The ciliary Frizzled-like receptor Tmem67 regulates canonical Wnt/?-catenin signalling in the developing cerebellum via Hoxb5.
ABSTRACT: Primary cilia defects result in a group of related pleiotropic malformation syndromes known as ciliopathies, often characterised by cerebellar developmental and foliation defects. Here, we describe the cerebellar anatomical and signalling defects in the Tmem67tm1(Dgen)/H knockout mouse. At mid-gestation, Tmem67 mutant cerebella were hypoplastic and had aberrantly high canonical Wnt/?-catenin signalling, proliferation and apoptosis. Later in development, mutant cerebellar hemispheres had severe foliation defects and inferior lobe malformation, characterized by immature Purkinje cells (PCs). Early postnatal Tmem67 mutant cerebellum had disrupted ciliogenesis and reduced responsiveness to Shh signalling. Transcriptome profiling of Tmem67 mutant cerebella identified ectopic increased expression of homeobox-type transcription factors (Hoxa5, Hoxa4, Hoxb5 and Hoxd3), normally required for early rostral hindbrain patterning. HOXB5 protein levels were increased in the inferior lobe, and increased canonical Wnt signalling, following loss of TMEM67, was dependent on HOXB5. HOXB5 occupancy at the ?-catenin promoter was significantly increased by activation of canonical Wnt signalling in Tmem67-/- mutant cerebellar neurones, suggesting that increased canonical Wnt signalling following mutation or loss of TMEM67 was directly dependent on HOXB5. Our results link dysregulated expression of Hox group genes with ciliary Wnt signalling defects in the developing cerebellum, providing new mechanistic insights into ciliopathy cerebellar hypoplasia phenotypes.
Project description:Ciliopathies are a group of developmental disorders that manifest with multi-organ anomalies. Mutations in TMEM67 (MKS3) cause a range of human ciliopathies, including Meckel-Gruber and Joubert syndromes. In this study we describe multi-organ developmental abnormalities in the Tmem67(tm1Dgen/H1) knockout mouse that closely resemble those seen in Wnt5a and Ror2 knockout mice. These include pulmonary hypoplasia, ventricular septal defects, shortening of the body longitudinal axis, limb abnormalities, and cochlear hair cell stereociliary bundle orientation and basal body/kinocilium positioning defects. The basal body/kinocilium complex was often uncoupled from the hair bundle, suggesting aberrant basal body migration, although planar cell polarity and apical planar asymmetry in the organ of Corti were normal. TMEM67 (meckelin) is essential for phosphorylation of the non-canonical Wnt receptor ROR2 (receptor-tyrosine-kinase-like orphan receptor 2) upon stimulation with Wnt5a-conditioned medium. ROR2 also colocalises and interacts with TMEM67 at the ciliary transition zone. Additionally, the extracellular N-terminal domain of TMEM67 preferentially binds to Wnt5a in an in vitro binding assay. Cultured lungs of Tmem67 mutant mice failed to respond to stimulation of epithelial branching morphogenesis by Wnt5a. Wnt5a also inhibited both the Shh and canonical Wnt/?-catenin signalling pathways in wild-type embryonic lung. Pulmonary hypoplasia phenotypes, including loss of correct epithelial branching morphogenesis and cell polarity, were rescued by stimulating the non-canonical Wnt pathway downstream of the Wnt5a-TMEM67-ROR2 axis by activating RhoA. We propose that TMEM67 is a receptor that has a main role in non-canonical Wnt signalling, mediated by Wnt5a and ROR2, and normally represses Shh signalling. Downstream therapeutic targeting of the Wnt5a-TMEM67-ROR2 axis might, therefore, reduce or prevent pulmonary hypoplasia in ciliopathies and other congenital conditions.
Project description:The ciliopathies are a group of heterogeneous diseases with considerable variations in phenotype for allelic conditions such as Meckel-Gruber syndrome (MKS) and Joubert syndrome (JBTS) even at the inter-individual level within families. In humans, mutations in TMEM67 (also known as MKS3) cause both MKS and JBTS, with TMEM67 encoding the orphan receptor meckelin (TMEM67) that localizes to the ciliary transition zone. We now describe the Tmem67(tm1(Dgen/H)) knockout mouse model that recapitulates the brain phenotypic variability of these human ciliopathies, with categorization of Tmem67 mutant animals into two phenotypic groups. An MKS-like incipient congenic group (F6 to F10) manifested very variable neurological features (including exencephaly, and frontal/occipital encephalocele) that were associated with the loss of primary cilia, diminished Shh signalling and dorsalization of the caudal neural tube. The 'MKS-like' group also had high de-regulated canonical Wnt/?-catenin signalling associated with hyper-activated Dishevelled-1 (Dvl-1) localized to the basal body. Conversely, a second fully congenic group (F > 10) had less variable features pathognomonic for JBTS (including cerebellar hypoplasia), and retention of abnormal bulbous cilia associated with mild neural tube ventralization. The 'JBTS-like' group had de-regulated low levels of canonical Wnt signalling associated with the loss of Dvl-1 localization to the basal body. Our results suggest that modifier alleles partially determine the variation between MKS and JBTS, implicating the interaction between Dvl-1 and meckelin, or other components of the ciliary transition zone. The Tmem67(tm1(Dgen/H)) line is unique in modelling the variable expressivity of phenotypes in these two ciliopathies.
