Translate this page to:
In JoVE (1)
Other Publications (11)
Articles by Daniel M. Suter in JoVE
Neuronal Cell Cultures from Aplysia for High-Resolution Imaging of Growth Cones
Aih Cheun Lee, Boris Decourt, Daniel M. Suter
Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University
Aplysia californica neurons develop large growth cones in culture that are excellent for high-resolution imaging of growth cone motility and guidance. Here, we present a protocol for dissection and plating of Aplysia bag cell neurons as well as for setting up a chamber for live cell imaging.
Other articles by Daniel M. Suter on PubMed
Current Biology : CB. Jul, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15242617
Dynamic microtubules explore the peripheral (P) growth cone domain using F actin bundles as polymerization guides. Microtubule dynamics are necessary for growth cone guidance; however, mechanisms of microtubule reorganization during growth cone turning are not well understood. Here, we address these issues by analyzing growth cone steering events in vitro, evoked by beads derivatized with the Ig superfamily cell adhesion protein apCAM. Pharmacological inhibition of microtubule assembly with low doses of taxol or vinblastine resulted in rapid clearance of microtubules from the P domain with little effect on central (C) axonal microtubules or actin-based motility. Early during target interactions, we detected F actin assembly and activated Src, but few microtubules, at apCAM bead binding sites. The majority of microtubules extended toward bead targets after F actin flow attenuation occurred. Microtubule extension during growth cone steering responses was strongly suppressed by dampening microtubule dynamics with low doses of taxol or vinblastine. These treatments also inhibited growth cone turning responses, as well as focal actin assembly and accumulation of active Src at bead binding sites. These results suggest that dynamic microtubules carry signals involved in regulating Src-dependent apCAM adhesion complexes involved in growth cone steering.
High-resolution Analysis of Neuronal Growth Cone Morphology by Comparative Atomic Force and Optical Microscopy
Journal of Neurobiology. Dec, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 17058186
Neuronal growth cones are motile sensory structures at the tip of axons, transducing guidance information into directional movements towards target cells. The morphology and dynamics of neuronal growth cones have been well characterized with optical techniques; however, very little quantitative information is available on the three-dimensional structure and mechanical properties of distinct subregions. In the present study, we imaged the large Aplysia growth cones after chemical fixation with the atomic force microscope (AFM) and directly compared our data with images acquired by light microscopy methods. Constant force imaging in contact mode in combination with force-distant measurements revealed an average height of 200 nm for the peripheral (P) domain, 800 nm for the transition (T) zone, and 1200 nm for the central (C) domain, respectively. The AFM images show that the filopodial F-actin bundles are stiffer than surrounding F-actin networks. Enlarged filopodia tips are 60 nm higher than the corresponding shafts. Measurements of the mechanical properties of the specific growth cone regions with the AFM revealed that the T zone is stiffer than the P and the C domain. Direct comparison of AFM and optical data acquired by differential interference contrast and fluorescence microscopy revealed a good correlation between these imaging methods. However, the AFM provides height and volume information at higher resolution than fluorescence methods frequently used to estimate the volume of cellular compartments. These findings suggest that AFM measurements on live growth cones will provide a quantitative understanding of how proteins can move between different growth cone regions.
Developmental Neurobiology. Oct, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18698606
During adhesion-mediated neuronal growth cone guidance microtubules undergo major rearrangements. However, it is unknown whether microtubules extend to adhesion sites because of changes in plus-end polymerization and/or translocation dynamics, because of changes in actin-microtubule interactions, or because they follow the reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton. Here, we used fluorescent speckle microscopy to directly quantify microtubule and actin dynamics in Aplysia growth cones as they turn towards beads coated with the cell adhesion molecule apCAM. During the initial phase of adhesion formation, dynamic microtubules in the peripheral domain preferentially explore apCAM-beads prior to changes in growth cone morphology and retrograde actin flow. Interestingly, these early microtubules have unchanged polymerization rates but spend less time in retrograde translocation due to uncoupling from actin flow. Furthermore, microtubules exploring the adhesion site spend less time in depolymerization. During the later phase of traction force generation, the central domain advances and more microtubules in the peripheral domain extend because of attenuation of actin flow and clearance of F-actin structures. Microtubules in the transition zone and central domain, however, translocate towards the adhesion site in concert with actin arcs and bundles, respectively. We conclude that adhesion molecules guide neuronal growth cones and underlying microtubule rearrangements largely by differentially regulating microtubule-actin coupling and actin movements according to growth cone region and not by controlling plus-end polymerization rates.
