Assembly of functionally integrated human forebrain spheroids.
ABSTRACT: The development of the nervous system involves a coordinated succession of events including the migration of GABAergic (?-aminobutyric-acid-releasing) neurons from ventral to dorsal forebrain and their integration into cortical circuits. However, these interregional interactions have not yet been modelled with human cells. Here we generate three-dimensional spheroids from human pluripotent stem cells that resemble either the dorsal or ventral forebrain and contain cortical glutamatergic or GABAergic neurons. These subdomain-specific forebrain spheroids can be assembled in vitro to recapitulate the saltatory migration of interneurons observed in the fetal forebrain. Using this system, we find that in Timothy syndrome-a neurodevelopmental disorder that is caused by mutations in the CaV1.2 calcium channel-interneurons display abnormal migratory saltations. We also show that after migration, interneurons functionally integrate with glutamatergic neurons to form a microphysiological system. We anticipate that this approach will be useful for studying neural development and disease, and for deriving spheroids that resemble other brain regions to assemble circuits in vitro.
Project description:During cerebral cortical development, excitatory glutamatergic projection neurons are generated from neural stem cells intrinsic to the early embryonic cortical ventricular zone by a process of radial migration, whereas most inhibitory gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic interneurons and oligodendrocytes (OLs) appear to be elaborated from ventral forebrain stem cells that initially undergo tangential cortical migration before terminal lineage maturation. In contrast to the more compartmentalized developmental organization of the spinal cord, the generation of neurons and OLs from a common ventral forebrain stem cell would expose these cells to the sequential actions of ventral and dorsal gradient morphogens [sonic hedgehog (Shh) and bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs)] that normally mediate opposing developmental programs. Here we report that Shh promotes GABAergic neuronalOL lineage restriction of forebrain stem cells, in part, by activation of the basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors, Olig2 and Mash1. In mutant mice with a generalized defect in tangential cortical migration (Dlx12--), there is a profound and selective reduction in the elaboration of both cortical GABAergic neurons and OLs. Our studies further demonstrate that the sequential elaboration of cortical GABAergic neurons and OLs from common Shh-responsive ventral forebrain progenitors requires the spatial and temporal modulation of cortical BMP signaling by BMP ligands and the BMP antagonist, noggin, respectively. These findings suggest an integrative model for cerebral cortical GABAergic neuronal and OL lineage maturation that would incorporate the sequential contributions of the ventral and dorsal forebrain, and the potential role of regional developmental cues in modulating transcriptional codes within evolving neural lineage species.
Project description:Cortical excitatory glutamatergic projection neurons and inhibitory GABAergic interneurons follow substantially different developmental programs. In rodents, projection neurons originate from progenitors within the dorsal forebrain, whereas interneurons arise from progenitors in the ventral forebrain. In contrast, it has been proposed that in humans, the majority of cortical interneurons arise from progenitors within the dorsal forebrain, suggesting that their origin and migration is complex and evolutionarily divergent. However, whether molecularly defined human cortical interneuron subtypes originate from distinct progenitors, including those in the ventral forebrain, remains unknown. Furthermore, abnormalities in cortical interneurons have been linked to human disorders, yet no distinct cell population selective loss has been reported. Here we show that cortical interneurons expressing nitric oxide synthase 1, neuropeptide Y, and somatostatin, are either absent or substantially reduced in fetal and infant cases of human holoprosencephaly (HPE) with severe ventral forebrain hypoplasia. Notably, another interneuron subtype normally abundant from the early fetal period, marked by calretinin expression, and different subtypes of projection neuron were present in the cortex of control and HPE brains. These findings have important implications for the understanding of neuronal pathogenesis underlying the clinical manifestations associated with HPE and the developmental origins of human cortical interneuron diversity.
Project description:The ventral tegmental area (VTA) is best known for its dopamine neurons, some of which project to nucleus accumbens (nAcc). However, the VTA also has glutamatergic neurons that project to nAcc. The function of the mesoaccumbens glutamatergic pathway remains unknown. Here we report that nAcc photoactivation of mesoaccumbens glutamatergic fibers promotes aversion. Although we found that these mesoaccumbens glutamatergic fibers lack GABA, the aversion evoked by their photoactivation depended on glutamate- and GABA-receptor signaling, and not on dopamine-receptor signaling. We found that mesoaccumbens glutamatergic fibers established multiple asymmetric synapses on single parvalbumin GABAergic interneurons and that nAcc photoactivation of these fibers drove AMPA-mediated cellular firing of parvalbumin GABAergic interneurons. These parvalbumin GABAergic interneurons in turn inhibited nAcc medium spiny output neurons, thereby controlling inhibitory neurotransmission in nAcc. To our knowledge, the mesoaccumbens glutamatergic pathway is the first glutamatergic input to nAcc shown to mediate aversion instead of reward, and the first pathway shown to establish excitatory synapses on nAcc parvalbumin GABAergic interneurons.