Project description:FOXC1 loss contributes to Dandy-Walker malformation (DWM), a common human cerebellar malformation. Previously, we found that complete Foxc1 loss leads to aberrations in proliferation, neuronal differentiation and migration in the embryonic mouse cerebellum (Haldipur et al., 2014). We now demonstrate that hypomorphic Foxc1 mutant mice have granule and Purkinje cell abnormalities causing subsequent disruptions in postnatal cerebellar foliation and lamination. Particularly striking is the presence of a partially formed posterior lobule which echoes the posterior vermis DW 'tail sign' observed in human imaging studies. Lineage tracing experiments in Foxc1 mutant mouse cerebella indicate that aberrant migration of granule cell progenitors destined to form the posterior-most lobule causes this unique phenotype. Analyses of rare human del chr 6p25 fetal cerebella demonstrate extensive phenotypic overlap with our Foxc1 mutant mouse models, validating our DWM models and demonstrating that many key mechanisms controlling cerebellar development are likely conserved between mouse and human.
Project description:To assess the role of hepatocyte nuclear factor-3beta (HNF-3beta) in hepatocyte-specific gene transcription, we reported the characterization of the liver phenotype with transgenic mice in which the -3-kb transthyretin (TTR) promoter functioned to increase HNF-3beta expression. During breeding of the TTR-HNF-3beta transgenic mice we noticed that they displayed severe ataxia. In this study, we describe the analysis of our transgenic cerebellar phenotype and demonstrate that ectopic expression of HNF-3beta disrupted cerebellar morphogenesis and caused reduction in cerebellar size. In postnatal cerebellum, the HNF-3beta transgene expression pattern is colocalized to glial fibrillary acidic protein-positive cerebellar astrocytes and Bergmann glial cells. As a result of protracted expression, the transgenic cerebella are impaired in terms of astrocyte dispersal and formation of Bergmann glial cell processes. This caused a disruption in neuronal cell migration to the cortical laminar layers and Purkinje dendritic arbor maturation, thus leading to diminished foliation. Differential hybridization of cDNA arrays was used to identify altered expression of cerebellar genes, which is consistent with the observed defect in transgenic cerebellar morphogenesis and size as well as glial maturation. These include diminished expression of the brain lipid-binding protein, which is required for glial morphological differentiation, and the basic helix-loop-helix NeuroD/Beta2 and homeodomain Engrailed-2 transcription factors, which are required for normal cerebellar morphogenesis and foliation. Undetectable levels of ataxia telangiectasia (ATM), which is required for proper development of the Purkinje dendritic arbor, were found in postnatal transgenic cerebella. Furthermore, the transgenic cerebella displayed levels of insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 elevated to 22 times greater than those measured for wild-type cerebella, an elevation consistent with the reduction in transgenic cerebellar size.
Project description:Conditional N-Myc deletion limits the proliferation of granule neuron progenitors (GNPs), perturbs foliation, and leads to reduced cerebellar mass. We show that c-Myc mRNA levels increase in N-Myc-null GNPs and that simultaneous deletion of both c- and N-Myc exacerbates defective cerebellar development. Moreover, N-Myc loss has been shown to trigger the precocious expression of two cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, Kip1 and Ink4c, in the cerebellar primordium. We now further demonstrate that the engineered disruption of the Kip1 and Ink4c genes in N-Myc-null cerebella partially rescues GNP cell proliferation and cerebellar foliation. These results provide definitive genetic evidence that expression of N-Myc and concomitant down-regulation of Ink4c and Kip1 contribute to the proper development of the cerebellum.
Project description:The cerebellum has a conserved foliation pattern and a well-organized layered structure. The process of foliation and lamination begins around birth. ?-catenin is a downstream molecule of Wnt signaling pathway, which plays a critical role in tissue organization. Lack of ?-catenin at early embryonic stages leads to either prenatal or neonatal death, therefore it has been difficult to resolve its role in cerebellar foliation and lamination. Here we used GFAP-Cre to ablate ?-catenin in neuronal cells of the cerebellum after embryonic day 12.5, and found an unexpected role of ?-catenin in determination of the foliation pattern. In the mutant mice, the positions of fissure formation were changed, and the meninges were improperly incorporated into fissures. At later stages, some lobules were formed by Purkinje cells remaining in deep regions of the cerebellum and the laminar structure was dramatically altered. Our results suggest that ?-catenin is critical for cerebellar foliation and lamination. We also found a non cell-autonomous role of ?-catenin in some developmental properties of major cerebellar cell types during specific stages.
