positive cells. These data indicate that Pax6 regulates the survival of CN neuron progenitors. Furthermore, the analysis of experimental mouse chimeras suggests a cell-extrinsic role of Pax6 in CN neuron survival. For UBCs, using Tbr2 immunolabeling, these cells are significantly reduced in the Sey cerebellum. The loss of UBCs in the mutant is due partly to cell death in the RL and also to the reduced production of progenitors from the RL. These results demonstrate a critical role for Pax6 in regulating the generation and survival of UBCs. This and previous work from our laboratory demonstrate a seminal role of Pax6 in the development of all cerebellar glutamatergic neurons.Pax6 is a key molecule in development. Pax6 is best known as the master control gene in eye development with mutations causing aniridia in humans. Pax6 also plays important developmental roles in the cortex and olfactory bulb. During cerebellar development, Pax6 is robustly expressed in the germinal zone of all glutamatergic neurons [cerebellar nuclear (CN) neurons, granule cells, and unipolar brush cells (UBCs)]. Past work has not found abnormalities in the CN and UBC populations. Our study reveals that the Pax6-null mutation dramatically affects these cells and identifies Pax6 as a key regulator of cell survival in CN neurons and of cell production in UBCs. The present study shows how Pax6 is key to the development of glutamatergic cells in the cerebellum.
Project description:Homeobox gene Tlx3 is known to promote glutamatergic differentiation and is expressed in post-mitotic neurons of CNS. Contrary to this here, we discovered that Tlx3 is expressed in the proliferating progenitors of the external granule layer in the cerebellum, and examined factors that regulate this expression. Using Pax6(-/-)Sey mouse model and molecular interaction studies we demonstrate Pax6 is a key activator of Tlx3 specifically in cerebellum, and induces its expression starting at embryonic day (E)15. By Postnatal day (PN)7, Tlx3 is expressed in a highly restricted manner in the cerebellar granule neurons of the posterior cerebellar lobes, where it is required for the restricted expression of nicotinic cholinergic receptor-?3 subunit (Chrn?3) and other genes involved in formation of synaptic connections and neuronal migration. These results demonstrate a novel role for Tlx3 and indicate that Pax6-Tlx3 expression and interaction is part of a region specific regulatory network in cerebellum and its deregulation during development could possibly lead to Autistic spectral disorders (ASD).
Project description:The Pax6 transcription factor is expressed in cerebellar granule cells and when mutated, as in the Sey/Sey mouse, produces granule cells with disturbed survival and migration and with defects in neurite extension. The impact of Pax6 on other genes in the context of cerebellar development has not been identified. In this study, we performed transcriptome comparisons between wildtype and Pax6-null whole cerebellar tissue at embryonic day (E) 13.5, 15.5 and 18.5 using Affymetrix arrays (U74Av2). Statistical analyses identified 136 differentially regulated transcripts (FDR 0.05, 1.2-fold change cutoff) over time in Pax6-null cerebellar tissue. In parallel we examined the Math1-null granuloprival cerebellum and identified 228 down-regulated transcripts (FDR 0.05, 1.2-fold change cutoff). The intersection of these two microarray datasets produced a total of 21 differentially regulated transcripts. For a subset of the identified transcripts, we used qRT-PCR to validate the microarray data and demonstrated the expression in the rhombic lip lineage and differential expression in Pax6-null cerebellum with in situ hybridisation analysis. The candidate genes identified in this way represent direct or indirect Pax6-downstream genes involved in cerebellar development.
Project description:Math1 is the defining molecule of the cerebellar rhombic lip and Pax6 is downstream in the Math1 pathway. In the present study, we discover that Wntless (Wls) is a novel molecular marker of the cells in the interior face of the rhombic lip throughout normal mouse cerebellar development. Wls expression is found complementary to the expression of Math1 and Pax6, which are localized to the exterior face of the rhombic lip. To determine the interaction between these molecules, we examine the loss-of-Math1 or loss-of-Pax6 in the cerebellum, i.e., the Math1-null and Pax6-null (Sey) mutant cerebella. The presence of Wls-positive cells in the Math1-null rhombic lip indicates that Wls expression is independent of Math1. In the Sey mutant cerebellum, there is an expansion of Wls-expressing cells into regions that are normally colonized by Pax6-expressing cells. The ectopic expression of Wls in the Pax6-null cerebellum suggests a negative interaction between Wls-expressing cells and Pax6-positive cells. These findings suggest that the rhombic lip is dynamically patterned by the expression of Wls, Math1, and Pax6. We also examine five rhombic lip cell markers (Wls, Math1, Pax6, Lmx1a, and Tbr2) to identify four molecularly distinct compartments in the rhombic lip during cerebellar development. The existence of spatial compartmentation in the rhombic lip and the interplay between Wls, Math1, and Pax6 in the rhombic lip provides novel views of early cerebellar development.
