Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Postdoctoral Research Mentor
Widespread Differential Expression of Coding Region and 3 ' UTR Sequences in Neurons and Other Tissues
2015; 88 (6): 1149-1156
Mature messenger RNAs (mRNAs) consist of coding sequence (CDS) and 5' and 3' UTRs, typically expected to show similar abundance within a given neuron. Examining mRNA from defined neurons, we unexpectedly show extremely common unbalanced expression of cognate 3' UTR and CDS sequences; many genes show high 3' UTR relative to CDS, others show high CDS to 3' UTR. In situ hybridization (19 of 19 genes) shows a broad range of 3' UTR-to-CDS expression ratios across neurons and tissues. Ratios may be spatially graded or change with developmental age but are consistent across animals. Further, for two genes examined, a 3' UTR-to-CDS ratio above a particular threshold in any given neuron correlated with reduced or undetectable protein expression. Our findings raise questions about the role of isolated 3' UTR sequences in regulation of protein expression and highlight the importance of separately examining 3' UTR and CDS sequences in gene expression analyses.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.10.048
View details for Web of Science ID 000368443900011
View details for PubMedID 26687222
Evidence for topographic guidance of dopaminergic axons by differential Netrin-1 expression in the striatum
MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR NEUROSCIENCE
2014; 61: 85-96
There are two main subgroups of midbrain dopaminergic (DA) neurons: the more medially located ventral tegmental area (VTA) DA neurons, which have axons that innervate the ventral-lateral (VL) striatum, and the more laterally located substantia nigra (SN) DA neurons, which preferentially degenerate in Parkinson's disease (PD) and have axons that project to the dorsal-medial (DM) striatum. DA axonal projections in the striatum are not discretely localized and they arborize widely, however they do not stray from one zone to the other so that VTA axons remain in the VL zone and SN axons in the DM zone. Here we provide evidence that Netrin-1 acts in a novel fashion to topographically pattern midbrain DA axons into these two striatal zones by means of a gradient of Netrin-1 in the striatum and by differential attraction of the axons to Netrin-1. Midbrain DA neurons are attracted to the striatum in culture and this attraction is blocked by an anti-DCC (Netrin receptor) antibody. Mechanistically, outgrowth of both VTA and SN DA axons is stimulated by Netrin-1, but the two populations of DA axons respond optimally to overlapping but distinct concentrations of Netrin-1, with SN axons preferring lower concentrations and VTA axons preferring higher concentrations. In vivo this differential preference is closely mirrored by differences in Netrin-1 expression in their respective striatal target fields. In vivo in mice lacking Netrin-1, DA axons that reach the striatum fail to segregate into two terminal zones and to fully innervate the striatum. Our results reveal novel actions for Netrin-1 and provide evidence for a mechanism through which DA axons can selectively innervate one of two terminal zones in the striatum but have free reign to arborize widely within a terminal zone.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.mcn.2014.05.003
View details for Web of Science ID 000340690400009
View details for PubMedID 24867253
Characterization of axon guidance cue sensitivity of human embryonic stem cell-derived dopaminergic neurons
MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR NEUROSCIENCE
2010; 45 (4): 324-334
Dopaminergic neurons derived from human embryonic stem cells will be useful in future transplantation studies of Parkinson's disease patients. As newly generated neurons must integrate and reconnect with host cells, the ability of hESC-derived neurons to respond to axon guidance cues will be critical. Both Netrin-1 and Slit-2 guide rodent embryonic dopaminergic (DA) neurons in vitro and in vivo, but very little is known about the response of hESC-derived DA neurons to any axonal guidance cues. Here we examined the ability of Netrin-1 and Slit-2 to affect human ESC DA axons in vitro. hESC DA neurons mature over time in culture with the developmental profile of DA neurons in vivo, including expression of the DA neuron markers FoxA2, En-1 and Nurr-1, and receptors for both Netrin and Slit. hESC DA neurons respond to exogenous Netrin-1 and Slit-2, showing an increased responsiveness to Netrin-1 as the neurons mature in culture. These responses were maintained in the presence of pro-inflammatory cytokines that might be encountered in the diseased brain. These studies are the first to evaluate and confirm that suitably matured human ES-derived DA neurons can respond appropriately to axon guidance cues.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.mcn.2010.07.004
View details for Web of Science ID 000283970100002
View details for PubMedID 20637284
Gene targeting using a promoterless gene trap vector ("targeted trapping") is an efficient method to mutate a large fraction of genes
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
2005; 102 (37): 13188-13193
