Phenotypic outcomes in Mouse and Human Foxc1 dependent Dandy-Walker cerebellar malformation suggest shared mechanisms.
ABSTRACT: FOXC1 loss contributes to Dandy-Walker malformation (DWM), a common human cerebellar malformation. Previously, we found that complete Foxc1 loss leads to aberrations in proliferation, neuronal differentiation and migration in the embryonic mouse cerebellum (Haldipur et al., 2014). We now demonstrate that hypomorphic Foxc1 mutant mice have granule and Purkinje cell abnormalities causing subsequent disruptions in postnatal cerebellar foliation and lamination. Particularly striking is the presence of a partially formed posterior lobule which echoes the posterior vermis DW 'tail sign' observed in human imaging studies. Lineage tracing experiments in Foxc1 mutant mouse cerebella indicate that aberrant migration of granule cell progenitors destined to form the posterior-most lobule causes this unique phenotype. Analyses of rare human del chr 6p25 fetal cerebella demonstrate extensive phenotypic overlap with our Foxc1 mutant mouse models, validating our DWM models and demonstrating that many key mechanisms controlling cerebellar development are likely conserved between mouse and human.
Project description:Dandy-Walker malformation (DWM), the most common human cerebellar malformation, has only one characterized associated locus. Here we characterize a second DWM-linked locus on 6p25.3, showing that deletions or duplications encompassing FOXC1 are associated with cerebellar and posterior fossa malformations including cerebellar vermis hypoplasia (CVH), mega-cisterna magna (MCM) and DWM. Foxc1-null mice have embryonic abnormalities of the rhombic lip due to loss of mesenchyme-secreted signaling molecules with subsequent loss of Atoh1 expression in vermis. Foxc1 homozygous hypomorphs have CVH with medial fusion and foliation defects. Human FOXC1 heterozygous mutations are known to affect eye development, causing a spectrum of glaucoma-associated anomalies (Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome, ARS; MIM no. 601631). We report the first brain imaging data from humans with FOXC1 mutations and show that these individuals also have CVH. We conclude that alteration of FOXC1 function alone causes CVH and contributes to MCM and DWM. Our results highlight a previously unrecognized role for mesenchyme-neuroepithelium interactions in the mid-hindbrain during early embryogenesis.
Project description:Heterozygous deletions encompassing the ZIC1;ZIC4 locus have been identified in a subset of individuals with the common cerebellar birth defect Dandy-Walker malformation (DWM). Deletion of Zic1 and Zic4 in mice produces both cerebellar size and foliation defects similar to human DWM, confirming a requirement for these genes in cerebellar development and providing a model to delineate the developmental basis of this clinically important congenital malformation. Here, we show that reduced cerebellar size in Zic1 and Zic4 mutants results from decreased postnatal granule cell progenitor proliferation. Through genetic and molecular analyses, we show that Zic1 and Zic4 have Shh-dependent function promoting proliferation of granule cell progenitors. Expression of the Shh-downstream genes Ptch1, Gli1 and Mycn was downregulated in Zic1/4 mutants, although Shh production and Purkinje cell gene expression were normal. Reduction of Shh dose on the Zic1(+/-);Zic4(+/-) background also resulted in cerebellar size reductions and gene expression changes comparable with those observed in Zic1(-/-);Zic4(-/-) mice. Zic1 and Zic4 are additionally required to pattern anterior vermis foliation. Zic mutant folial patterning abnormalities correlated with disrupted cerebellar anlage gene expression and Purkinje cell topography during late embryonic stages; however, this phenotype was Shh independent. In Zic1(+/-);Zic4(+/-);Shh(+/-), we observed normal cerebellar anlage patterning and foliation. Furthermore, cerebellar patterning was normal in both Gli2-cko and Smo-cko mutant mice, where all Shh function was removed from the developing cerebellum. Thus, our data demonstrate that Zic1 and Zic4 have both Shh-dependent and -independent roles during cerebellar development and that multiple developmental disruptions underlie Zic1/4-related DWM.
Project description:Dandy-Walker malformation (DWM) is a rare congenital malformation defined by hypoplasia of the cerebellar vermis and cystic dilatation of the fourth ventricle. Oligophrenin-1 is mutated in X-linked intellectual disability with or without cerebellar hypoplasia. Here, we report a Japanese DWM patient carrying a novel intragenic 13.5-kb deletion in OPHN1 ranging from exon 11-15. This is the first report of an OPHN1 deletion in a Japanese patient with DWM.
