Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 influences Rohon-Beard neuron survival in zebrafish.
ABSTRACT: Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (cdk5), a member of the cyclin-dependent kinase family, is expressed predominantly in post-mitotic cell populations. Unlike the other cdks, cdk5 is abundant and most active in differentiated neurons. Here, we describe the function of a cdk5 ortholog in zebrafish. Cdk5 catalytic activity is meager but present in early stages of development. However, at 24 h post-fertilization (hpf), the activity is remarkably higher and continues to be high through 48 and 72 hpf. Knocking down cdk5 by micro-injection of a specific siRNA resulted in decreased cdk5 protein level accompanied by reduced kinase activity. In the cdk5 siRNA-injected embryos, the number of primary sensory Rohon-Beard (RB) neurons was significantly reduced and there were more apoptotic cells in the brain. These phenotypes were rescued by co-injection of cdk5 mRNA. Within the first two days of development, RB neurons undergo apoptosis in zebrafish. To examine whether cdk5 has a role in RB neuron survival, cdk5 mRNA was injected into the one- to two-cell embryos. In these embryos, RB neuron apoptosis was inhibited compared with the uninjected control embryos. These results suggest that in zebrafish, cdk5 influences RB neuron survival and potentially regulates early neuronal development.
Project description:Ketamine, a non-competitive antagonist of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) type glutamate receptors is commonly used as a pediatric anesthetic. Multiple studies have shown ketamine to be neurotoxic, particularly when administered during the brain growth spurt. Previously, we have shown that ketamine is detrimental to motor neuron development in the zebrafish embryos. Here, using both wild type (WT) and transgenic (hb9:GFP) zebrafish embryos, we demonstrate that ketamine is neurotoxic to both motor and sensory neurons. Drug absorption studies showed that in the WT embryos, ketamine accumulation was approximately 0.4% of the original dose added to the exposure medium. The transgenic embryos express green fluorescent protein (GFP) localized in the motor neurons making them ideal for evaluating motor neuron development and toxicities in vivo. The hb9:GFP zebrafish embryos (28 h post fertilization) treated with 2 mM ketamine for 20 h demonstrated significant reductions in spinal motor neuron numbers, while co-treatment with acetyl L-carnitine proved to be neuroprotective. In whole mount immunohistochemical studies using WT embryos, a similar effect was observed for the primary sensory neurons. In the ketamine-treated WT embryos, the number of primary sensory Rohon-Beard (RB) neurons was significantly reduced compared to that in controls. However, acetyl L-carnitine co-treatment prevented ketamine-induced adverse effects on the RB neurons. These results suggest that acetyl L-carnitine protects both motor and sensory neurons from ketamine-induced neurotoxicity.
Project description:Lower vertebrates develop a unique set of primary sensory neurons located in the dorsal spinal cord. These cells, known as Rohon-Beard (RB) sensory neurons, innervate the skin and mediate the response to touch during larval stages. Here we report the expression and function of the transcription factor Xaml1/Runx1 during RB sensory neurons formation. In Xenopus embryos Runx1 is specifically expressed in RB progenitors at the end of gastrulation. Runx1 expression is positively regulated by Fgf and canonical Wnt signaling and negatively regulated by Notch signaling, the same set of factors that control the development of other neural plate border cell types, i.e. the neural crest and cranial placodes. Embryos lacking Runx1 function fail to differentiate RB sensory neurons and lose the mechanosensory response to touch. At early stages Runx1 knockdown results in a RB progenitor-specific loss of expression of Pak3, a p21-activated kinase that promotes cell cycle withdrawal, and of N-tub, a neuronal-specific tubulin. Interestingly, the pro-neural gene Ngnr1, an upstream regulator of Pak3 and N-tub, is either unaffected or expanded in these embryos, suggesting the existence of two distinct regulatory pathways controlling sensory neuron formation in Xenopus. Consistent with this possibility Ngnr1 is not sufficient to activate Runx1 expression in the ectoderm. We propose that Runx1 function is critically required for the generation of RB sensory neurons, an activity reminiscent of that of Runx1 in the development of the mammalian dorsal root ganglion nociceptive sensory neurons.
Project description:The PR domain containing 1a, with ZNF domain factor, gene (prdm1a) plays an integral role in the development of a number of different cell types during vertebrate embryogenesis, including neural crest cells, Rohon-Beard (RB) sensory neurons and the cranial neural crest-derived craniofacial skeletal elements. To better understand how Prdm1a regulates the development of various cell types in zebrafish, we performed a microarray analysis comparing wild type and prdm1a mutant embryos and identified a number of genes with altered expression in the absence of prdm1a. Rescue analysis determined that two of these, sox10 and islet1, lie downstream of Prdm1a in the development of neural crest cells and RB neurons, respectively. In addition, we identified a number of other novel downstream targets of Prdm1a that may be important for the development of diverse tissues during zebrafish embryogenesis.
