RNA localization is a key determinant of neurite-enriched proteome.
ABSTRACT: Protein subcellular localization is fundamental to the establishment of the body axis, cell migration, synaptic plasticity, and a vast range of other biological processes. Protein localization occurs through three mechanisms: protein transport, mRNA localization, and local translation. However, the relative contribution of each process to neuronal polarity remains unknown. Using neurons differentiated from mouse embryonic stem cells, we analyze protein and RNA expression and translation rates in isolated cell bodies and neurites genome-wide. We quantify 7323 proteins and the entire transcriptome, and identify hundreds of neurite-localized proteins and locally translated mRNAs. Our results demonstrate that mRNA localization is the primary mechanism for protein localization in neurites that may account for half of the neurite-localized proteome. Moreover, we identify multiple neurite-targeted non-coding RNAs and RNA-binding proteins with potential regulatory roles. These results provide further insight into the mechanisms underlying the establishment of neuronal polarity.Subcellular localization of RNAs and proteins is important for polarized cells such as neurons. Here the authors differentiate mouse embryonic stem cells into neurons, and analyze the local transcriptome, proteome, and translated transcriptome in their cell bodies and neurites, providing a unique resource for future studies on neuronal polarity.
Project description:During both development and regeneration of the nervous system, neurons display complex growth dynamics, and several neurites compete to become the neuron's single axon. Numerous mathematical and biophysical models have been proposed to explain this competition, which remain experimentally unverified. Large-scale, precise, and repeatable measurements of neurite dynamics have been difficult to perform, since neurons have varying numbers of neurites, which themselves have complex morphologies. To overcome these challenges using a minimal number of primary neurons, we generated repeatable neuronal morphologies on a large scale using laser-patterned micron-wide stripes of adhesive proteins on an otherwise highly non-adherent substrate. By analyzing thousands of quantitative time-lapse measurements of highly reproducible neurite growth dynamics, we show that total neurite growth accelerates until neurons polarize, that immature neurites compete even at very short lengths, and that neuronal polarity exhibits a distinct transition as neurites grow. Proposed neurite growth models agree only partially with our experimental observations. We further show that simple yet specific modifications can significantly improve these models, but still do not fully predict the complex neurite growth behavior. Our high-content analysis puts significant and nontrivial constraints on possible mechanistic models of neurite growth and specification. The methodology presented here could also be employed in large-scale chemical and target-based screens on a variety of complex and subtle phenotypes for therapeutic discoveries using minimal numbers of primary neurons.
Project description:The development of a polarised morphology with multiple dendrites and a single axon is an essential step in the differentiation of neurons. The establishment of neuronal polarity is directed by the sequential activity of the GTPases Rap1B and Cdc42. Rap1B is initially present in all neurites of unpolarised neurons, but becomes restricted to the tip of a single process during the establishment of neuronal polarity where it specifies axonal identity. Here, we show that the ubiquitin ligases Smad ubiquitination regulatory factor-1 (Smurf1) and Smurf2 are essential for neurite growth and neuronal polarity, respectively, and regulate the GTPases Rho and Rap1B in hippocampal neurons. Smurf2 is required for the restriction of Rap1B to a single neurite. Smurf2 ubiquitinates inactive Rap1B and initiates its degradation through the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway (UPS). Degradation of Rap1B restricts it to a single neurite and thereby ensures that neurons extend a single axon.
Project description:Local translation in neurites is a phenomenon that enhances spatial segregation of proteins and their functions away from the cell body, yet it is unclear how local translation varies across neuronal cell types. Further, it is unclear if differences in local translation across cell types simply reflect differences in transcription or if there is also a cell type specific posttranscriptional regulation of the location and translation of specific mRNAs. Most of the mRNAs discovered as locally translated have been identified from hippocampal neurons because their laminar organization facilitates neurite specific dissection and microscopy methods. Given the diversity of neurons across the brain, studies have not yet analyzed how locally translated mRNAs differ across cell types, particularly those with neurites intertwined into other cell types. Here, we used the SynapTRAP method to harvest two broad cell types in the forebrain: GABAergic neurons and pyramidal neurons. While some transcripts overlap, the majority of the local translatome is not shared across these cell types. While most differences are driven by baseline expression levels in the respective cells, some transcripts also evidence cell type specific post transcriptional regulation of localization. Finally, we provide evidence that GABAergic neurons specifically localize mRNAs for peptide neurotransmitters, including somatostatin and cortistatin, suggesting localized production of these key signaling molecules in the neurites of GABAergic neurons. Overall, this work suggests that differences in local translation in neurites across neuronal cell types are poised to contribute substantially to the variability between cells. Overall design: 5 Replicates of 4 sample types, collect from two cell types each in the brain.
