Project description:Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is a group of inherited peripheral neuropathies associated with mutations or copy number variations in over 70 genes encoding proteins with fundamental roles in the development and function of Schwann cells and peripheral axons. Here, we used iPSC-derived cells to identify common pathophysiological mechanisms in axonal CMT.iPSC lines from patients with two distinct forms of axonal CMT (CMT2A and CMT2E) were differentiated into spinal cord motor neurons and used to study axonal structure and function and electrophysiological properties in vitro.iPSC-derived motor neurons exhibited gene and protein expression, ultrastructural and electrophysiological features of mature primary spinal cord motor neurons. Cytoskeletal abnormalities were found in neurons from a CMT2E (NEFL) patient and corroborated by a mouse model of the same NEFL point mutation. Abnormalities in mitochondrial trafficking were found in neurons derived from this patient, but were only mildly present in neurons from a CMT2A (MFN2) patient. Novel electrophysiological abnormalities, including reduced action potential threshold and abnormal channel current properties were observed in motor neurons derived from both of these patients.Human iPSC-derived motor neurons from axonal CMT patients replicated key pathophysiological features observed in other models of MFN2 and NEFL mutations, including abnormal cytoskeletal and mitochondrial dynamics. Electrophysiological abnormalities found in axonal CMT iPSC-derived human motor neurons suggest that these cells are hyperexcitable and have altered sodium and calcium channel kinetics. These findings may provide a new therapeutic target for this group of heterogeneous inherited neuropathies.
Project description:Propionic acidemia (PA) is a disorder of intermediary metabolism with defects in the alpha or beta subunits of propionyl CoA carboxylase (PCCA and PCCB respectively) enzyme. We previously described a liver culture system that uses liver-derived hemodynamic blood flow and transport parameters to restore and maintain primary human hepatocyte biology and metabolism utilizing physiologically relevant milieu concentrations.In this study, primary hepatocytes isolated from the explanted liver of an 8-year-old PA patient were cultured in the liver system for 10 days and evaluated for retention of differentiated polarized morphology. The expression of PCCA and PCCB was assessed at a gene and protein level relative to healthy donor controls. Ammonia and urea levels were measured in the presence and absence of amino acid supplements to assess the metabolic consequences of branched-chain amino acid metabolism in this disease.Primary hepatocytes from the PA patient maintained a differentiated polarized morphology (peripheral actin staining) over 10 days of culture in the system. We noted lower levels of PCCA and PCCB relative to normal healthy controls at the mRNA and protein level. Supplementation of branched-chain amino acids, isoleucine (5mM) and valine (5mM) in the medium, resulted in increased ammonia and decreased urea in the PA patient hepatocyte system, but no such response was seen in healthy hepatocytes or patient-derived fibroblasts.We demonstrate for the first time the successful culture of PA patient-derived primary hepatocytes in a differentiated state, that stably retain the PCCA and PCCB enzyme defects at a gene and protein level. Phenotypic response of the system to an increased load of branched-chain amino acids, not possible with fibroblasts, underscores the utility of this system in the better understanding of the molecular pathophysiology of PA and examining the effectiveness of potential therapeutic agents in the most relevant tissue.
Project description:Hoxb8 mutant mice exhibit compulsive grooming and hair removal dysfunction similar to humans with the obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)-spectrum disorder, trichotillomania. As, in the mouse brain, the only detectable cells that label with Hoxb8 cell lineage appear to be microglia, we suggested that defective microglia cause the neuropsychiatric disorder. Does the Hoxb8 mutation in microglia lead to neural circuit dysfunctions? We demonstrate that Hoxb8 mutants contain corticostriatal circuit defects. Golgi staining, ultra-structural and electrophysiological studies of mutants reveal excess dendritic spines, pre- and postsynaptic structural defects, long-term potentiation and miniature postsynaptic current defects. Hoxb8 mutants also exhibit hyperanxiety and social behavioral deficits similar to mice with neuronal mutations in Sapap3, Slitrk5 and Shank3, reported models of OCD and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Long-term treatment of Hoxb8 mutants with fluoxetine, a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, reduces excessive grooming, hyperanxiety and social behavioral impairments. These studies provide linkage between the neuronal defects induced by defective Hoxb8-microglia and neuronal dysfunctions directly generated by mutations in synaptic components that result in mice, which display similar pathological grooming, hyperanxiety and social impairment deficits. Our results shed light on Hoxb8 microglia-driven circuit-specific defects and therapeutic approaches that will become essential to developing novel therapies for neuropsychiatric diseases such as OCD and ASDs with Hoxb8-microglia being the central target.
