Role of Neuropilin-1/Semaphorin-3A signaling in the functional and morphological integrity of the cochlea.
ABSTRACT: Neuropilin-1 (Nrp1) encodes the transmembrane cellular receptor neuropilin-1, which is associated with cardiovascular and neuronal development and was within the peak SNP interval on chromosome 8 in our prior GWAS study on age-related hearing loss (ARHL) in mice. In this study, we generated and characterized an inner ear-specific Nrp1 conditional knockout (CKO) mouse line because Nrp1 constitutive knockouts are embryonic lethal. In situ hybridization demonstrated weak Nrp1 mRNA expression late in embryonic cochlear development, but increased expression in early postnatal stages when cochlear hair cell innervation patterns have been shown to mature. At postnatal day 5, Nrp1 CKO mice showed disorganized outer spiral bundles and enlarged microvessels of the stria vascularis (SV) but normal spiral ganglion cell (SGN) density and presynaptic ribbon body counts; however, we observed enlarged SV microvessels, reduced SGN density, and a reduction of presynaptic ribbons in the outer hair cell region of 4-month-old Nrp1 CKO mice. In addition, we demonstrated elevated hearing thresholds of the 2-month-old and 4-month-old Nrp1 CKO mice at frequencies ranging from 4 to 32kHz when compared to 2-month-old mice. These data suggest that conditional loss of Nrp1 in the inner ear leads to progressive hearing loss in mice. We also demonstrated that mice with a truncated variant of Nrp1 show cochlear axon guidance defects and that exogenous semaphorin-3A, a known neuropilin-1 receptor agonist, repels SGN axons in vitro. These data suggest that Neuropilin-1/Semaphorin-3A signaling may also serve a role in neuronal pathfinding in the developing cochlea. In summary, our results here support a model whereby Neuropilin-1/Semaphorin-3A signaling is critical for the functional and morphological integrity of the cochlea and that Nrp1 may play a role in ARHL.
Project description:The underlying molecular mechanisms of age-related hearing loss (ARHL) in humans and many strains of mice have not been fully characterized. This common age-related disorder is assumed to be closely associated with oxidative stress. Here, we demonstrate that mTORC1 signaling is highly and specifically activated in the cochlear neurosensory epithelium (NSE) in aging mice, and rapamycin injection prevents ARHL. To further examine the specific role of mTORC1 signaling in ARHL, we generated murine models with NSE-specific deletions of Raptor or Tsc1, regulators of mTORC1 signaling. Raptor-cKO mice developed hearing loss considerably more slowly than WT littermates. Conversely, Tsc1 loss led to the early-onset death of cochlear hair cells and consequently accelerated hearing loss. Tsc1-cKO cochleae showed features of oxidative stress and impaired antioxidant defenses. Treatment with rapamycin and the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine rescued Tsc1-cKO hair cells from injury in vivo. In addition, we identified the peroxisome as the initial signaling organelle involved in the regulation of mTORC1 signaling in cochlear hair cells. In summary, our findings identify overactive mTORC1 signaling as one of the critical causes of ARHL and suggest that reduction of mTORC1 activity in cochlear hair cells may be a potential strategy to prevent ARHL.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a motor neuron disease characterized by progressive distal axonopathy that precedes actual motor neuron death. Triggers for neuromuscular junction degeneration remain to be determined, but the axon repulsion factor semaphorin 3A (Sema3A), which is derived from terminal Schwann cells, is a plausible candidate. This study examines the hypothesis that Sema3A signaling through its motor neuron neuropilin-1 (NRP1) receptor triggers distal axonopathy and muscle denervation in the SOD1 mouse model of ALS. Neuropilin-1 was found to be expressed in axonal terminals at the mouse neuromuscular junction in vivo and in NSC-34 motor neuron-like cells in vitro. In differentiated NSC-34 cells, an anti-NRP1 antibody that selectively blocks Sema3A binding to NRP1 prevented Sema3A-induced growth cone collapse. Furthermore, intraperitoneal injections of anti-NRP1 antibody administered twice weekly from age 40 days significantly delayed and even temporarily reversed motor functional decline while prolonging the life span of SOD1 mice. Histologic evaluation at 90 and 125 days revealed that anti-NRP1 antibody reduced neuromuscular junction denervation and attenuated pathologic alterations in ventral roots at late-stage disease. These data suggest that peripheral NRP1 signaling is involved in the pathobiology of this ALS model and that antagonizing Sema3A/NRP1 binding or downstream signals could have implications for the treatment of ALS.