Molecular Biology of the Cell. Nov, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18716055
Src family tyrosine kinases are important signaling enzymes in the neuronal growth cone, and they have been implicated in axon guidance; however, the detailed localization, trafficking, and cellular functions of Src kinases in live growth cones are unclear. Here, we cloned two novel Aplysia Src kinases, termed Src1 and Src2, and we show their association with both the plasma membrane and the microtubule cytoskeleton in the growth cone by live cell imaging, immunocytochemistry, and cell fractionation. Activated Src2 is enriched in filopodia tips. Interestingly, Src2-enhanced green fluorescent protein-positive endocytic vesicles and tubulovesicular structures undergo microtubule-mediated movements that are bidirectional in the central domain and mainly retrograde in the peripheral domain. To further test the role of microtubules in Src trafficking in the growth cone, microtubules were depleted with either nocodazole or vinblastine treatment, resulting in an increase in Src2 plasma membrane levels in all growth cone domains. Our data suggest that microtubules regulate the steady-state level of active Src at the plasma membrane by mediating retrograde recycling of endocytosed Src. Expression of constitutively active Src2 results in longer filopodia that protrude from smaller growth cones, implicating Src2 in controlling the size of filopodia and lamellipodia.
Cortactin Colocalizes with Filopodial Actin and Accumulates at IgCAM Adhesion Sites in Aplysia Growth Cones
Journal of Neuroscience Research. Apr, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19021290
Both IgCAMs and the actin cytoskeleton play critical roles in neuronal growth cone motility and guidance. However, it is unclear how IgCAM receptors transduce signals from the plasma membrane to induce actin remodeling. Previous studies have shown that local clustering and immobilization of apCAM, the Aplysia homolog of NCAM, induces Src kinase activity and F-actin polymerization in the peripheral domain of cultured Aplysia bag cell growth cones. Therefore, we wanted to test whether the Src kinase substrate and actin regulator cortactin could be a molecular link between Src activity and actin assembly during apCAM-mediated growth cone guidance. Here, we cloned Aplysia cortactin and showed that it is abundant in the nervous system. Immunostaining of growth cones revealed a strong colocalization of cortactin with F-actin in filopodial bundles and at the leading edge of lamellipodia. Perturbation of the cytoskeleton indicated that cortactin distribution largely depends on actin filaments. Furthermore, active Src colocalized with cortactin in regions of actin assembly, including leading edge and filopodia tips. Finally, we observed that cortactin, like F-actin, localizes to apCAM adhesion sites mediating growth cone guidance. Altogether, these data suggest that cortactin is a mediator of IgCAM-triggered actin assembly involved in growth cone motility and guidance.
Journal of Neurochemistry. Feb, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19054285
Reactive oxygen species are well known for their damaging effects due to oxidation of lipids, proteins and DNA that ultimately result in cell death. Accumulating evidence indicates that reactive oxygen species also have important signaling functions in cell proliferation, differentiation, cell motility and apoptosis. Here, we tested the hypothesis whether reactive oxygen species play a physiological role in regulating F-actin structure and dynamics in neuronal growth cones. Lowering cytoplasmic levels of reactive oxygen species with a free radical scavenger, N-tert-butyl-alpha-phenylnitrone, or by inhibiting specific sources of reactive oxygen species, such as NADPH oxidases or lipoxygenases, reduced the F-actin content in the peripheral domain of growth cones. Fluorescent speckle microscopy revealed that these treatments caused actin assembly inhibition, reduced retrograde actin flow and increased contractility of actin structures in the transition zone referred to as arcs, possibly by activating the Rho pathway. Reduced levels of reactive oxygen species ultimately resulted in disassembly of the actin cytoskeleton. When neurons were cultured overnight in conditions of reduced free radicals, growth cone formation and neurite outgrowth were severely impaired. Therefore, we conclude that physiological levels of reactive oxygen species are critical for maintaining a dynamic F-actin cytoskeleton and controlling neurite outgrowth.