Project description:Multiple molecular cues guide neuronal axons to their targets during development. Previous studies in vitro have shown that mechanical stimulation also can affect axon growth; however, whether mechanical force contributes to axon guidance in vivo is unknown. We investigated the role of muscle contractions in the guidance of zebrafish peripheral Rohon-Beard (RB) sensory axons in vivo. We analyzed several mutants that affect muscle contraction through different molecular pathways, including a new mutant allele of the titin a (pik) gene, mutants that affect the hedgehog signaling pathway, and a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor mutant. We found RB axon defects in these mutants, the severity of which appeared to correlate with the extent of muscle contraction loss. These axons extend between the muscle and skin and normally have ventral trajectories and repel each other on contact. RB peripheral axons in muscle mutants extend longitudinally instead of ventrally, and the axons fail to repel one another on contact. In addition, we showed that limiting muscle movements by embedding embryos in agarose caused similar defects in peripheral RB axon guidance. This work suggests that the mechanical forces generated by muscle contractions are necessary for proper sensory axon pathfinding in vivo.
Project description:Organophosphate pesticides (OPs) are environmental toxicants known to inhibit the catalytic activity of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) resulting in hypercholinergic toxicity symptoms. In developing embryos, OPs have been hypothesized to affect both cholinergic and non-cholinergic pathways. In order to understand the neurological pathways affected by OP exposure during embryogenesis, we developed a subacute model of OP developmental exposure in zebrafish by exposing embryos to a dose of the OP metabolite chlorpyrifos-oxon (CPO) that is non-lethal and significantly inhibited AChE enzymatic activity compared to control embryos (43% at 1 day post-fertilization (dpf) and 11% at 2dpf). Phenotypic analysis of CPO-exposed embryos demonstrated that embryonic growth, as analyzed by gross morphology, was normal in 85% of treated embryos. Muscle fiber formation was similar to control embryos as analyzed by birefringence, and nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) cluster formation was quantitatively similar to control embryos as analyzed by ?-bungarotoxin staining. These results indicate that partial AChE activity during the early days of zebrafish development is sufficient for general development, muscle fiber, and nAChR development. Rohon-Beard (RB) sensory neurons exhibited aberrant peripheral axon extension and gene expression profiling suggests that several genes responsible for RB neurogenesis are down-regulated. Stability of CPO in egg water at 28.5 °C was determined by HPLC-UV-MS analysis which revealed that the CPO concentration used in our studies hydrolyzes in egg water with a half-life of 1 day. The result that developmental CPO exposure affected RB neurogenesis without affecting muscle fiber or nAChR cluster formation demonstrates that zebrafish are a strong model system for characterizing subtle neurological pathologies resulting from environmental toxicants.
Project description:Zebrafish embryos exhibit spontaneous contractions of the musculature as early as 18-19 h post fertilization (hpf) when removed from their protective chorion. These movements are likely initiated by early embryonic central nervous system activity. We have made the observation that narrowminded mutant embryos (hereafter, nrd(-/-)) lack normal embryonic motor output upon dechorionation. However, these mutants can swim and respond to tactile stimulation by larval stages of development. nrd(-/-) embryos exhibit defects in neural crest development, slow muscle development and also lack spinal mechanosensory neurons known as Rohon-Beard (RB) neurons. At early developmental stages (i.e. 21-22 hpf) and while still in their chorions, nrd siblings (nrd(+/?)) exhibited contractions of the musculature at a rate similar to wild-type embryos. Anatomical analysis indicated that RB neurons were present in the motile embryos, but absent in the non-motile embryos, indicating that the non-motile embryos were nrd(-/-) embryos. Further anatomical analysis of nrd(-/-) embryos revealed errors in motoneuron axonal pathfinding that persisted into the larval stage of development. These errors were reversed when nrd(-/-) embryos were raised in high [K(+)] beginning at 21 hpf, indicating that the abnormal axonal phenotypes may be related to a lack of depolarizing activity early in development. When activity was blocked with tricaine in wild-type embryos, motoneuron phenotypes were similar to the motoneuron phenotypes in nrd(-/-) embryos. These results implicate early embryonic activity in conjunction with other factors as necessary for normal motoneuron development.
