In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (3)

Articles by David Jukam in JoVE

Other articles by David Jukam on PubMed

Deficient Pheromone Responses in Mice Lacking a Cluster of Vomeronasal Receptor Genes

Nature. Sep, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 12214233

The mammalian vomeronasal organ (VNO), a part of the olfactory system, detects pheromones--chemical signals that modulate social and reproductive behaviours. But the molecular receptors in the VNO that detect these chemosensory stimuli remain undefined. Candidate pheromone receptors are encoded by two distinct and complex superfamilies of genes, V1r and V2r (refs 3 and 4), which code for receptors with seven transmembrane domains. These genes are selectively expressed in sensory neurons of the VNO. However, there is at present no functional evidence for a role of these genes in pheromone responses. Here, using chromosome engineering technology, we delete in the germ line of mice an approximately 600-kilobase genomic region that contains a cluster of 16 intact V1r genes. These genes comprise two of the 12 described V1r gene families, and represent approximately 12% of the V1r repertoire. The mutant mice display deficits in a subset of VNO-dependent behaviours: the expression of male sexual behaviour and maternal aggression is substantially altered. Electrophysiologically, the epithelium of the VNO of such mice does not respond detectably to specific pheromonal ligands. The behavioural impairment and chemosensory deficit support a role of V1r receptors as pheromone receptors.

Binary Fate Decisions in Differentiating Neurons

Current Opinion in Neurobiology. Feb, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20022236

Neural cell fate programs must generate an enormous number of neurons with distinct adult functions. The decision to choose one neuronal subtype from two alternatives--a binary fate decision--is one way to diversify neuronal subtypes during nervous system development. Recent progress has been made in describing the genetic programs that define late-stage neuronal identity. Here, we review mechanisms that control how such fate decisions generate two different postmitotic, terminally differentiated neuronal subtypes. We survey examples from Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila that demonstrate different modes of binary neuronal fate specification that depend on cell division, lineage, stochastic gene expression, or extracellular signals. Comparison of these strategies reveals that, although organisms use diverse approaches to generate neural diversity, some common themes do exist.

Binary Regulation of Hippo Pathway by Merlin/NF2, Kibra, Lgl, and Melted Specifies and Maintains Postmitotic Neuronal Fate

Developmental Cell. Nov, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 22055343

Patterning the Drosophila retina for color vision relies on postmitotic specification of photoreceptor subtypes. R8 photoreceptors express one of two light-sensing Rhodopsins, Rh5 or Rh6. This fate decision involves a bistable feedback loop between Melted, a PH-domain protein, and Warts, a kinase in the Hippo growth pathway. Here, we show that a subset of the Hippo pathway-Merlin, Kibra, and Lethal(2)giant larvae (Lgl), but not Expanded or Fat-is required for Warts expression and activity in R8 to specify Rh6 fate. Melted represses warts transcription to disrupt Hippo pathway activity and specify Rh5 fate. Therefore, R8 Hippo signaling exhibits ON-or-OFF regulation, promoting mutually exclusive fates. Furthermore, Merlin and Lgl are continuously required to maintain R8 neuronal subtypes. These results reveal roles for Merlin, Kibra, and Lgl in neuronal specification and maintenance and show that the Hippo pathway is reimplemented for sensory neuron fate by combining canonical and noncanonical regulatory steps.

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