Direct Reprogramming of Human Neurons Identifies MARCKSL1 as a Pathogenic Mediator of Valproic Acid-Induced Teratogenicity.
ABSTRACT: Human pluripotent stem cells can be rapidly converted into functional neurons by ectopic expression of proneural transcription factors. Here we show that directly reprogrammed neurons, despite their rapid maturation kinetics, can model teratogenic mechanisms that specifically affect early neurodevelopment. We delineated distinct phases of in vitro maturation during reprogramming of human neurons and assessed the cellular phenotypes of valproic acid (VPA), a teratogenic drug. VPA exposure caused chronic impairment of dendritic morphology and functional properties of developing neurons, but not those of mature neurons. These pathogenic effects were associated with VPA-mediated inhibition of the histone deacetylase (HDAC) and glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) pathways, which caused transcriptional downregulation of many genes, including MARCKSL1, an actin-stabilizing protein essential for dendritic morphogenesis and synapse maturation during early neurodevelopment. Our findings identify a developmentally restricted pathogenic mechanism of VPA and establish the use of reprogrammed neurons as an effective platform for modeling teratogenic pathways.
Project description:Human pluripotent stem cells can be rapidly converted into functional neurons by ectopic expression of proneural transcription factors. Here we show that directly reprogrammed neurons, despite their rapid maturation kinetics, can model teratogenic mechanisms that specifically affect early neurodevelopment. We delineated distinct phases of in vitro maturation during reprogramming of human neurons and assessed the cellular phenotypes of valproic acid (VPA), a teratogenic drug. VPA exposure caused chronic impairment of dendritic morphology and functional properties of developing neurons, but not those of mature neurons. These pathogenic effects were associated with VPA-mediated inhibition of the histone deacetylase (HDAC) and glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) pathways, which caused transcriptional downregulation of many genes, including MARCKSL1, an actin-stabilizing protein essential for dendritic morphogenesis and synapse maturation during early neurodevelopment. Our findings identify a developmentally restricted pathogenic mechanism of VPA and establish the use of reprogrammed neurons as an effective platform for modeling teratogenic pathways. Overall design: Examination of global transcriptional changes by chronic Valproic acid-exposure. Article reference: STEM2658 NIHMS ID: NIHMS 1528543
Project description:Cell migration is a fundamental biological function, critical during development and regeneration, whereas deregulated migration underlies neurological birth defects and cancer metastasis. MARCKS-like protein 1 (MARCKSL1) is widely expressed in nervous tissue, where, like Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK), it is required for neural tube formation, though the mechanism is unknown. Here we show that MARCKSL1 is directly phosphorylated by JNK on C-terminal residues (S120, T148, and T183). This phosphorylation enables MARCKSL1 to bundle and stabilize F-actin, increase filopodium numbers and dynamics, and retard migration in neurons. Conversely, when MARCKSL1 phosphorylation is inhibited, actin mobility increases and filopodium formation is compromised whereas lamellipodium formation is enhanced, as is cell migration. We find that MARCKSL1 mRNA is upregulated in a broad range of cancer types and that MARCKSL1 protein is strongly induced in primary prostate carcinomas. Gene knockdown in prostate cancer cells or in neurons reveals a critical role for MARCKSL1 in migration that is dependent on the phosphorylation state; phosphomimetic MARCKSL1 (MARCKSL1(S120D,T148D,T183D)) inhibits whereas dephospho-MARCKSL1(S120A,T148A,T183A) induces migration. In summary, these data show that JNK phosphorylation of MARCKSL1 regulates actin homeostasis, filopodium and lamellipodium formation, and neuronal migration under physiological conditions and that, when ectopically expressed in prostate cancer cells, MARCKSL1 again determines cell movement.
Project description:Valproate (VPA) treatment in pregnancy leads to congenital anomalies, possibly by disrupting folate or homocysteine metabolism. Since methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) is a key enzyme of folate interconversion and homocysteine metabolism, we addressed the possibility that VPA might have different teratogenicity in Mthfr(+/+) and Mthfr(+/-) mice and that VPA might interfere with folate metabolism through MTHFR modulation. Mthfr(+/+) and Mthfr(+/-) pregnant mice were injected with VPA on gestational day 8.5; resorption rates and occurrence of neural tube defects (NTDs) were examined on gestational day 14.5. We also examined the effects of VPA on MTHFR expression in HepG2 cells and on MTHFR activity and homocysteine levels in mice. Mthfr(+/+) mice had increased resorption rates (36%) after VPA treatment, compared to saline treatment (10%), whereas resorption rates were similar in Mthfr(+/-) mice with the two treatments (25-27%). NTDs were only observed in one group (VPA-treated Mthfr(+/+)). In HepG2 cells, VPA increased MTHFR promoter activity and MTHFR mRNA and protein (2.5- and 3.7-fold, respectively). Consistent with cellular MTHFR upregulation by VPA, brain MTHFR enzyme activity was increased and plasma homocysteine was decreased in VPA-treated pregnant mice compared to saline-treated animals. These results underscore the importance of folate interconversion in VPA-induced teratogenicity, since VPA increases MTHFR expression and has lower teratogenic potential in MTHFR deficiency.
