Vascular-Derived Vegfa Promotes Cortical Interneuron Migration and Proximity to the Vasculature in the Developing Forebrain.
ABSTRACT: Vascular endothelial growth factor (Vegfa) is essential for promoting the vascularization of the embryonic murine forebrain. In addition, it directly influences neural development, although its role in the forming forebrain is less well elucidated. It was recently suggested that Vegfa may influence the development of GABAergic interneurons, inhibitory cells with crucial signaling roles in cortical neuronal circuits. However, the mechanism by which it affects interneuron development remains unknown. Here we investigated the developmental processes by which Vegfa may influence cortical interneuron development by analyzing transgenic mice that ubiquitously express the Vegfa120 isoform to perturb its signaling gradient. We found that interneurons reach the dorsal cortex at mid phases of corticogenesis despite an aberrant vascular network. Instead, endothelial ablation of Vegfa alters cortical interneuron numbers, their intracortical distribution and spatial proximity to blood vessels. We show for the first time that vascular-secreted guidance factors promote early-migrating interneurons in the intact forebrain in vivo and identify a novel role for vascular-Vegfa in this process.
Project description:The neuronal diversity of the CNS emerges largely from controlled spatial and temporal segregation of cell type-specific molecular regulators. We found that the transcription factor SOX6 controls the molecular segregation of dorsal (pallial) from ventral (subpallial) telencephalic progenitors and the differentiation of cortical interneurons, regulating forebrain progenitor and interneuron heterogeneity. During corticogenesis in mice, SOX6 and SOX5 were largely mutually exclusively expressed in pallial and subpallial progenitors, respectively, and remained mutually exclusive in a reverse pattern in postmitotic neuronal progeny. Loss of SOX6 from pallial progenitors caused their inappropriate expression of normally subpallium-restricted developmental controls, conferring mixed dorsal-ventral identity. In postmitotic cortical interneurons, loss of SOX6 disrupted the differentiation and diversity of cortical interneuron subtypes, analogous to SOX5 control over cortical projection neuron development. These data indicate that SOX6 is a central regulator of both progenitor and cortical interneuron diversity during neocortical development.
Project description:The cerebral cortex is essential for integration and processing of information that is required for most behaviors. The exquisitely precise laminar organization of the cerebral cortex arises during embryonic development when neurons migrate successively from ventricular zones to coalesce into specific cortical layers. While radial glia act as guide rails for projection neuron migration, pre-formed vascular networks provide support and guidance cues for GABAergic interneuron migration. This study provides novel conceptual and mechanistic insights into this paradigm of vascular-neuronal interactions, revealing new mechanisms of GABA and its receptor-mediated signaling via embryonic forebrain endothelial cells. With the use of two new endothelial cell specific conditional mouse models of the GABA pathway (Gabrb3?Tie2-Cre and Vgat?Tie2-Cre), we show that partial or complete loss of GABA release from endothelial cells during embryogenesis results in vascular defects and impairs long-distance migration and positioning of cortical interneurons. The downstream effects of perturbed endothelial cell-derived GABA signaling are critical, leading to lasting changes to cortical circuits and persistent behavioral deficits. Furthermore, we illustrate new mechanisms of activation of GABA signaling in forebrain endothelial cells that promotes their migration, angiogenesis and acquisition of blood-brain barrier properties. Our findings uncover and elucidate a novel endothelial GABA signaling pathway in the CNS that is distinct from the classical neuronal GABA signaling pathway and shed new light on the etiology and pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric diseases, such as autism spectrum disorders, epilepsy, anxiety, depression and schizophrenia.Cell Research advance online publication 31 October 2017; doi:10.1038/cr.2017.135.