Project description:Kallmann syndrome (KS) associates congenital hypogonadism due to gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) deficiency and anosmia. The genetics of KS involves various modes of transmission, including oligogenic inheritance. Here, we report that Nrp1(sema/sema) mutant mice that lack a functional semaphorin-binding domain in neuropilin-1, an obligatory coreceptor of semaphorin-3A, have a KS-like phenotype. Pathohistological analysis of these mice indeed showed abnormal development of the peripheral olfactory system and defective embryonic migration of the neuroendocrine GnRH cells to the basal forebrain, which results in increased mortality of newborn mice and reduced fertility in adults. We thus screened 386 KS patients for the presence of mutations in SEMA3A (by Sanger sequencing of all 17 coding exons and flanking splice sites) and identified nonsynonymous mutations in 24 patients, specifically, a frameshifting small deletion (D538fsX31) and seven different missense mutations (R66W, N153S, I400V, V435I, T688A, R730Q, R733H). All the mutations were found in heterozygous state. Seven mutations resulted in impaired secretion of semaphorin-3A by transfected COS-7 cells (D538fsX31, R66W, V435I) or reduced signaling activity of the secreted protein in the GN11 cell line derived from embryonic GnRH cells (N153S, I400V, T688A, R733H), which strongly suggests that these mutations have a pathogenic effect. Notably, mutations in other KS genes had already been identified, in heterozygous state, in five of these patients. Our findings indicate that semaphorin-3A signaling insufficiency contributes to the pathogenesis of KS and further substantiate the oligogenic pattern of inheritance in this developmental disorder.
Project description:Neuropilin 1 (Nrp1) is a coreceptor for vascular endothelial growth factor A165 (VEGF-A165, VEGF-A164 in mice) and semaphorin 3A (SEMA3A). Nevertheless, Nrp1 null embryos display vascular defects that differ from those of mice lacking either VEGF-A164 or Sema3A proteins. Furthermore, it has been recently reported that Nrp1 is required for endothelial cell (EC) response to both VEGF-A165 and VEGF-A121 isoforms, the latter being incapable of binding Nrp1 on the EC surface. Taken together, these data suggest that the vascular phenotype caused by the loss of Nrp1 could be due to a VEGF-A164/SEMA3A-independent function of Nrp1 in ECs, such as adhesion to the extracellular matrix. By using RNA interference and rescue with wild-type and mutant constructs, we show here that Nrp1 through its cytoplasmic SEA motif and independently of VEGF-A165 and SEMA3A specifically promotes alpha5beta1-integrin-mediated EC adhesion to fibronectin that is crucial for vascular development. We provide evidence that Nrp1, while not directly mediating cell spreading on fibronectin, interacts with alpha5beta1 at adhesion sites. Binding of the homomultimeric endocytic adaptor GAIP interacting protein C terminus, member 1 (GIPC1), to the SEA motif of Nrp1 selectively stimulates the internalization of active alpha5beta1 in Rab5-positive early endosomes. Accordingly, GIPC1, which also interacts with alpha5beta1, and the associated motor myosin VI (Myo6) support active alpha5beta1 endocytosis and EC adhesion to fibronectin. In conclusion, we propose that Nrp1, in addition to and independently of its role as coreceptor for VEGF-A165 and SEMA3A, stimulates through its cytoplasmic domain the spreading of ECs on fibronectin by increasing the Rab5/GIPC1/Myo6-dependent internalization of active alpha5beta1. Nrp1 modulation of alpha5beta1 integrin function can play a causal role in the generation of angiogenesis defects observed in Nrp1 null mice.