Project description:Phosphatidylinositol-(3,4,5)-trisphosphate (PIP3), a product of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, is an important second messenger implicated in signal transduction and membrane transport. In hippocampal neurons, the accumulation of PIP3 at the tip of neurite initiates the axon specification and neuronal polarity formation. We show that guanylate kinase-associated kinesin (GAKIN), a kinesin-like motor protein, directly interacts with a PIP3-interacting protein, PIP3BP, and mediates the transport of PIP3-containing vesicles. Recombinant GAKIN and PIP3BP form a complex on synthetic liposomes containing PIP3 and support the motility of the liposomes along microtubules in vitro. In PC12 cells and cultured hippocampal neurons, transport activity of GAKIN contributes to the accumulation of PIP3 at the tip of neurites. In hippocampal neurons, altered accumulation of PIP3 by overexpression of GAKIN constructs led to the loss of the axonally differentiated neurites. Together, these results suggest that, in neurons, the GAKIN-PIP3BP complex transports PIP3 to the neurite ends and regulates neuronal polarity formation.
Project description:Neuritogenesis is a critical early step in the development and maturation of neurons and neuronal circuits. While extracellular directional cues are known to specify the site and orientation of nascent neurite formation in vivo, little is known about the genetic pathways that block inappropriate neurite emergence in order to maintain proper neuronal polarity. Here we report that the Caenorhabditis elegans orthologues of Van Gogh (vang-1), Prickle (prkl-1), and Dishevelled (dsh-1), core components of planar cell polarity (PCP) signaling, are required in a subset of peripheral motor neurons to restrict neurite emergence to a specific organ axis. In loss-of-function mutants, neurons display supernumerary neurites that extend inappropriately along the orthogonal anteroposterior (A/P) body axis. We show that autonomous and non-autonomous gene activities are required early and persistently to inhibit the formation or consolidation of growth cone protrusions directed away from organ precursor cells. Furthermore, prkl-1 overexpression is sufficient to suppress neurite formation and reorient neuronal polarity in a vang-1- and dsh-1-dependent manner. Our findings suggest a novel role for a PCP-like pathway in maintaining polarized neuronal morphology by inhibiting neuronal responses to extrinsic or intrinsic cues that would otherwise promote extraneous neurite formation.
Project description:As neurons develop, several immature processes (i.e., neurites) grow out of the cell body. Over time, each neuron breaks symmetry when only one of its neurites grows much longer than the rest, becoming an axon. This symmetry breaking is an important step in neurodevelopment, and aberrant symmetry breaking is associated with several neuropsychiatric diseases, including schizophrenia and autism. However, the effects of neurite count in neuronal symmetry breaking have never been studied. Existing models for neuronal polarization disagree: some predict that neurons with more neurites polarize up to several days later than neurons with fewer neurites, while others predict that neurons with different neurite counts polarize synchronously. We experimentally find that neurons with different neurite counts polarize synchronously. We also show that despite the significant differences among the previously proposed models, they all agree with our experimental findings when the expression levels of the proteins responsible for symmetry breaking increase with neurite count. Consistent with these results, we observe that the expression levels of two of these proteins, HRas and shootin1, significantly correlate with neurite count. This coordinated symmetry breaking we observed among neurons with different neurite counts may be important for synchronized polarization of neurons in developing organisms.
Project description:Genetic pathways that regulate nascent neurite formation play a critical role in neuronal morphogenesis. The core planar cell polarity components VANG-1/Van Gogh and PRKL-1/Prickle are involved in blocking inappropriate neurite formation in a subset of motor neurons in C. elegans. A genetic screen for mutants that display supernumerary neurites was performed to identify additional factors involved in this process. This screen identified mutations in fntb-1, the ? subunit of farnesyltransferase. We show that fntb-1 is expressed in neurons and acts cell-autonomously to regulate neurite formation. Prickle proteins are known to be post-translationally modified by farnesylation at their C-terminal CAAX motifs. We show that PRKL-1 can be recruited to the plasma membrane in both a CAAX-dependent and CAAX-independent manner but that PRKL-1 can only inhibit neurite formation in a CAAX-dependent manner.