Project description:The precise migration of cortical interneurons is essential for the formation and function of cortical circuits, and disruptions to this key developmental process are implicated in the etiology of complex neurodevelopmental disorders, including schizophrenia, autism and epilepsy. We have recently identified the Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathway as an important mediator of cortical interneuron migration in mice, regulating the proper timing of interneuron arrival into the cortical rudiment. In the current study, we demonstrate a vital role for JNK signaling at later stages of corticogenesis, when interneurons transition from tangential to radial modes of migration. Pharmacological inhibition of JNK signaling in ex vivo slice cultures caused cortical interneurons to rapidly depart from migratory streams and prematurely enter the cortical plate. Similarly, genetic loss of JNK function led to precocious stream departure ex vivo, and stream disruption, morphological changes and abnormal allocation of cortical interneurons in vivo These data suggest that JNK signaling facilitates the tangential migration and laminar deposition of cortical interneurons, and further implicates the JNK pathway as an important regulator of cortical development.
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:Forebrain GABAergic interneurons are divided into subgroups based on their neurochemical markers, connectivity and physiological properties. Abnormal interneuron function is implicated in the pathobiology of neurological disorders such as schizophrenia, autism, and epilepsy. Studies on interneuron development and their role in disease would benefit from an efficient mechanism for the production and selection of specific interneuron subgroups. In this study, we engineered a mouse embryonic stem cell (mESC) line for doxycycline-inducible expression of Nkx2.1, a required transcription factor for cortical interneurons derived from the medial ganglionic eminence (MGE). This mESC line was modified to express GFP in Lhx6(+) cells, a marker of newly postmitotic and mature MGE-derived cortical interneurons. The addition of doxycycline to differentiating ESCs efficiently induced Nkx2.1 protein and increased the production of GFP(+) cells. Transplantation of GFP(+) putative interneuron precursors resulted in migratory, morphological, and neurochemical features consistent with cortical interneuron fates. To test the hypothesis that Sonic hedgehog (Shh) primarily influences cortical interneuron fate determination through the induction of Nkx2.1, ESCs were grown with doxycycline and the Shh antagonist cyclopamine. We found induced Nkx2.1 renders Shh signaling dispensable for the generation of MGE-derived interneurons. These results demonstrate that inducible expression of fate determining genes in embryonic stem cells can be used to study fate determination of the developing forebrain.
Project description:Cortical interneurons are born in the ventral forebrain and migrate tangentially in two streams at the levels of the intermediate zone (IZ) and the pre-plate/marginal zone to the developing cortex where they switch to radial migration before settling in their final positions in the cortical plate. In a previous attempt to identify the molecules that regulate stream specification, we performed transcriptomic analysis of GFP-labelled interneurons taken from the two migratory streams during corticogenesis. A number of cadherins were found to be expressed differentially, with Cadherin-8 (Cdh8) selectively present in the IZ stream. We verified this expression pattern at the mRNA and protein levels on tissue sections and found approximately half of the interneurons of the IZ expressed Cdh8. Furthermore, this cadherin was also detected in the germinal zones of the subpallium, suggesting that it might be involved not only in the migration of interneurons but also in their generation. Quantitative analysis of cortical interneurons in animals lacking the cadherin at E18.5 revealed a significant increase in their numbers. Subsequent functional in vitro experiments showed that blocking Cdh8 function led to increased cell proliferation, with the opposite results observed with over-expression, supporting its role in interneuron generation.
Project description:Mitochondrial dysfunction has been increasingly linked to neurodevelopmental disorders such as intellectual disability, childhood epilepsy, and autism spectrum disorder, conditions also associated with cortical GABAergic interneuron dysfunction. Although interneurons have some of the highest metabolic demands in the postnatal brain, the importance of mitochondria during interneuron development is unknown. We find that interneuron migration from the basal forebrain to the neocortex is highly sensitive to perturbations in oxidative phosphorylation. Both pharmacologic and genetic inhibition of adenine nucleotide transferase 1 (Ant1) disrupts the non-radial migration of interneurons, but not the radial migration of cortical projection neurons. The selective dependence of cortical interneuron migration on oxidative phosphorylation may be a mechanistic pathway upon which multiple developmental and metabolic pathologies converge.