Project description:The Liver Kinase B1 (LKB1) gene plays crucial roles in cell differentiation, proliferation and the establishment of cell polarity. We created LKB1 conditional knockout mice (LKB1(Atoh1) CKO) to investigate the function of LKB1 in cerebellar development. The LKB1(Atoh1) CKO mice displayed motor dysfunction. In the LKB1(Atoh1) CKO cerebellum, the overall structure had a larger volume and more lobules. LKB1 inactivation led to an increased proliferation of granule cell precursors (GCPs), aberrant granule cell migration and overproduction of unipolar brush cells. To investigate the mechanism underlying the abnormal foliation, we examined sonic hedgehog signalling (Shh) by testing its transcriptional mediators, the Gli proteins, which regulate the GCPs proliferation and cerebellar foliation during cerebellar development. The expression levels of Gli genes were significantly increased in the mutant cerebellum. In vitro assays showed that the proliferation of cultured GCPs from mutant cerebellum significantly increased, whereas the proliferation of mutant GCPs significantly decreased in the presence of a Shh inhibitor GDC-0049. Thus, LKB1 deficiency in the LKB1(Atoh1) CKO mice enhanced Shh signalling, leading to the excessive GCP proliferation and the formation of extra lobules. We proposed that LKB1 regulates cerebellar development by controlling GCPs proliferation through Shh signalling during cerebellar development.
Project description:Little is known about the genetic pathways and cellular processes responsible for regional differences in cerebellum foliation, which interestingly are accompanied by regionally distinct afferent circuitry. We have identified the Engrailed (En) homeobox genes as being crucial to producing the distinct medial vermis and lateral hemisphere foliation patterns in mammalian cerebella. By producing a series of temporal conditional mutants in En1 and/or En2, we demonstrate that both En genes are required to ensure that folia exclusive to the vermis or hemispheres form in the appropriate mediolateral position. Furthermore, En1/En2 continue to regulate foliation after embryonic day 14, at which time Fgf8 isthmic organizer activity is complete and the major output cells of the cerebellar cortex have been specified. Changes in spatially restricted gene expression occur prior to foliation in mutants, and foliation is altered from the onset and is accompanied by changes in the thickness of the layer of proliferating granule cell precursors. In addition, the positioning and timing of fissure formation are altered. Thus, the En genes represent a new class of genes that are fundamental to patterning cerebellum foliation throughout the mediolateral axis and that act late in development.
Project description:Heterozygous deletions encompassing the ZIC1;ZIC4 locus have been identified in a subset of individuals with the common cerebellar birth defect Dandy-Walker malformation (DWM). Deletion of Zic1 and Zic4 in mice produces both cerebellar size and foliation defects similar to human DWM, confirming a requirement for these genes in cerebellar development and providing a model to delineate the developmental basis of this clinically important congenital malformation. Here, we show that reduced cerebellar size in Zic1 and Zic4 mutants results from decreased postnatal granule cell progenitor proliferation. Through genetic and molecular analyses, we show that Zic1 and Zic4 have Shh-dependent function promoting proliferation of granule cell progenitors. Expression of the Shh-downstream genes Ptch1, Gli1 and Mycn was downregulated in Zic1/4 mutants, although Shh production and Purkinje cell gene expression were normal. Reduction of Shh dose on the Zic1(+/-);Zic4(+/-) background also resulted in cerebellar size reductions and gene expression changes comparable with those observed in Zic1(-/-);Zic4(-/-) mice. Zic1 and Zic4 are additionally required to pattern anterior vermis foliation. Zic mutant folial patterning abnormalities correlated with disrupted cerebellar anlage gene expression and Purkinje cell topography during late embryonic stages; however, this phenotype was Shh independent. In Zic1(+/-);Zic4(+/-);Shh(+/-), we observed normal cerebellar anlage patterning and foliation. Furthermore, cerebellar patterning was normal in both Gli2-cko and Smo-cko mutant mice, where all Shh function was removed from the developing cerebellum. Thus, our data demonstrate that Zic1 and Zic4 have both Shh-dependent and -independent roles during cerebellar development and that multiple developmental disruptions underlie Zic1/4-related DWM.
Project description:Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) and regulators of the FGF signalling pathway are expressed in several cell types within the cerebellum throughout its development. Although much is known about the function of this pathway during the establishment of the cerebellar territory during early embryogenesis, the role of this pathway during later developmental stages is still poorly understood. Here, we investigated the function of sprouty genes (Spry1, Spry2 and Spry4), which encode feedback antagonists of FGF signalling, during cerebellar development in the mouse. Simultaneous deletion of more than one of these genes resulted in a number of defects, including mediolateral expansion of the cerebellar vermis, reduced thickness of the granule cell layer and abnormal foliation. Analysis of cerebellar development revealed that the anterior cerebellar neuroepithelium in the early embryonic cerebellum was expanded and that granule cell proliferation during late embryogenesis and early postnatal development was reduced. We show that the granule cell proliferation deficit correlated with reduced sonic hedgehog (SHH) expression and signalling. A reduction in Fgfr1 dosage during development rescued these defects, confirming that the abnormalities are due to excess FGF signalling. Our data indicate that sprouty acts both cell autonomously in granule cell precursors and non-cell autonomously to regulate granule cell number. Taken together, our data demonstrate that FGF signalling levels have to be tightly controlled throughout cerebellar development in order to maintain the normal development of multiple cell types.