Project description:Using primary cell culture to screen for changes in neuronal morphology requires specialized analysis software. We developed NeuronMetrics for semi-automated, quantitative analysis of two-dimensional (2D) images of fluorescently labeled cultured neurons. It skeletonizes the neuron image using two complementary image-processing techniques, capturing fine terminal neurites with high fidelity. An algorithm was devised to span wide gaps in the skeleton. NeuronMetrics uses a novel strategy based on geometric features called faces to extract a branch number estimate from complex arbors with numerous neurite-to-neurite contacts, without creating a precise, contact-free representation of the neurite arbor. It estimates total neurite length, branch number, primary neurite number, territory (the area of the convex polygon bounding the skeleton and cell body), and Polarity Index (a measure of neuronal polarity). These parameters provide fundamental information about the size and shape of neurite arbors, which are critical factors for neuronal function. NeuronMetrics streamlines optional manual tasks such as removing noise, isolating the largest primary neurite, and correcting length for self-fasciculating neurites. Numeric data are output in a single text file, readily imported into other applications for further analysis. Written as modules for ImageJ, NeuronMetrics provides practical analysis tools that are easy to use and support batch processing. Depending on the need for manual intervention, processing time for a batch of approximately 60 2D images is 1.0-2.5 h, from a folder of images to a table of numeric data. NeuronMetrics' output accelerates the quantitative detection of mutations and chemical compounds that alter neurite morphology in vitro, and will contribute to the use of cultured neurons for drug discovery.
Project description:Through the process of neuronal differentiation, newly born neurons change from simple, spherical cells to complex, sprawling cells with many highly branched processes. One of the first stages in this process is neurite initiation, wherein cytoskeletal modifications facilitate membrane protrusion and extension from the cell body. Hundreds of actin modulators and microtubule-binding proteins are known to be involved in this process, but relatively little is known about how upstream regulators bring these complex networks together at discrete locations to produce neurites. Here, we show that Myristoylated alanine-rich C kinase substrate (MARCKS) participates in this process. Marcks-/- cortical neurons extend fewer neurites and have less complex neurite arborization patterns. We use an in vitro proteomics screen to identify MARCKS interactors in developing neurites and characterize an interaction between MARCKS and a CDC42-centered network. While the presence of MARCKS does not affect whole brain levels of activated or total CDC42, we propose that MARCKS is uniquely positioned to regulate CDC42 localization and interactions within specialized cellular compartments, such as nascent neurites.
Project description:Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a severe autosomal recessive disease characterized by selective motor neuron degeneration, caused by disruptions of the Survival of Motor Neuron 1 (Smn1) gene. The main product of SMN1 is the full-length SMN protein (FL-SMN), that plays an established role in mRNA splicing. FL-SMN is also involved in neurite outgrowth and axonal transport. A shorter SMN isoform, axonal-SMN or a-SMN, displays a more specific axonal localization and has remarkable axonogenic properties in NSC-34. Introduction of known SMA mutations into the a-SMN transcript leads to impairment of axon growth and morphological defects similar to those observed in SMA patients and animal models. Although there is increasing evidence for the relevance of SMN axonal functions in SMA pathogenesis, the specific contributions of FL-SMN and a-SMN are not known yet. This work aimed to analyze the differential roles of FL-SMN and a-SMN in axon outgrowth and in neuronal homeostasis during differentiation of neurons into a mature phenotype. We employed primary cultures of hippocampal neurons as a well-defined model of polarization and differentiation. By analyzing subcellular localization, we showed that a-SMN is preferentially localized in the growing axonal compartment. By specifically silencing FL-SMN or a-SMN proteins, we demonstrated that both proteins play a role in axon growth, as their selective down-regulation reduces axon length without affecting dendritic arborization. a-SMN silencing, and in minor extent FL-SMN silencing, resulted in the growth of multi-neuritic neurons, impaired in the differentiation process of selecting a single axon out of multiple neurites. In these neurons, neurites often display mixed axonal and dendritic markers and abnormal distribution of the axonal initial segment protein Ankirin G, suggesting loss of neuronal polarity. Our results indicate that a-SMN and FL-SMN are needed for neuronal polarization and organization of axonal and dendritic compartments, processes that are fundamental for neuronal function and survival.