Project description:Cortical inhibitory circuits are formed by ?-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-secreting interneurons, a cell population that originates far from the cerebral cortex in the embryonic ventral forebrain. Given their distant developmental origins, it is intriguing how the number of cortical interneurons is ultimately determined. One possibility, suggested by the neurotrophic hypothesis, is that cortical interneurons are overproduced, and then after their migration into cortex the excess interneurons are eliminated through a competition for extrinsically derived trophic signals. Here we characterize the developmental cell death of mouse cortical interneurons in vivo, in vitro and after transplantation. We found that 40% of developing cortical interneurons were eliminated through Bax (Bcl-2-associated X)-dependent apoptosis during postnatal life. When cultured in vitro or transplanted into the cortex, interneuron precursors died at a cellular age similar to that at which endogenous interneurons died during normal development. Over transplant sizes that varied 200-fold, a constant fraction of the transplanted population underwent cell death. The death of transplanted neurons was not affected by the cell-autonomous disruption of TrkB (tropomyosin kinase receptor B), the main neurotrophin receptor expressed by neurons of the central nervous system. Transplantation expanded the cortical interneuron population by up to 35%, but the frequency of inhibitory synaptic events did not scale with the number of transplanted interneurons. Taken together, our findings indicate that interneuron cell death is determined intrinsically, either cell-autonomously or through a population-autonomous competition for survival signals derived from other interneurons.
Project description:Human pluripotent stem cells are a powerful tool for modeling brain development and disease. The human cortex is composed of two major neuronal populations: projection neurons and local interneurons. Cortical interneurons comprise a diverse class of cell types expressing the neurotransmitter GABA. Dysfunction of cortical interneurons has been implicated in neuropsychiatric diseases, including schizophrenia, autism, and epilepsy. Here, we demonstrate the highly efficient derivation of human cortical interneurons in an NKX2.1::GFP human embryonic stem cell reporter line. Manipulating the timing of SHH activation yields three distinct GFP+ populations with specific transcriptional profiles, neurotransmitter phenotypes, and migratory behaviors. Further differentiation in a murine cortical environment yields parvalbumin- and somatostatin-expressing neurons that exhibit synaptic inputs and electrophysiological properties of cortical interneurons. Our study defines the signals sufficient for modeling human ventral forebrain development in vitro and lays the foundation for studying cortical interneuron involvement in human disease pathology.
Project description:Tangential migration presents the primary mode of migration of cortical interneurons translocating into the cerebral cortex from subpallial domains. This migration takes place in multiple streams with the most superficial one located in the cortical marginal zone. While a number of forebrain-expressed molecules regulating this process have emerged, it remains unclear to what extent structures outside the brain, like the forebrain meninges, are involved.We studied a unique Foxc1 hypomorph mouse model (Foxc1hith/hith) with meningeal defects and impaired tangential migration of cortical interneurons. We identified a territorial correlation between meningeal defects and disruption of interneuron migration along the adjacent marginal zone in these animals, suggesting that impaired meningeal integrity might be the primary cause for the observed migration defects. Moreover, we postulate that the meningeal factor regulating tangential migration that is affected in homozygote mutants is the chemokine Cxcl12. In addition, by using chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis, we provide evidence that the Cxcl12 gene is a direct transcriptional target of Foxc1 in the meninges. Further, we observe migration defects of a lesser degree in Cajal-Retzius cells migrating within the cortical marginal zone, indicating a less important role for Cxcl12 in their migration. Finally, the developmental migration defects observed in Foxc1hith/hith mutants do not lead to obvious differences in interneuron distribution in the adult if compared to control animals.Our results suggest a critical role for the forebrain meninges to promote during development the tangential migration of cortical interneurons along the cortical marginal zone and Cxcl12 as the factor responsible for this property.