Project description:Introduction:Long QT syndrome type 1 (LQT1) is caused by mutations in KCNQ1 coding slowly-activating delayed-rectifier K+ channels. We identified the novel missense mutation M437V of KCNQ1 in a LQT1 patient. Here, we employed iPS cell (iPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes to investigate electrophysiological properties of the mutant channel and LQT1 cardiomyocytes. Methods:To generate iPSCs from the patient and a healthy subject, peripheral blood T cells were reprogrammed by Sendai virus vector encoding human OCT3/4, SOX2, KLF4, and c-MYC. Cardiomyocytes were prepared from iPSCs and human embryonic stem cells using a cytokine-based two-step differentiation method and were subjected to patch clamp experiments. Results:LQT1 iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes exhibited prolongation of action potential duration (APD), which was due to a reduction of the KCNQ1-mediated current IKs; Na+, Ca2+ and other K+ channel currents were comparable. When expressed in HEK293 and COS7 cells, the mutant KCNQ1 was normally expressed in the plasma membrane but generated smaller currents than the wild type. Isoproterenol significantly prolonged APDs of LQT1 cardiomyocytes, while shortening those of healthy ones. A mathematical model for IKs-reduced human ventricular myocytes reproduced APD prolongation and generation of early afterdepolarizations (EADs) under β-adrenergic stimulation. Conclusions:QT prolongation of the LQT1 patient with the mutation M437V of KCNQ1 was caused by IKs reduction, which may render the patient vulnerable to generation of EADs and arrhythmias.
Project description:AIMS:MeCP2 gene mutations are associated with Rett syndrome and X-linked mental retardation (XLMR), diseases characterized by abnormal brain development and function. Recently, we created a novel MeCP2 A140V mutation mouse model that exhibited abnormalities of cell packing density and dendritic branching consistent with that seen in Rett syndrome patients as well as other MeCP2 mutant mouse models. Therefore, we hypothesized that some deficits of neuronal and synaptic functions might also be present in the A140V mutant model. METHODS:Here, we tested our hypothesis in hippocampal slices using electrophysiological recordings. RESULTS:We found that in young A140V mutant mice (3- to 4-week-old), hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons exhibited more positive resting membrane potential, increased action potential (AP) firing frequency induced by injection of depolarizing current, wider AP duration, and smaller after hyperpolarization potential compared to neurons prepared from age-matched wild-type mice, suggesting a neuronal hyperexcitation. At the synaptic level, A140V mutant neurons exhibited a reduced frequency of spontaneous IPSCs (inhibitory postsynaptic potentials) and an enhanced probability of evoked glutamate release, both suggesting neuronal hyperexcitation. However, hippocampal CA1 long-term potentiation was not significantly different between A140V and WT mice. In adult mice (11- to 13-month-old), in addition to neuronal hyperexcitation, we also found significant deficits of both short-term and long-term potentiation of CA3-CA1 synapses in A140V mice compared to WT mice. CONCLUSIONS:These results clearly illustrate the age-dependent abnormalities of neuronal and synaptic function in the MeCP2 A140V mutant mouse model, which provides new insights into the understanding of the pathogenesis of Rett syndrome.
Project description:Recent studies identified a previously uncharacterized gene C5ORF42 (JBTS17) as a major cause of Joubert syndrome (JBTS), a ciliopathy associated with cerebellar abnormalities and other birth defects. Here we report the first Jbts17 mutant mouse model, Heart Under Glass (Hug), recovered from a forward genetic screen. Exome sequencing identified Hug as a S235P missense mutation in the mouse homolog of JBTS17 (2410089e03rik). Hug mutants exhibit multiple birth defects typical of ciliopathies, including skeletal dysplasia, polydactyly, craniofacial anomalies, kidney cysts and eye defects. Some Hug mutants exhibit congenital heart defects ranging from mild pulmonary stenosis to severe pulmonary atresia. Immunostaining showed JBTS17 is localized in the cilia transition zone. Fibroblasts from Hug mutant mice and a JBTS patient with a JBTS17 mutation showed ciliogenesis defects. Significantly, Hug mutant fibroblasts showed loss of not only JBTS17, but also NPHP1 and CEP290 from the cilia transition zone. Hug mutants exhibited reduced ciliation in the cerebellum. This was associated with reduction in cerebellar foliation. Using a fibroblast wound-healing assay, we showed Hug mutant cells cannot establish cell polarity required for directional cell migration. However, stereocilia patterning was grossly normal in the cochlea, indicating planar cell polarity is not markedly affected. Overall, we showed the JBTS pathophysiology is replicated in the Hug mutant mice harboring a Jbts17 mutation. Our findings demonstrate JBTS17 is a cilia transition zone component that acts upstream of other Joubert syndrome associated transition zone proteins NPHP1 and CEP290, indicating its importance in the pathogenesis of Joubert syndrome.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ leak and post-translational modifications under stress have been implicated in catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT), a highly lethal inherited arrhythmogenic disorder. Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) offer a unique opportunity for disease modeling. OBJECTIVE:The aims were to obtain functional hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes from a CPVT patient harboring a novel ryanodine receptor (RyR2) mutation and model the syndrome, drug responses and investigate the molecular mechanisms associated to the CPVT syndrome. METHODS:Patient-specific cardiomyocytes were generated from a young athletic female diagnosed with CPVT. The contractile, intracellular Ca2+ handling and electrophysiological properties as well as the RyR2 macromolecular remodeling were studied. RESULTS:Exercise stress electrocardiography revealed polymorphic ventricular tachycardia when treated with metoprolol and marked improvement with flecainide alone. We found abnormal stress-induced contractile and electrophysiological properties associated with sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ leak in CPVT hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes. We found inadequate response to metoprolol and a potent response of flecainide. Stabilizing RyR2 with a Rycal compound prevents those abnormalities specifically in CPVT hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes. The RyR2-D3638A mutation is located in the conformational change inducing-central core domain and leads to RyR2 macromolecular remodeling including depletion of PP2A and Calstabin2. CONCLUSION:We identified a novel RyR2-D3638A mutation causing 3D conformational defects and aberrant biophysical properties associated to RyR2 macromolecular complex post-translational remodeling. The molecular remodeling is for the first time revealed using patient-specific hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes which may explain the CPVT proband's resistance. Our study promotes hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes as a suitable model for disease modeling, testing new therapeutic compounds, personalized medicine and deciphering underlying molecular mechanisms.