Biophysical Journal. Jun, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19527666
Neuronal growth cones are motile structures located at the end of axons that translate extracellular guidance information into directional movements. Despite the important role of growth cones in neuronal development and regeneration, relatively little is known about the topography and mechanical properties of distinct subcellular growth cone regions under live conditions. In this study, we used the AFM to study the P domain, T zone, and C domain of live Aplysia growth cones. The average height of these regions was calculated from contact mode AFM images to be 183 +/- 33, 690 +/- 274, and 1322 +/- 164 nm, respectively. These findings are consistent with data derived from dynamic mode images of live and contact mode images of fixed growth cones. Nano-indentation measurements indicate that the elastic moduli of the C domain and T zone ruffling region ranged between 3-7 and 7-23 kPa, respectively. The range of the measured elastic modulus of the P domain was 10-40 kPa. High resolution images of the P domain suggest its relatively high elastic modulus results from a dense meshwork of actin filaments in lamellipodia and from actin bundles in the filopodia. The increased mechanical stiffness of the P and T domains is likely important to support and transduce tension that develops during growth cone steering.
Journal of Virology. Jun, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21471237
Alphaviruses are small, spherical, enveloped, positive-sense, single-stranded, RNA viruses responsible for considerable human and animal disease. Using microinjection of preassembled cores as a tool, a system has been established to study the assembly and budding process of Sindbis virus, the type member of the alphaviruses. We demonstrate the release of infectious virus-like particles from cells expressing Sindbis virus envelope glycoproteins following microinjection of Sindbis virus nucleocapsids purified from the cytoplasm of infected cells. Furthermore, it is shown that nucleocapsids assembled in vitro mimic those isolated in the cytoplasm of infected cells with respect to their ability to be incorporated into enveloped virions following microinjection. This system allows for the study of the alphavirus budding process independent of an authentic infection and provides a platform to study viral and host requirements for budding.
Progress in Neurobiology. Jul, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21527310
An understanding of how axons elongate is needed to develop rational strategies to treat neurological diseases and nerve injury. Growth cone-mediated neuronal elongation is currently viewed as occurring through cytoskeletal dynamics involving the polymerization of actin and tubulin subunits at the tip of the axon. However, recent work suggests that axons and growth cones also generate forces (through cytoskeletal dynamics, kinesin, dynein, and myosin), forces induce axonal elongation, and axons lengthen by stretching. This review highlights results from various model systems (Drosophila, Aplysia, Xenopus, chicken, mouse, rat, and PC12 cells), supporting a role for forces, bulk microtubule movements, and intercalated mass addition in the process of axonal elongation. We think that a satisfying answer to the question, "How do axons grow?" will come by integrating the best aspects of biophysics, genetics, and cell biology.
Methods in Molecular Biology (Clifton, N.J.). 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21748670
The neuronal growth cone, a highly motile structure at the tip of neuronal processes, is an excellent model system for studying directional cell movements. While biochemical and genetic approaches unveiled molecular interactions between ligand, receptor, signaling, and cytoskeleton-associated proteins controlling axonal growth and guidance, in vitro live cell imaging has emerged as a crucial approach for dissecting cellular mechanisms of growth cone motility and guidance. Important insights into these mechanisms have been gained from studies using the large growth cones elaborated by Aplysia californica neurons, an outstanding model system for live cell imaging for a number of reasons. Identified neurons can be isolated and imaged at room temperature. Aplysia growth cones are five to ten times larger than growth cones from other species, making them suitable for quantitative high-resolution imaging of cytoskeletal protein dynamics and biophysical approaches. Lastly, protein, RNA, fluorescent probes, and small molecules can be microinjected into the neuronal cell body for localization and functional studies. This chapter describes culturing of Aplysia bag cell neurons, live cell imaging of neuronal growth cones using differential interference contrast and fluorescent speckle microscopy as well as the restrained bead interaction assay to induce adhesion-mediated growth cone guidance in vitro.