A powerful tool for postgenomic analysis of mammalian gene function is gene targeting in mouse ES cells. We report that homologous recombination using a promoterless gene trap vector ("targeting trapping") yields targeting frequencies averaging above 50%, a significant increase compared with current approaches. These high frequencies appear to be due to the stringency of selection with promoterless constructs, because most random insertions are silent and eliminated by drug selection. The promoterless design requires that the targeted gene be expressed in ES cells at levels exceeding a certain threshold (which we estimate to be approximately 1% of the transferrin receptor gene expression level, for the secretory trap vector used here). Analysis of 127 genes that had been trapped by random (nontargeted) gene trapping with the same vector shows that virtually all are expressed in ES cells above this threshold, suggesting that targeted and random trapping share similar requirements for expression levels. In a random sampling of 130 genes encoding secretory proteins, about half were expressed above threshold, suggesting that about half of all secretory genes are accessible by either targeted or random gene trapping. The simplicity and high efficiency of the method facilitate systematic targeting of a large fraction of the genome by individual investigators and large-scale consortia alike.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.0505474102
View details for Web of Science ID 000231916300034
View details for PubMedID 16129827
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC1193537
Mice lacking alpha-synuclein display functional deficits in the nigrostriatal dopamine system
2000; 25 (1): 239-252
alpha-Synuclein (alpha-Syn) is a 14 kDa protein of unknown function that has been implicated in the pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease (PD). Here, we show that alpha-Syn-/- mice are viable and fertile, exhibit intact brain architecture, and possess a normal complement of dopaminergic cell bodies, fibers, and synapses. Nigrostriatal terminals of alpha-Syn-/- mice display a standard pattern of dopamine (DA) discharge and reuptake in response to simple electrical stimulation. However, they exhibit an increased release with paired stimuli that can be mimicked by elevated Ca2+. Concurrent with the altered DA release, alpha-Syn-/- mice display a reduction in striatal DA and an attenuation of DA-dependent locomotor response to amphetamine. These findings support the hypothesis that alpha-Syn is an essential presynaptic, activity-dependent negative regulator of DA neurotransmission.
View details for Web of Science ID 000085043200025
View details for PubMedID 10707987
FGF and Shh signals control dopaminergic and serotonergic cell fate in the anterior neural plate
1998; 93 (5): 755-766
During development, distinct classes of neurons are specified in precise locations along the dorso-ventral and anterior-posterior axes of the neural tube. We provide evidence that intersections of Shh, which is expressed along the ventral neural tube, and FGF8, which is locally produced at the mid/hindbrain boundary and in the rostral forebrain, create induction sites for dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain and forebrain. The same intersection, when preceded by a third signal, FGF4, which is expressed in the primitive streak, defines an inductive center for hindbrain 5-HT neurons. These findings illustrate that cell patterning in the neural plate is a multistep process in which early inducers, which initially divide the neural plate into crude compartments, are replaced by multiple local organizing centers, which specify distinct neuronal cell types within these compartments.
View details for Web of Science ID 000073956700012
View details for PubMedID 9630220
The tumour-suppressor gene patched encodes a candidate receptor for Sonic hedgehog
1996; 384 (6605): 129-134
The protein Sonic hedgehog (Shh) controls patterning and growth during vertebrate development. Here we demonstrate that it binds Patched (vPtc), which has been identified as a tumour-suppressor protein in basal cell carcinoma, with high affinity. We show that Ptc can form a physical complex with a newly cloned vertebrate homologue of the Drosophila protein Smoothened (vSmo), and that vSmo is coexpressed with vPtc in many tissues but does not bind Shh directly. These findings, combined with available genetic evidence from Drosophila, support the hypothesis that Ptc is a receptor for Shh, and that vSmo could be a signalling component that is linked to Ptc.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996VT33600055
View details for PubMedID 8906787
CONTROL OF NEURONAL DIVERSITY BY THE FLOOR PLATE - CONTACT-MEDIATED INDUCTION OF MIDBRAIN DOPAMINERGIC-NEURONS
1995; 80 (1): 95-101
The notochord and floor plate contribute to patterning the ventral neural tube in part by expressing a diffusible factor that induces motoneurons. To determine the mechanisms that direct the development of other classes of ventral neurons, we studied the development of dopaminergic neurons that reside near motoneurons in the ventral midbrain. We provide evidence that dopaminergic neurons develop in the vicinity of the floor plate and that they can be specified by the floor plate in vitro and in vivo. Unlike motoneurons, efficient induction of dopaminergic neurons requires contact with floor plate cells. These results suggest that neuronal diversification along the dorsal-ventral axis may be achieved partly through the concerted action of diffusible and contact-dependent signals from a single organizing center, the floor plate.
View details for Web of Science ID A1995QB91000013
View details for PubMedID 7813022