Project description:Coordination of voluntary motor activity depends on the generation of the appropriate neuronal subtypes in the basal ganglia and their integration into functional neuronal circuits. The largest nucleus of the basal ganglia, the striatum, contains two classes of neurons: the principal population of medium-sized dense spiny neurons (MSNs; 97-98% of all striatal neurons in rodents), which project to the globus pallidus and the substantia nigra, and the locally projecting striatal interneurons (SINs; 2-3% in rodents). SINs are further subdivided into two non-overlapping groups: those producing acetylcholine (cholinergic) and those producing gamma-amino butyric acid (GABAergic). Despite the pivotal role of SINs in integrating the output of striatal circuits and the function of neuronal networks in the ventral forebrain, the lineage relationship of SIN subtypes and the molecular mechanisms that control their differentiation are currently unclear. Using genetic fate mapping, we demonstrate here that the majority of cholinergic and GABAergic SINs are derived from common precursors generated in the medial ganglionic eminence during embryogenesis. These precursors express the LIM homeodomain protein Lhx6 and have characteristics of proto-GABAergic neurons. By combining gene expression analysis with loss-of-function and misexpression experiments, we provide evidence that the differentiation of the common precursor into mature SIN subtypes is regulated by the combinatorial activity of the LIM homeodomain proteins Lhx6, Lhx7 (Lhx8) and Isl1. These studies suggest that a LIM homeodomain transcriptional code confers cell-fate specification and neurotransmitter identity in neuronal subpopulations of the ventral forebrain.
Project description:Fibroblast growth factor (Fgf) signaling plays crucial roles in various developmental processes including those in the brain. We examined the role of Fgf16 in the formation of the zebrafish brain. The knockdown of fgf16 decreased cell proliferation in the forebrain and midbrain. fgf16 was also essential for development of the ventral telencephalon and diencephalon, whereas fgf16 was not required for dorsoventral patterning in the midbrain. fgf16 was additionally required for the specification and differentiation of ?-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic interneurons and oligodendrocytes, but not for those of glutamatergic neurons in the forebrain. Cross talk between Fgf and Hedgehog (Hh) signaling was critical for the specification of GABAergic interneurons and oligodendrocytes. The expression of fgf16 in the forebrain was down-regulated by the inhibition of Hh and Fgf19 signaling, but not by that of Fgf3/Fgf8 signaling. The fgf16 morphant phenotype was similar to that of the fgf19 morphant and embryos blocked Hh signaling. The results of the present study indicate that Fgf16 signaling, which is regulated by the downstream pathways of Hh-Fgf19 in the forebrain, is involved in forebrain development.
Project description:Dysfunction of cortical GABAergic interneurons are involved in numerous neurological disorders including epilepsy, schizophrenia and autism; and replenishment of these cells by transplantation strategy has proven to be a feasible and effective method to help revert the symptoms in several animal models. To develop methodology of generating transplantable GABAergic interneurons for therapy, we previously reported the isolation of a v-myc-induced GABAergic interneuron progenitor clone GE6 from embryonic ganglionic eminence (GE). These cells can proliferate and form functional inhibitory synapses in culture. Here, we tested their differentiation behavior in vivo by transplanting them into the postnatal rat forebrain. We found that GE6 cells migrate extensively in the neonatal forebrain and differentiate into both neurons and glia, but preferentially into neurons when compared with a sister progenitor clone CTX8. The neurogenic potential of GE6 cells is also maintained after transplantation into a non-permissive environment such as adult cortex or when treated with inflammatory cytokine in culture. The GE6-derived neurons were able to mature in vivo as GABAergic interneurons expressing GABAergic, not glutamatergic, presynaptic puncta. Finally, we propose that v-myc-induced human interneuron progenitor clones could be an alternative cell source of transplantable GABAergic interneurons for treating related neurological diseases in future clinic.