Project description:Cerebellum development involves the coordinated production of multiple neuronal cell types. The cerebellar primordium contains two germinative zones, the rhombic lip (RL) and the ventricular zone (VZ), which generate different types of glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons, respectively. What regulates the specification and production of glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons as well as the subtypes for each of these two broad classes remains largely unknown. Here we demonstrate with conditional genetic approaches in mice that SMAD4, a major mediator of BMP and TGF? signaling, is required early in cerebellar development for maintaining the RL and generating subsets of RL-derived glutamatergic neurons, namely neurons of the deep cerebellar nuclei, unipolar brush cells, and the late cohort of granule cell precursors (GCPs). The early cohort of GCPs, despite being deficient for SMAD4, is still generated. In addition, the numbers of GABAergic neurons are reduced in the mutant and the distribution of Purkinje cells becomes abnormal. These studies demonstrate a temporally and spatially restricted requirement for SMAD4 in generating subtypes of cerebellar neurons.
Project description:Homeobox gene Tlx3 is known to promote glutamatergic differentiation and is expressed in post-mitotic neurons of CNS. Contrary to this here, we discovered that Tlx3 is expressed in the proliferating progenitors of the external granule layer in the cerebellum, and examined factors that regulate this expression. Using Pax6-/-Sey mouse model and molecular interaction studies we demonstrate Pax6 is a key activator of Tlx3 specifically in cerebellum, and induces its expression starting at embryonic day (E)15. By Postnatal day (PN)7, Tlx3 is expressed in a highly restricted manner in the cerebellar granule neurons of the posterior cerebellar lobes, where it is required for the restricted expression of nicotinic cholinergic receptor-α3 subunit (Chrnα3) and other genes involved in formation of synaptic connections and neuronal migration. These results demonstrate a novel role for Tlx3 and indicate that Pax6-Tlx3 expression and interaction is part of a region specific regulatory network in cerebellum and its deregulation during development could possibly lead to Autistic spectral disorders (ASD) Anterior and posterior lobes of PN7 mouse cerebellum were isolated separately and differentially expressed genes were identified.
Project description:In most mammals the cochlear nuclear complex (CN) contains a distributed system of granule cells (GCS), whose parallel fiber axons innervate the dorsal cochlear nucleus (DCN). Like their counterpart in cerebellum, CN granules are innervated by mossy fibers of various origins. The GCS is complemented by unipolar brush (UBCs) and Golgi cells, and by stellate and cartwheel cells of the DCN. This cerebellum-like microcircuit modulates the activity of the DCN's main projection neurons, the pyramidal, giant and tuberculoventral neurons, and is thought to improve auditory performance by integrating acoustic and proprioceptive information. In this paper, we focus on the rat UBCs, a chemically heterogeneous neuronal population, using antibodies to calretinin, metabotropic glutamate receptor 1alpha (mGluR1alpha), epidermal growth factor substrate 8 (Eps8) and the transcription factor T-box gene Tbr2 (Tbr2). Eps8 and Tbr2 labeled most of the CN's UBCs, if not the entire population, while calretinin and mGluR1alpha distinguished two largely separate subsets with overlapping distributions. By double labeling with antibodies to Tbr2 and the alpha6 GABA receptor A (GABAA) subunit, we found that UBCs populate all regions of the GCS and occur at remarkably high densities in the DCN and subpeduncular corner, but rarely in the lamina. Although GCS subregions likely share the same microcircuitry, their dissimilar UBC densities suggest they may be functionally distinct. UBCs and granules are also present in regions previously not included in the GCS, namely the rostrodorsal magnocellular portions of ventral cochlear nucleus, vestibular nerve root, trapezoid body, spinal tract and sensory and principal nuclei of the trigeminal nerve, and cerebellar peduncles. The UBC's dendritic brush receives AMPA- and NMDA-mediated input from an individual mossy fiber, favoring singularity of input, and its axon most likely forms several mossy fiber-like endings that target numerous granule cells and other UBCs, as in the cerebellum. The UBCs therefore, may amplify afferent signals temporally and spatially, synchronizing pools of target neurons.
Project description:The cerebellum funnels its entire output through a small number of presumed glutamatergic premotor projection neurons in the deep cerebellar nuclei and GABAergic neurons that feed back to the inferior olive. Here we use transgenic mice selectively expressing green fluorescent protein in glycinergic neurons to demonstrate that many premotor output neurons in the medial cerebellar (fastigial) nuclei are in fact glycinergic, not glutamatergic as previously thought. These neurons exhibit similar firing properties as neighboring glutamatergic neurons and receive direct input from both Purkinje cells and excitatory fibers. Glycinergic fastigial neurons make functional projections to vestibular and reticular neurons in the ipsilateral brainstem, whereas their glutamatergic counterparts project contralaterally. Together, these data suggest that the cerebellum can influence motor outputs via two distinct and complementary pathways.
