RAF kinase activity regulates neuroepithelial cell proliferation and neuronal progenitor cell differentiation during early inner ear development
Maria Rodriguez Aburto
Ulf Rüdiger Rapp
- Background: Early inner ear development requires the strict regulation of cell proliferation, survival, migration and differentiation, coordinated by the concerted action of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Deregulation of these processes is associated with embryonic malformations and deafness. We have shown that insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) plays a key role in embryonic and postnatal otic development by triggering the activation of intracellular lipid and protein kinases. RAF kinases are serine/threonine kinases that regulate the highly conserved RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK signaling cascade involved in transducing the signals from extracellular growth factors to the nucleus. However, the regulation of RAF kinase activity by growth factors during development is complex and still not fully understood.
Methodology/Principal Findings: By using a combination of qRT-PCR, Western blotting, immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization, we show that C-RAF and B-RAF are expressed during the early development of the chicken inner ear in specific spatiotemporal patterns. Moreover, later in development B-RAF expression is associated to hair cells in the sensory patches. Experiments in ex vivo cultures of otic vesicle explants demonstrate that the influence of IGF-I on proliferation but not survival depends on RAF kinase activating the MEK-ERK phosphorylation cascade. With the specific RAF inhibitor Sorafenib, we show that blocking RAF activity in organotypic cultures increases apoptosis and diminishes the rate of cell proliferation in the otic epithelia, as well as severely impairing neurogenesis of the acoustic-vestibular ganglion (AVG) and neuron maturation.
Conclusions/Significance: We conclude that RAF kinase activity is essential to establish the balance between cell proliferation and death in neuroepithelial otic precursors, and for otic neuron differentiation and axonal growth at the AVG.
Ordnung des Fachbereichs Biowissenschaften der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität für den Masterstudiengang Ökologie und Evolution mit dem Abschluss "Master of Science" (M.Sc.) vom 16. Juni 2009 : genehmigt vom Präsidium der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a. M. am 27.04.2010
Ordnung des Fachbereichs Biowissenschaften der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität für den Masterstudiengang Molekulare Biotechnologie mit dem Abschluss "Master of Science" vom 12.07.2010 : vorläufig genehmigt vom Präsidium der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am 27.07.2010
Ordnung des Fachbereichs Biowissenschaften der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität für den Bachelorstudiengang Biowissenschaften mit dem Abschluss "Bachelor of Science" (B. Sc.) vom 12. Februar 2007, in der Fassung vom 17. September 2010 : genehmigt durch das Präsidium der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am 28.09.2010
Ordnung des Fachbereichs Biowissenschaften der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität für den Masterstudiengang Molekulare Biowissenschaften mit dem Abschluss "Master of Science" (M.Sc.) : vorläufig genehmigt vom Präsidium der Johann Wolfgang Goethe–Universität Frankfurt am Main am 16.11.2010
Mechanistic insights into an engineered riboswitch: a switching element which confers riboswitch activity
Sina R. Schmidtke
Tristan J. Will
- While many different RNA aptamers have been identified that bind to a plethora of small molecules only very few are capable of acting as engineered riboswitches. Even for aptamers binding the same ligand large differences in their regulatory potential were observed. We address here the molecular basis for these differences by using a set of unrelated neomycin-binding aptamers. UV melting analyses showed that regulating aptamers are thermally stabilized to a significantly higher degree upon ligand binding than inactive ones. Regulating aptamers show high ligand-binding affinity in the low nanomolar range which is necessary but not sufficient for regulation. NMR data showed that a destabilized, open ground state accompanied by extensive structural changes upon ligand binding is important for regulation. In contrast, inactive aptamers are already pre-formed in the absence of the ligand. By a combination of genetic, biochemical and structural analyses, we identified a switching element responsible for destabilizing the ligand free state without compromising the bound form. Our results explain for the first time the molecular mechanism of an engineered riboswitch.