Project description:Previous work has suggested, but not demonstrated directly, a critical role for both glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons of the pontine tegmentum in the regulation of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.To determine the in vivo roles of these fast-acting neurotransmitters in putative REM pontine circuits, we injected an adeno-associated viral vector expressing Cre recombinase (AAV-Cre) into mice harboring lox-P modified alleles of either the vesicular glutamate transporter 2 (VGLUT2) or vesicular GABA-glycine transporter (VGAT) genes. Our results show that glutamatergic neurons of the sublaterodorsal nucleus (SLD) and glycinergic/GABAergic interneurons of the spinal ventral horn contribute to REM atonia, whereas a separate population of glutamatergic neurons in the caudal laterodorsal tegmental nucleus (cLDT) and SLD are important for REM sleep generation. Our results further suggest that presynaptic GABA release in the cLDT-SLD, ventrolateral periaqueductal gray matter (vlPAG) and lateral pontine tegmentum (LPT) are not critically involved in REM sleep control.These findings reveal the critical and divergent in vivo role of pontine glutamate and spinal cord GABA/glycine in the regulation of REM sleep and atonia and suggest a possible etiological basis for REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD).
Project description:The goal of this project was to assess how alternative splicing programs are arrayed across neuronal cells types. We systematically mapped ribosome-associated transcript isoforms in genetically-defined neuron types of the mouse forebrain. The endogenous ribosomal protein Rpl22 was conditionally HA-tagged in glutamatergic neurons (using CamK2-cre for most neocortical pyramidal cells and Scnn1a-cre for spiny stellate and star pyramid layer 4 cells), and GABAergic interneurons [with somatostatin-cre (SST), parvalbumin-cre (PV) and vasointestinal peptide-cre (VIP)]. Within the hippocampus, we further targeted Cornu ammonis 1 (CA1) neurons (CamK2-cre), CA3 neurons (Grik4-cre), and SST-positive interneurons (SST-cre). Four replicates were deep sequenced (~100 million reads) using an Illumina platform. We find that neuronal transcript isoform profiles reliably distinguish even closely-related classes of pyramidal cells and inhibitory interneurons in the mouse hippocampus and neocortex, positing transcript diversification by alternative splicing as a central mechanism for the functional specification of neuronal cell types and circuits. Overall design: We systematically mapped ribosome-associated transcript isoforms in genetically-defined neuron types of the mouse forebrain. The ribosome-associated RNA profiles were generated by paired-end deep sequencing, with four replicates, using an Illumina platform.
Project description:We screened for novel circuits in the mouse brain that promote wakefulness. Chemogenetic activation experiments and electroencephalogram recordings pointed to glutamatergic/nitrergic (NOS1) and GABAergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Activating glutamatergic/NOS1 neurons, which were wake- and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep-active, produced wakefulness through projections to the nucleus accumbens and the lateral hypothalamus. Lesioning the glutamate cells impaired the consolidation of wakefulness. By contrast, activation of GABAergic VTA neurons elicited long-lasting non-rapid-eye-movement-like sleep resembling sedation. Lesioning these neurons produced an increase in wakefulness that persisted for at least 4?months. Surprisingly, these VTA GABAergic neurons were wake- and REM sleep-active. We suggest that GABAergic VTA neurons may limit wakefulness by inhibiting the arousal-promoting VTA glutamatergic and/or dopaminergic neurons and through projections to the lateral hypothalamus. Thus, in addition to its contribution to goal- and reward-directed behaviors, the VTA has a role in regulating sleep and wakefulness.
Project description:GABAergic interneurons are key elements in neural coding, but the mechanisms that assemble inhibitory circuits remain unclear. In the spinal cord, the transfer of sensory signals to motor neurons is filtered by GABAergic interneurons that act presynaptically to inhibit sensory transmitter release and postsynaptically to inhibit motor neuron excitability. We show here that the connectivity and synaptic differentiation of GABAergic interneurons that mediate presynaptic inhibition is directed by their sensory targets. In the absence of sensory terminals these GABAergic neurons shun other available targets, fail to undergo presynaptic differentiation, and withdraw axons from the ventral spinal cord. A sensory-specific source of brain derived neurotrophic factor induces synaptic expression of the GABA synthetic enzyme GAD65--a defining biochemical feature of this set of interneurons. The organization of a GABAergic circuit that mediates presynaptic inhibition in the mammalian CNS is therefore controlled by a stringent program of sensory recognition and signaling.