Project description:Neuropilin-1 (NRP1) functions as a coreceptor through interaction with plexin A1 or vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor during neuronal development and angiogenesis. NRP1 potentiates the signaling pathways stimulated by semaphorin 3A and VEGF-A in neuronal and endothelial cells, respectively. In this study, we investigate the role of tumor cell-expressed NRP1 in glioma progression. Analyses of human glioma specimens (WHO grade I-IV tumors) revealed a significant correlation of NRP1 expression with glioma progression. In tumor xenografts, overexpression of NRP1 by U87MG gliomas strongly promoted tumor growth and angiogenesis. Overexpression of NRP1 by U87MG cells stimulated cell survival through the enhancement of autocrine hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF)/c-Met signaling. NRP1 not only potentiated the activity of endogenous HGF/SF on glioma cell survival but also enhanced HGF/SF-promoted cell proliferation. Inhibition of HGF/SF, c-Met and NRP1 abrogated NRP1-potentiated autocrine HGF/SF stimulation. Furthermore, increased phosphorylation of c-Met correlated with glioma progression in human glioma biopsies in which NRP1 is upregulated and in U87MG NRP1-overexpressing tumors. Together, these data suggest that tumor cell-expressed NRP1 promotes glioma progression through potentiating the activity of the HGF/SF autocrine c-Met signaling pathway, in addition to enhancing angiogenesis, suggesting a novel mechanism of NRP1 in promoting human glioma progression.
Project description:Cortical interneurons are generated predominantly in the medial ganglionic eminence of the ventral telencephalon and migrate to the cortex during embryonic development. These cells express neuropilin (Nrp1 and Nrp2) receptors which mediate their response to the chemorepulsive class 3 semaphorin (Sema) ligands. We show here that semaphorins Sema3A and Sema3F are expressed in layers adjacent to cortical interneuron migratory streams as well as in the striatum, suggesting they may have a role in guiding these cells throughout their journey. Analysis of Sema3A -/- and Sema3F -/- mice during corticogenesis showed that absence of Sema3A, but not Sema3F, leads to aberrant migration of cortical interneurons through the striatum. Reduced number of cortical interneurons was found in the cortex of Sema3A -/-, Nrp1 -/- and Nrp2 -/- mice, as well as altered distribution in Sema3F -/-, Nrp1 -/-, Nrp2 -/- animals and especially in neuropilin double mutants. The observed decrease in interneurons in Sema3A -/- and Nrp1 -/- mice was due to altered proliferative activity of their progenitors highlighted by changes in their mitotic spindle positioning and angle of cleavage plane during cell division. These findings point to a novel role for Sema3A-Nrp1 signalling in progenitor cell dynamics and in the generation of interneurons in the ventral telencephalon.
Project description:Neuropilin-1 (NRP1) is a transmembrane receptor playing a pivotal role in the control of semaphorins and VEGF signaling pathways. The exact mechanism controlling semaphorin receptor complex formation is unknown. A structural analysis and modeling of NRP1 revealed a putative dimerization GxxxG motif potentially important for NRP1 dimerization and oligomerization. Our data show that this motif mediates the dimerization of the transmembrane domain of NRP1 as demonstrated by a dimerization assay (ToxLuc assay) performed in natural membrane and FRET analysis. A synthetic peptide derived from the transmembrane segment of NRP1 abolished the inhibitory effect of Sema3A. This effect depends on the capacity of the peptide to interfere with NRP1 dimerization and the formation of oligomeric complexes. Mutation of the GxxxG dimerization motif in the transmembrane domain of NRP1 confirmed its biological importance for Sema3A signaling. Overall, our results shed light on an essential step required for semaphorin signaling and provide novel evidence for the crucial role of transmembrane domain of bitopic protein containing GxxxG motif in the formation of receptor complexes that are a prerequisite for cell signaling.