Project description:Previously, we reported that valproic acid (VPA), a common antiepileptic drug and a potent teratogenic, dowregulates RBP4 in chicken embryo model (CEM) when induced by VPA. Whether such teratogenicity is associated with more advanced proteomic and genomic alterations, we further performed this present study.VPA (60 µM) was applied to 36 chicken embryos at HH stage 10 (day-1.5). Resveratrol (RV) and vitamin E (vit E) (each at 0.2 and 2.0 µM) were applied simultaneously to explore the alleviation effect. The proteins in the cervical muscles of the day-1 chicks were analyzed using 2D-electrophoresis and LC/MS/MS. While the genomics associated with each specific protein alteration was examined with RT-PCR and qPCR. At earlier embryonic stage, VPA downregulated PEBP1 and BHMT genes and at the same time upregulated MYL1, ALB and FLNC genes significantly (p<0.05) without affecting PKM2 gene. Alternatively, VPA directly inhibited the folate-independent (or the betaine-dependent) remethylation pathway. These features were effectively alleviated by RV and vit E.VPA alters the expression of PEBP1, BHMT, MYL1, ALB and FLNC that are closely related with metabolic myopathies, myogenesis, albumin gene expression, and haemolytic anemia. On the other hand, VPA directly inhibits the betaine-dependent remethylation pathway. Taken together, VPA elicits hemorrhagic myoliposis via these action mechanisms, and RV and vit E are effective for alleviation of such adverse effects.
Project description:Valproic acid (VPA) is widely prescribed to treat epilepsy. Maternal VPA use is, however, clinically restricted because of the severe risk that VPA may cause neurodevelopmental disorders in offspring, such as autism spectrum disorder. Understanding the negative action of VPA may help to prevent VPA-induced neurodevelopmental disorders. Astrocytes play a vital role in neurodevelopment and synapse function; however, the impact of VPA on astrocyte involvement in neurodevelopment and synapse function has not been examined. In this study, we examined whether exposure of cultured astrocytes to VPA alters neuronal morphology and synapse function of co-cultured neurons. We show that synaptic transmission by inhibitory neurons was small because VPA-exposed astrocytes reduced the number of inhibitory synapses. However, synaptic transmission by excitatory neurons and the number of excitatory synapses were normal with VPA-exposed astrocytes. VPA-exposed astrocytes did not affect the morphology of inhibitory neurons. These data indicate that VPA-exposed astrocytes impair synaptogenesis specifically of inhibitory neurons. Our results indicate that maternal use of VPA would affect not only neurons but also astrocytes and would result in perturbed astrocyte-mediated neurodevelopment.
Project description:Lung cancer is the most common cancer in males and females and ~40% of lung cancer cases are adenocarcinomas. Previous studies have demonstrated that myristoylated alanine rich protein kinase C substrate (MARCKS) is upregulated in several types of cancer and is associated with poor prognosis in patients with breast cancer. However, its expression level and role in lung adenocarcinoma remain unknown. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the expression level and biological functions of MARCKS like 1 (MARCKSL1), a member of the MARCKS family, in lung adenocarcinoma. The expression level of MARCKSL1 was examined in human lung adenocarcinoma tissues and cell lines. MARCKSL1-specific small interfering RNAs effectively suppressed its expression level and significantly inhibited the proliferation, migration and invasion of lung adenocarcinoma cells. Additionally, the role of MARCKSLI in the regulation of metastasis was examined. Silencing MARCKSL1 decreased the expression of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-associated proteins E-cadherin, N-cadherin, vimentin and snail family transcriptional repressor 2, and decreased the phosphorylation level of AKT. The results obtained in the current study suggested that MARCKSL1 promoted the progression of lung adenocarcinoma by regulating EMT. MARCKSLI may have prognostic value and serve as a novel therapeutic target in lung adenocarcinoma.