Project description:The small eye (Sey) mouse is a model of PAX6-aniridia syndrome (aniridia). Aniridia, a congenital ocular disorder caused by heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in PAX6, needs new vision saving therapies. However, high phenotypic variability in Sey mice makes development of such therapies challenging. We hypothesize that genetic background is a major source of undesirable variability in Sey mice. Here we performed a systematic quantitative examination of anatomical, histological, and molecular phenotypes on the inbred C57BL/6J, hybrid B6129F1, and inbred 129S1/SvImJ backgrounds. The Sey allele significantly reduced eye weight, corneal thickness, PAX6 mRNA and protein levels, and elevated blood glucose levels. Surprisingly, Pax6Sey/Sey brains had significantly elevated Pax6 transcripts compared to Pax6+/+ embryos. Genetic background significantly influenced 12/24 measurements, with inbred strains introducing severe ocular and blood sugar phenotypes not observed in hybrid mice. Additionally, significant interactions (epistasis) between Pax6 genotype and genetic background were detected in measurements of eye weight, cornea epithelial thickness and cell count, retinal mRNA levels, and blood glucose levels. The number of epistatic interactions was reduced in hybrid mice. In conclusion, severe phenotypes in the unnatural inbred strains reinforce the value of more naturalistic F1 hybrid mice for the development of therapies for aniridia and other disorders.
Project description:Sublineage diversification of specific neural cell classes occurs in complex as well as simply organized regions of the central and peripheral nervous systems; the significance of the phenomenon, however, remains insufficiently understood. The unipolar brush cells (UBCs) are glutamatergic cerebellar interneurons that occur at high density in vestibulocerebellum. As they are classified into subsets that differ in chemical phenotypes, intrinsic properties, and lobular distribution, they represent a valuable neuronal model to study subclass diversification. In this study, we show that cerebellar UBCs of adult rats and mice form two subclasses-type I and type II UBCs-defined by somatodendritic expression of calretinin (CR), mGluR1?, phospholipases PLC?1 and PLC?4, and diacylglycerol kinase-beta (DGK?). We demonstrate that PLC?1 is associated only with the CR(+) type I UBCs, while PLC?4 and DGK? are exclusively present in mGluR1?(+) type II UBCs. Notably, all PLC?4(+) UBCs, representing about 2/3 of entire UBC population, also express mGluR1?. Furthermore, our data show that the sum of CR(+) type I UBCs and mGluR1?(+) type II UBCs accounts for the entire UBC class identified with Tbr2 immunolabeling. The two UBC subtypes also show a very different albeit somehow overlapping topographical distribution as illustrated by detailed cerebellar maps in this study. Our data not only complement and extend the previous knowledge on the diversity and subclass specificity of the chemical phenotypes within the UBC population, but also provide a new angle to the understanding of the signaling networks in type I and type II UBCs.
Project description:The paired type homeobox 6 (Pax6) transcription factor (TF) regulates multiple aspects of neural stem cell (NSC) and neuron development in the embryonic central nervous system. However, less is known about the role of Pax6 in the maintenance and differentiation of adult NSCs and in adult neurogenesis. Using the +/Sey(Dey) mouse, we have analyzed how Pax6 heterozygosis influences the self-renewal and proliferation of adult olfactory bulb stem cells (aOBSCs). In addition, we assessed its influence on neural differentiation, neuronal incorporation, and cell death in the adult OB, both in vivo and in vitro. Our results indicate that the Pax6 mutation alters Nestin(+)-cell proliferation in vivo, as well as self-renewal, proliferation, and survival of aOBSCs in vitro although a subpopulation of +/Sey(Dey) progenitors is able to expand partially similar to wild-type progenitors. This mutation also impairs aOBSC differentiation into neurons and oligodendrocytes, whereas it increases cell death while preserving astrocyte survival and differentiation. Furthermore, Pax6 heterozygosis causes a reduction in the variety of neurochemical interneuron subtypes generated from aOBSCs in vitro and in the incorporation of newly generated neurons into the OB in vivo. Our findings support an important role of Pax6 in the maintenance of aOBSCs by regulating cell death, self-renewal, and cell fate, as well as in neuronal incorporation into the adult OB. They also suggest that deregulation of the cell cycle machinery and TF expression in aOBSCs which are deficient in Pax6 may be at the origin of the phenotypes observed in this adult NSC population.