Project description:Primary cilia defects result in a group of related pleiotropic malformation syndromes known as ciliopathies, often characterised by cerebellar developmental and foliation defects. Here, we describe the cerebellar anatomical and signalling defects in the Tmem67tm1(Dgen)/H knockout mouse. At mid-gestation, Tmem67 mutant cerebella were hypoplastic and had aberrantly high canonical Wnt/?-catenin signalling, proliferation and apoptosis. Later in development, mutant cerebellar hemispheres had severe foliation defects and inferior lobe malformation, characterized by immature Purkinje cells (PCs). Early postnatal Tmem67 mutant cerebellum had disrupted ciliogenesis and reduced responsiveness to Shh signalling. Transcriptome profiling of Tmem67 mutant cerebella identified ectopic increased expression of homeobox-type transcription factors (Hoxa5, Hoxa4, Hoxb5 and Hoxd3), normally required for early rostral hindbrain patterning. HOXB5 protein levels were increased in the inferior lobe, and increased canonical Wnt signalling, following loss of TMEM67, was dependent on HOXB5. HOXB5 occupancy at the ?-catenin promoter was significantly increased by activation of canonical Wnt signalling in Tmem67-/- mutant cerebellar neurones, suggesting that increased canonical Wnt signalling following mutation or loss of TMEM67 was directly dependent on HOXB5. Our results link dysregulated expression of Hox group genes with ciliary Wnt signalling defects in the developing cerebellum, providing new mechanistic insights into ciliopathy cerebellar hypoplasia phenotypes.
Project description:We present histological and molecular analyses of the developing human cerebellum from 30 days after conception to 9 months after birth. Differences in developmental patterns between humans and mice include spatiotemporal expansion of both ventricular and rhombic lip primary progenitor zones to include subventricular zones containing basal progenitors. The human rhombic lip persists longer through cerebellar development than in the mouse and undergoes morphological changes to form a progenitor pool in the posterior lobule, which is not seen in other organisms, not even in the nonhuman primate the macaque. Disruptions in human rhombic lip development are associated with posterior cerebellar vermis hypoplasia and Dandy-Walker malformation. The presence of these species-specific neural progenitor populations refines our insight into human cerebellar developmental disorders.
Project description:Reactive oxygen species are implicated in age-associated neurodegeneration, although direct in vivo evidence is lacking. We recently showed that mice with a mutation in the Inner Mitochondrial Membrane Peptidase 2-like (Immp2l) gene had elevated levels of mitochondrial superoxide, impaired fertility and age-associated phenotypes, including kyphosis and ataxia. Here we show that ataxia and cerebellar hypoplasia occur in old mutant mice (> 16 months). Cerebellar granule neurons (CGNs) are significantly underrepresented; Purkinje cells and cells in the molecular layer are not affected. Treating mutant mice with the mitochondria-targeted antioxidant SkQ1 from 6 weeks to 21 months protected cerebellar granule neurons. Apoptotic granule neurons were observed in mutant mice but not in age-matched normal control mice or SkQ1-treated mice. Old mutant mice showed increased serum protein carbonyl content, cerebellar 4-hydroxynonenal (HNE), and nitrotyrosine modification compared to old normal control mice. SOD2 expression was increased in Purkinje cells but decreased in granule neurons of old mutant mice. Mitochondrial marker protein VDAC1 also was decreased in CGNs of old mutant mice, suggesting decreased mitochondrial number. SkQ1 treatment decreased HNE and nitrotyrosine modification, and restored SOD2 and VDAC1 expression in CGNs of old mutant mice. Neuronal expression of nitric oxide synthase was increased in cerebella of young mutant mice but decreased in old mutant mice. Our work provides evidence for a causal role of oxidative stress in neurodegeneration of Immp2l mutant mice. The Immp2l mutant mouse model could be valuable in elucidating the role of oxidative stress in age-associated neurodegeneration.
Project description:COUP-TFII (also known as Nr2f2), a member of the nuclear orphan receptor superfamily, is expressed in several regions of the central nervous system (CNS), including the ventral thalamus, hypothalamus, midbrain, pons, and spinal cord. To address the function of COUP-TFII in the CNS, we generated conditional COUP-TFII knockout mice using a tissue-specific NSE-Cre recombinase. Ablation of COUP-TFII in the brain resulted in malformation of the lobule VI in the cerebellum and a decrease in differentiation of cerebellar neurons and cerebellar growth. The decrease in cerebellar growth in NSE(Cre/+)/CII(F/F) mice is due to reduced proliferation and increased apoptosis in granule cell precursors (GCPs). Additional studies demonstrated that insulin like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) expression was reduced in the cerebellum of NSE(Cre/+)/CII(F/F) mice, thereby leading to decreased Akt1 and GSK-3beta activities, and the reduced expression of mTOR. Using ChIP assays, we demonstrated that COUP-TFII was recruited to the promoter region of IGF-1 in a Sp1-dependent manner. In addition, dendritic branching of Purkinje cells was decreased in the mutant mice. Thus, our results indicate that COUP-TFII regulates growth and maturation of the mouse postnatal cerebellum through modulation of IGF-1 expression.