Project description:Electrically excitable cells have voltage-dependent ion channels on the plasma membrane that regulate membrane permeability to specific ions. Voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels (VGCCs) are especially important as Ca(2+) serves as both a charge carrier and second messenger. Zebrafish (Danio rerio) are an important model vertebrate for studies of neuronal excitability, circuits, and behavior. However, electrophysiological properties of zebrafish VGCCs remain largely unexplored because a suitable preparation for whole cell voltage-clamp studies is lacking. Rohon-Beard (R-B) sensory neurons represent an attractive candidate for this purpose because of their relatively large somata and functional homology to mammalian dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurons. Transgenic zebrafish expressing green fluorescent protein in R-B neurons, (Isl2b:EGFP)(ZC7), were used to identify dissociated neurons suitable for whole cell patch-clamp experiments. Based on biophysical and pharmacological properties, zebrafish R-B neurons express both high- and low-voltage-gated Ca(2+) current (HVA- and LVA-I(Ca), respectively). Ni(+)-sensitive LVA-I(Ca) occur in the minority of R-B neurons (30%) and ?-conotoxin GVIA-sensitive Ca(V)2.2 (N-type) Ca(2+) channels underlie the vast majority (90%) of HVA-I(Ca). To identify G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) that modulate HVA-I(Ca), a panel of neurotransmitters was screened. Application of GABA/baclofen or serotonin produced a voltage-dependent inhibition while application of the mu-opioid agonist DAMGO resulted in a voltage-independent inhibition. Unlike in mammalian neurons, GPCR-mediated voltage-dependent modulation of I(Ca) appears to be transduced primarily via a cholera toxin-sensitive G? subunit. These results provide the basis for using the zebrafish model system to understanding Ca(2+) channel function, and in turn, how Ca(2+) channels contribute to mechanosensory function.
Project description:Recent studies have shown the involvement of cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) in cell cycle regulation in postmitotic neurons. In this study, we demonstrate that Cdk5 and its co-activator p35 were detected in the nuclear fraction in neurons and Cdk5/p35 phosphorylated retinoblastoma (Rb) protein, a key protein controlling cell cycle re-entry. Cdk5/p35 phosphorylates Rb at the sites similar to those phosphorylated by Cdk4 and Cdk2. Furthermore, increased Cdk5 activity elevates activity of E2F transcription factor, which can trigger cell cycle re-entry, leading to neuronal cell death. A normal Cdk5 activity in neurons did not induce E2F activation, suggesting that Cdk5 does not induce cell cycle re-entry under normal conditions. Taken together, these results indicate that Cdk5 can regulate cell cycle by its ability to phosphorylate Rb. Most importantly, increased Cdk5 activity induces cell cycle re-entry, which is especially detrimental for survival of postmitotic neurons.
Project description:Exposures to sodium metam (NaM) within the developmental period of somitogenesis (10- to 18-h postfertilization [hpf]) results in easily detectable distortions of the notochord by 24 hpf in the developing zebrafish. We hypothesized that NaM-induced transcriptional changes during somitogenesis would reveal the major molecular targets in the zebrafish embryo. Embryos were exposed to NaM beginning at 4 hpf (1000 cells) and total RNA was isolated from embryos at the 3 somite (11 hpf), 10 somite (14 hpf), 18 somite (18 hpf), and larval (24 hpf) stages of development. Using the Affymetrix zebrafish gene array we observed relatively few mRNAs differentially regulated at least twofold at each time point (11 hpf, 101 genes; 14 hpf, 151; 18 hpf, 154; 24 hpf, 33). The transcriptional profiles reveal neurodevelopment and myogenesis as the two primary targets of NaM developmental exposure. Quantitative PCR of several muscle and neuronal genes confirmed the array response. We also followed the structural development of the peripheral nervous system under NaM exposure using antibodies against neuronal structural proteins. Although there was no change in the onset of antibody staining, profound alterations became apparent during the period in which the notochord becomes distorted (> 18 hpf). Motor neuron development observed with the Tg(NBT:MAPT-GFP)zc1 transgenic zebrafish and a primary motor neuron specific antibody showed similar timing in the structural alterations observed in these cell types. Further study of the interactions of dithiocarbamates with the regulatory elements of fast muscle development and neurodevelopment is warranted.
Project description:Abnormal activation of cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) is associated with pathophysiological conditions. Ischemic preconditioning (IPC) can provide neuroprotective effects against subsequent lethal ischemic insult. The objective of this study was to determine how Cdk5 and related molecules could affect neuroprotection in the hippocampus of gerbils after with IPC [a 2-min transient cerebral ischemia (TCI)] followed by 5-min subsequent TCI. Hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons were dead at 5 days post-TCI. However, treatment with roscovitine (a potent inhibitor of Cdk5) and IPC protected CA1 pyramidal neurons from TCI. Expression levels of Cdk5, p25, phospho (p)-Rb and p-p53 were increased in nuclei of CA1 pyramidal neurons at 1 and 2 days after TCI. However, these expressions were attenuated by roscovitine treatment and IPC. In particular, Cdk5, p-Rb and p-p53 immunoreactivities in their nuclei were decreased. Furthermore, TUNEL-positive CA1 pyramidal neurons were found at 5 days after TCI with increased expression levels of Bax, PUMA, and activated caspase-3. These TUNEL-positive cells and increased molecules were decreased by roscovitine treatment and IPC. Thus, roscovitine treatment and IPC could protect CA1 pyramidal neurons from TCI through down-regulating Cdk5, p25, and p-p53 in their nuclei. These findings indicate that down-regulating Cdk5 might be a key strategy to attenuate p53-dependent apoptosis of CA1 pyramidal neurons following TCI.