Project description:Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety-spectrum disorder characterized by persistent intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive actions (compulsions). Dysfunction of cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical circuitry is implicated in OCD, although the underlying pathogenic mechanisms are unknown. SAP90/PSD95-associated protein 3 (SAPAP3; also known as DLGAP3) is a postsynaptic scaffolding protein at excitatory synapses that is highly expressed in the striatum. Here we show that mice with genetic deletion of Sapap3 exhibit increased anxiety and compulsive grooming behaviour leading to facial hair loss and skin lesions; both behaviours are alleviated by a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Electrophysiological, structural and biochemical studies of Sapap3-mutant mice reveal defects in cortico-striatal synapses. Furthermore, lentiviral-mediated selective expression of Sapap3 in the striatum rescues the synaptic and behavioural defects of Sapap3-mutant mice. These findings demonstrate a critical role for SAPAP3 at cortico-striatal synapses and emphasize the importance of cortico-striatal circuitry in OCD-like behaviours.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated RNA decay (NMD) is a highly conserved and selective RNA degradation pathway that acts on RNAs terminating their reading frames in specific contexts. NMD is regulated in a tissue-specific and developmentally controlled manner, raising the possibility that it influences developmental events. Indeed, loss or depletion of NMD factors have been shown to disrupt developmental events in organisms spanning the phylogenetic scale. In humans, mutations in the NMD factor gene, UPF3B, cause intellectual disability (ID) and are strongly associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and schizophrenia (SCZ). Here, we report the generation and characterization of mice harboring a null Upf3b allele. These Upf3b-null mice exhibit deficits in fear-conditioned learning, but not spatial learning. Upf3b-null mice also have a profound defect in prepulse inhibition (PPI), a measure of sensorimotor gating commonly deficient in individuals with SCZ and other brain disorders. Consistent with both their PPI and learning defects, cortical pyramidal neurons from Upf3b-null mice display deficient dendritic spine maturation in vivo. In addition, neural stem cells from Upf3b-null mice have impaired ability to undergo differentiation and require prolonged culture to give rise to functional neurons with electrical activity. RNA sequencing (RNAseq) analysis of the frontal cortex identified UPF3B-regulated RNAs, including direct NMD target transcripts encoding proteins with known functions in neural differentiation, maturation and disease. We suggest Upf3b-null mice serve as a novel model system to decipher cellular and molecular defects underlying ID and neurodevelopmental disorders.
Project description:Peroxisome biogenesis disorders (PBD) are autosomal recessive disorders in humans characterized by skeletal, eye and brain abnormalities. Despite the fact that neurological deficits, including peripheral nervous system (PNS) defects, can be observed at birth in some PBD patients including those with PEX10 mutations, the embryological basis of the PNS defects is unclear. Using a forward genetic screen, we identified a mouse model for Pex10 deficiency that exhibits neurological abnormalities during fetal development. Homozygous Pex10 mutant mouse embryos display biochemical abnormalities related to a PBD deficiency. During late embryogenesis, Pex10 homozygous mutant mice experience progressive loss of movement and at birth they become cyanotic and die shortly thereafter. Homozygous Pex10 mutant fetuses display decreased integrity of axons and synapses, over-extension of axons in the diaphragm and decreased Schwann cell numbers. Our neuropathological, molecular and electrophysiological studies provide new insights into the embryological basis of the PNS deficits in a PBD model. Our findings identify PEX10 function, and likely other PEX proteins, as an essential component of the spinal locomotor circuit.