Analysis of a hybrid TATA box binding protein originating from mesophilic and thermophilic donor organisms
- The TATA Box Binding Protein (TBP) is a 20 kD protein that is essential and universally conserved in eucarya and archaea. Especially among archaea, organisms can be found that live below 0°C as well as organisms that grow above 100°C. The archaeal TBPs show a high sequence identity and a similar structure consisting of α-helices and β-sheets that are arranged in a saddle-shape 2-symmetric fold. In previous studies, we have characterized the thermal stability of thermophilic and mesophilic archaeal TBPs by infrared spectroscopy and showed the correlation between the transition temperature (Tm) and the optimal growth temperature (OGT) of the respective donor organism. In this study, a “new” mutant TBP has been constructed, produced, purified and analyzed for a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms of thermoadaptation. The β-sheet part of the mutant consists of the TBP from Methanothermobacter thermoautotrophicus (OGT 65°C, MtTBP65) whose α-helices have been exchanged by those of Methanosarcina mazei (OGT 37°C, MmTBP37). The Hybrid-TBP irreversibly aggregates after thermal unfolding just like MmTBP37 and MtTBP65, but the Tm lies between that of MmTBP37 and MtTBP65 indicating that the interaction between the α-helical and β-sheet part of the TBP is crucial for the thermal stability. The temperature stability is probably encoded in the variable α-helices that interact with the highly conserved and DNA binding β-sheets.
The estimation of aboveground biomass and nutrient pools of understorey plants in closed Norway spruce forests and on clearcuts
- The estimation model PhytoCalc allows a non-destructive quantification of dry weight and nutrient pools of understorey plants in forests by using the relationship between species biomass, cover and mean shoot length. The model has been validated with independent samples in several German forest types and can be a useful tool in forest monitoring. However, in open areas within forests (e.g. clearcuts), the current model version underestimates biomass and produces unreliable nutrient pool estimations. Thus, tissue density, as approximated by leaf dry matter content (LDMC), is systematically higher under high light compared to low light conditions. We demonstrate that the ratio of LDMC under clearcut conditions to LDMC under forest conditions can be used to adjust the PhytoCalc model to clearcut conditions. We investigated the LDMC ratio of five exemplary species commonly occurring on clearcuts. Integrating the square of the ratio as a correction factor improved estimates of biomass to more than 70% fit between observations and predictions. Results also suggest this ratio can be used to correct nutrient concentrations modelled in PhytoCalc, which tend to be overestimated in clearcuts. As morphological groups of plant species exhibit significantly different ratios, we advise using group-specific correction factors for clearcut adjustments in the future.
Integration of novel SSR and gene-based SNP marker loci in the chickpea genetic map and establishment of new anchor points with Medicago truncatula genome
Spurthi N. Nayak
P. B. Kavi Kishor
Dave A. Hoisington
Douglas R. Cook
Rajeev K. Varshney
- This study presents the development and mapping of simple sequence repeat (SSR) and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers in chickpea. The mapping population is based on an inter-specific cross between domesticated and non-domesticated genotypes of chickpea (Cicer arietinum ICC 4958 × C. reticulatum PI 489777). This same population has been the focus of previous studies, permitting integration of new and legacy genetic markers into a single genetic map. We report a set of 311 novel SSR markers (designated ICCM—ICRISAT chickpea microsatellite), obtained from an SSR-enriched genomic library of ICC 4958. Screening of these SSR markers on a diverse panel of 48 chickpea accessions provided 147 polymorphic markers with 2–21 alleles and polymorphic information content value 0.04–0.92. Fifty-two of these markers were polymorphic between parental genotypes of the inter-specific population. We also analyzed 233 previously published (H-series) SSR markers that provided another set of 52 polymorphic markers. An additional 71 gene-based SNP markers were developed from transcript sequences that are highly conserved between chickpea and its near relative Medicago truncatula. By using these three approaches, 175 new marker loci along with 407 previously reported marker loci were integrated to yield an improved genetic map of chickpea. The integrated map contains 521 loci organized into eight linkage groups that span 2,602 cM, with an average inter-marker distance of 4.99 cM. Gene-based markers provide anchor points for comparing the genomes of Medicago and chickpea, and reveal extended synteny between these two species. The combined set of genetic markers and their integration into an improved genetic map should facilitate chickpea genetics and breeding, as well as translational studies between chickpea and Medicago.