Project description:The establishment of precise topographic maps during neural development is facilitated by the presorting of axons in the pathway before they reach their targets. In the vertebrate visual system, such topography is seen clearly in the optic tract (OT) and in the optic radiations. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in pretarget axon sorting are poorly understood. Here, we show in zebrafish that the RNA-binding protein Hermes, which is expressed exclusively in retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), is involved in this process. Using a RiboTag approach, we show that Hermes acts as a negative translational regulator of specific mRNAs in RGCs. One of these targets is the guidance cue receptor Neuropilin 1 (Nrp1), which is sensitive to the repellent cue Semaphorin 3A (Sema3A). Hermes knock-down leads to topographic missorting in the OT through the upregulation of Nrp1. Restoring Nrp1 to appropriate levels in Hermes-depleted embryos rescues this effect and corrects the axon-sorting defect in the OT. Our data indicate that axon sorting relies on Hermes-regulated translation of Nrp1. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT:An important mechanism governing the formation of the mature neural map is pretarget axon sorting within the sensory tract; however, the molecular mechanisms involved in this process remain largely unknown. The work presented here reveals a novel function for the RNA-binding protein Hermes in regulating the topographic sorting of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons in the optic tract and tectum. We find that Hermes negatively controls the translation of the guidance cue receptor Neuropilin-1 in RGCs, with Hermes knock-down resulting in aberrant growth cone cue sensitivity and axonal topographic misprojections. We characterize a novel RNA-based mechanism by which axons restrict their translatome developmentally to achieve proper targeting.
Project description:Konjac ceramide (kCer) is a plant-type ceramide composed of various long-chain bases and a-hydroxyl fatty acids. The presence of d4t,8t-sphingadienine is essential for semaphorin 3A (Sema3A)-like activity. Herein, we examined the three neuropilin 1 (Nrp1) domains (a1a2, b1b2, or c), and found that a1a2 binds to d4t,8t-kCer and possesses Sema3A-like activity. kCer binds to Nrp1 with a weak affinity of mM dissociation constant (Kd). We wondered whether bovine serum albumin could influence the ligand-receptor interaction that a1a2 has with a single high affinity binding site for kCer (Kd in nM range). In the present study we demonstrated the influence of bovine serum albumin. Thermal denaturation indicates that the a1a2 domain may include intrinsically disordered region (IDR)-like flexibility. A potential interaction site on the a1 module was explored by molecular docking, which revealed a possible Nrp1 activation mechanism, in which kCer binds to Site A close to the Sema3A-binding region of the a1a2 domain. The a1 module then accesses a2 as the IDR-like flexibility becomes ordered via kCer-induced protein rigidity of a1a2. This induces intramolecular interaction between a1 and a2 through a slight change in protein secondary structure.
Project description:Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons are neuroendocrine cells that are born in the nasal placode during embryonic development and migrate through the nose and forebrain to the hypothalamus, where they regulate reproduction. Many molecular pathways that guide their migration have been identified, but little is known about the factors that control the survival of the migrating GnRH neurons as they negotiate different environments. We previously reported that the class 3 semaphorin SEMA3A signals through its neuropilin receptors, NRP1 and NRP2, to organise the axons that guide migrating GnRH neurons from their birthplace into the brain. By combining analysis of genetically altered mice with in vitro models, we show here that the alternative neuropilin ligand VEGF164 promotes the survival of migrating GnRH neurons by co-activating the ERK and AKT signalling pathways through NRP1. We also demonstrate that survival signalling relies on neuronal, but not endothelial, NRP1 expression and that it occurs independently of KDR, the main VEGF receptor in blood vessels. Therefore, VEGF164 provides survival signals directly to developing GnRH neurons, independently of its role in blood vessels. Finally, we show that the VEGF164-mediated neuronal survival and SEMA3A-mediated axon guidance cooperate to ensure that migrating GnRH neurons reach the brain. Thus, the loss of both neuropilin ligands leads to an almost complete failure to establish the GnRH neuron system.