Project description:Smad2 is a critical mediator of TGF-? signals that are known to play an important role in a wide range of biological processes in various cell types. Its role in the development of the CNS, however, is largely unknown. Mice lacking Smad2 in the CNS (Smad2-CNS-KO) were generated by a Cre-loxP approach. These mice exhibited behavioral abnormalities in motor coordination from an early postnatal stage and mortality at approximately 3 weeks of age, suggestive of severe cerebellar dysfunction. Gross observation of Smad2-CNS-KO cerebella demonstrated aberrant foliations in lobule IX and X. Further analyses revealed increased apoptotic cell death, delayed migration and maturation of granule cells, and retardation of dendritic arborization of Purkinje cells. These findings indicate that Smad2 plays a key role in cerebellar development and motor function control.
Project description:The Dandy-Walker malformation (DWM) is one of the commonest congenital cerebellar defects, and can be associated with multiple congenital anomalies and chromosomal syndromes. The occurrence of overlapping 3q deletions including the ZIC1 and ZIC4 genes in few patients, along with data from mouse models, have implicated both genes in the pathogenesis of DWM.Using a SNP-array approach, we recently identified three novel patients carrying heterozygous 3q deletions encompassing ZIC1 and ZIC4. Magnetic resonance imaging showed that only two had a typical DWM, while the third did not present any defect of the DWM spectrum. SNP-array analysis in further eleven children diagnosed with DWM failed to identify deletions of ZIC1-ZIC4. The clinical phenotype of the three 3q deleted patients included multiple congenital anomalies and peculiar facial appearance, related to the localization and extension of each deletion. In particular, phenotypes resulted from the variable combination of three recognizable patterns: DWM (with incomplete penetrance); blepharophimosis, ptosis, and epicanthus inversus syndrome; and Wisconsin syndrome (WS), recently mapped to 3q.Our data indicate that the 3q deletion is a rare defect associated with DWM, and suggest that the hemizygosity of ZIC1-ZIC4 genes is neither necessary nor sufficient per se to cause this condition. Furthermore, based on a detailed comparison of clinical features and molecular data from 3q deleted patients, we propose clinical diagnostic criteria and refine the critical region for WS.
Project description:Cerebellar granule cell precursors (GCPs) and granule cells (GCs) represent good models to study neuronal development. Here, we report that the transcription factor myeloid ectopic viral integration site 1 homolog (Meis1) plays pivotal roles in the regulation of mouse GC development. We found that Meis1 is expressed in GC lineage cells and astrocytes in the cerebellum during development. Targeted disruption of the Meis1 gene specifically in the GC lineage resulted in smaller cerebella with disorganized lobules. Knock-down/knock-out (KO) experiments for Meis1 and in vitro assays showed that Meis1 binds to an upstream sequence of Pax6 to enhance its transcription in GCPs/GCs and also suggested that the Meis1-Pax6 cascade regulates morphology of GCPs/GCs during development. In the conditional KO (cKO) cerebella, many Atoh1-positive GCPs were observed ectopically in the inner external granule layer (EGL) and a similar phenomenon was observed in cultured cerebellar slices treated with a bone morphogenic protein (BMP) inhibitor. Furthermore, expression of Smad proteins and Smad phosphorylation were severely reduced in the cKO cerebella and Meis1-knock-down GCPs cerebella. Reduction of phosphorylated Smad was also observed in cerebellar slices electroporated with a Pax6 knock-down vector. Because it is known that BMP signaling induces Atoh1 degradation in GCPs, these findings suggest that the Meis1-Pax6 pathway increases the expression of Smad proteins to upregulate BMP signaling, leading to degradation of Atoh1 in the inner EGL, which contributes to differentiation from GCPs to GCs. Therefore, this work reveals crucial functions of Meis1 in GC development and gives insights into the general understanding of the molecular machinery underlying neural differentiation from neural progenitors.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT We report that myeloid ectopic viral integration site 1 homolog (Meis1) plays pivotal roles in the regulation of mouse granule cell (GC) development. Here, we show Meis1 is expressed in GC precursors (GCPs) and GCs during development. Our knock-down and conditional knock-out (cKO) experiments and in vitro assays revealed that Meis1 is required for proper cerebellar structure formation and for Pax6 transcription in GCPs and GCs. The Meis1-Pax6 cascade regulates the morphology of GCs. In the cKO cerebella, Smad proteins and bone morphogenic protein (BMP) signaling are severely reduced and Atoh1-expressing GCPs are ectopically detected in the inner external granule layer. These findings suggest that Meis1 regulates degradation of Atoh1 via BMP signaling, contributing to GC differentiation in the inner EGL, and should provide understanding into GC development.