Project description:Abnormalities in limbic neural circuits have been implicated in the onset of anxiety disorders. However, the molecular pathogenesis underlying anxiety disorders remains poorly elucidated. Here, we demonstrate that myristoylated alanine-rich C-kinase substrate like 1 (MARCKSL1) regulates amygdala circuitry to control the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, as well as induces anxiety-like behaviors in mice. MARCKSL1 expression was predominantly localized in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), hypothalamus, hippocampus, and amygdala of the adult mouse brain. MARCKSL1 transgenic (Tg) mice exhibited anxiety-like behaviors dependent on corticotropin-releasing hormone. MARCKSL1 increased spine formation in the central amygdala, and downregulation of MARCKSL1 in the amygdala normalized both increased HPA axis activity and elevated anxiety-like behaviors in Tg mice. Furthermore, MARCKSL1 expression was increased in the PFC and amygdala in a brain injury model associated with anxiety-like behaviors. Our findings suggest that MARCKSL1 expression in the amygdala plays an important role in anxiety-like behaviors.
Project description:Protein expression of Myristoylated alanine-rich C kinase substrate like-1 (MARCKSL1) has been identified as a prognostic factor in lymph-node negative (LN-) breast cancer patients. We aim to validate MARCKSL1 protein expression as a prognostic marker for distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) in a new cohort of LN- breast cancer patients. MARCKSL1 expression was evaluated in 151 operable T1,2N0M0 LN- breast cancer patients by immunohistochemistry. Median follow-up time was 152 months, range 11-189 months. Results were compared with classical prognosticators (age, tumor diameter, grade, estrogen receptor, and proliferation) using single (Kaplan-Meier) and multivariate (Cox model) survival analysis. Thirteen patients (9%) developed distant metastases. With both single and multiple analysis of all features, MARCKSL1 did not show a significant prognostic value for DMFS (p = 0.498). Of the assessed classical prognosticators, only tumor diameter showed prognostic value (hazard ratio 9.3, 95% confidence interval 2.8-31.0, p <0.001). MARCKSL1 expression could not be confirmed as a prognostic factor in this cohort. Possible reasons include changes in diagnostic and treatment guidelines between the discovery and validation cohorts. Further studies are needed to reveal the potential biological role of this protein in breast cancer.
Project description:The formation of vascular tubes is driven by extensive changes in endothelial cell (EC) shape. Here, we have identified a role of the actin-binding protein, Marcksl1, in modulating the mechanical properties of EC cortex to regulate cell shape and vessel structure during angiogenesis. Increasing and depleting Marcksl1 expression level in vivo results in an increase and decrease, respectively, in EC size and the diameter of microvessels. Furthermore, endothelial overexpression of Marcksl1 induces ectopic blebbing on both apical and basal membranes, during and after lumen formation, that is suppressed by reduced blood flow. High resolution imaging reveals that Marcksl1 promotes the formation of linear actin bundles and decreases actin density at the EC cortex. Our findings demonstrate that a balanced network of linear and branched actin at the EC cortex is essential in conferring cortical integrity to resist the deforming forces of blood flow to regulate vessel structure.
Project description:Caffeine consumption is worldwide. It has been part of our diet for many centuries; indwelled in our foods, drinks, and medicines. It is often perceived as a "legal drug", and though it is known to have detrimental effects on our health, more specifically, disrupt the normal fetal development following excessive maternal intake, much ambiguity still surrounds the precise mechanisms and consequences of caffeine-induced toxicity. Here, we employed early chick embryos as a developmental model to assess the effects of caffeine on the development of the fetal nervous system. We found that administration of caffeine led to defective neural tube closures and expression of several abnormal morphological phenotypes, which included thickening of the cephalic mesenchymal tissues and scattering of somites. Immunocytochemistry of caffeine-treated embryos using neural crest cell markers also demonstrated uncharacteristic features; HNK1 labeled migratory crest cells exhibited an incontinuous dorsal-ventral migration trajectory, though Pax7 positive cells of the caffeine-treated groups were comparatively similar to the control. Furthermore, the number of neurons expressing neurofilament and the degree of neuronal branching were both significantly reduced following caffeine administration. The extent of these effects was dose-dependent. In conclusion, caffeine exposure can result in malformations of the neural tube and induce other teratogenic effects on neurodevelopment, although the exact mechanism of these effects requires further investigation.