EGFL7 regulates adult neural stem cell maintenance and differentiation by inhibition of Notch1
- In neurobiology the preexisting dogma on the unchangeability of the adult mammalian brain and its inability to give rise to new neurons has been challenged since the early nineties. Generally, it is now accepted that neurogenesis persists in adults. Progress in developmental and stem cell biology in recent years led to an increasing interest in regeneration-based treatment strategies for damaged tissue of the central nervous system. Thus, the enhancement of the endogenous potential of the brain to repair itself is potentially a feasible therapeutic strategy to treat various types of brain damage. Therefore, it is of great interest to understand the molecular mechanism that regulate adult neurogenesis. One of the prominent pathways suggested to be involved here is the Notch signaling cascade. Previously, it has been shown that various components of Notch signaling are expressed in the stem cell niche of the adult subventricular zone (SVZ) in vivo. Interestingly, a recent study demonstrated that the self-renewal potential of adult neural stem cells (NSCs) isolated from the SVZ depend on Notch signaling in vitro.
Recently, we identified a novel non-canonical Notch ligand termed epidermal growth factor-like domain 7 (EGFL7), which was originally described as a protein secreted by endothelial cells and functionally implicated in cellular responses of the vascular system such as cell migration and blood vessel formation. We were able to show that secreted EGFL7 binds to a region in Notch that is involved in ligand-mediated receptor activation, thus acting as an antagonist of Notch signaling.
The present study identifies neurons of the human and murine brain as a novel source of EGFL7, which suggests functions of EGFL7 in the neural system. Expression analyses by quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) revealed EGFL7 is down regulated in the adult SVZ, which suggests that endogenous EGFL7 may act as a Notch modulator of NSCs. We assessed the expression of Notch pathway components in adult NSCs isolated from the SVZ of adult mice and demonstrated that inhibition of Notch activity by the γ-secretase inhibitor DAPT reduced the self-renewal potential of NSCs. Accordingly, adenoviral-mediated expression of EGFL7 in vitro decreased Notch-specific signaling and reduced proliferation and self-renewal of NSCs. Conversely, activation of Notch by a constitutive active form of Notch (NICD) rescued the EGFL7-mediated reduction of NSC self-renewal verifying that this effect was directly linked to Notch signaling. Congruent to the reduced proliferation rate measured in vitro, induced expression of EGFL7 in vivo significantly reduced the number of Ki-67 positive cells within the SVZ upon cerebroventricular injection of EGFL7 adenovirus.
Expression analyses in the developing brain showed single EGFL7-positive cells within the marginal zone of the neocortex as measured by in situ hybridization. These cells might be Cajal-Retzius cells, specialized neurons, which specifically express Reelin, which is a protein of the extracellular matrix known to control neuronal migration and differentiation. Interstingly, we could show that Reelin and EGFL7 are expressed in a subtype of neurons of the adult mouse cortex. This implied an interaction of both proteins and was verified by co-immunoprecipitation assays, suggesting an additional role for EGFL7 in neuronal maintenance. QRT-PCR based expression analyses in vitro comparing differentiated and non-differentiated NSCs displayed an increase in EGFL7 expression during the differentiation process, which was paralled by reduced Notch signaling. NSCs differentiated on coverslips coated with EGFL7 differentiated into all three cell types - neurons, oligodendrocytes and astrocytes. EGFL7 favored the formation of neurons as compared to control comparable to the effect of the Notch-inhibitor DAPT. Furthermore, additional oligodendrocytes were formed. These cells displayed a mature morphology with distinct sprouts and branches in contrast to the small and round oligodendrocytes that formed on control coverslips, which resembled us of precursor cells. Neurons and oligodendrocytes were formed at the expense of astrocytes. Congruently to the effect observed in vitro, adenoviral-based expression of EGFL7 in the SVZ yielded a slight induction of neuronal differentiation in vivo. Taken together, these results show for the first time a previously unrecognized role for EGFL7 in the brain by modulation of the Notch pathway in adult NSCs, which changes the proliferation and differentiation potential of adult NSCs in vitro and in vivo.