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In JoVE (1)
- DiI-Labeling of DRG Neurons to Study Axonal Branching in a Whole Mount Preparation of Mouse Embryonic Spinal Cord
Other Publications (13)
- Journal of Neurobiology
- The Journal of Cell Biology
- Molecular and Cellular Neurosciences
- Developmental Dynamics : an Official Publication of the American Association of Anatomists
- Molecular and Cellular Neurosciences
- Journal of Cell Science
- The Journal of Cell Biology
- International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
- Neurobiology of Disease
- BioEssays : News and Reviews in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Articles by Fritz G. Rathjen in JoVE
DiI-Labeling of DRG Neurons to Study Axonal Branching in a Whole Mount Preparation of Mouse Embryonic Spinal Cord
Hannes Schmidt, Fritz G. Rathjen
Developmental Neurobiology, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine
The stereotyped projections of sensory afferents into the rodent spinal cord offer an easily accessible experimental system to study axonal branching through the tracing of single axons.
Other articles by Fritz G. Rathjen on PubMed
Journal of Neurobiology. Feb, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 11793362
Agrin is required for appropriate pre- and postsynaptic differentiation of neuromuscular junctions. While agrin's ability to orchestrate postsynaptic differentiation is well documented, more recent experiments have suggested that agrin is also a "stop signal" for the presynaptic neuron, and that agrin has actions on neurons in the CNS. To elucidate the neuronal activities of agrin and to define the receptor(s) responsible for these functions, we have examined adhesions of neurons and their neurite-outgrowth responses to purified agrin in vitro. We find that both full-length agrin and the C-terminal 95 kDa of agrin (agrin c95), which is sufficient to induce postsynaptic differentiation, are adhesive for chick ciliary ganglion (CG) and forebrain neurons. Consistent with previous findings, our results show that N-CAM binds to full-length agrin, and suggest that alpha-dystroglycan is a neuronal receptor for agrin c95. In neurite outgrowth assays, full-length agrin inhibited both laminin- and N-cadherin-induced neurite growth from CG neurons. The N-terminal 150 kDa fragment of agrin, but not agrin c95, inhibited neurite outgrowth, indicating that domains in the N-terminal portion of agrin are sufficient for this function. Adhesion assays using protein-coated beads and agrin-expressing cells revealed differential interactions of agrin with members of the immunoglobulin superfamily of cell adhesion molecules. However, none of these, including N-CAM, appeared to be critical for neuronal adhesion. In summary, our results suggest that the N-terminal half of agrin is involved in agrin's ability to inhibit neurite outgrowth. Our results further suggest that neither alpha-dystroglycan nor N-CAM, two known binding proteins for agrin, mediate this effect.
CGMP-mediated Signaling Via CGKIalpha is Required for the Guidance and Connectivity of Sensory Axons
The Journal of Cell Biology. Nov, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 12417579
Previous in vitro studies using cGMP or cAMP revealed a cross-talk between signaling mechanisms activated by axonal guidance receptors. However, the molecular elements modulated by cyclic nucleotides in growth cones are not well understood. cGMP is a second messenger with several distinct targets including cGMP-dependent protein kinase I (cGKI). Our studies indicated that the alpha isoform of cGKI is predominantly expressed by sensory axons during developmental stages, whereas most spinal cord neurons are negative for cGKI. Analysis of the trajectories of axons within the spinal cord showed a longitudinal guidance defect of sensory axons within the developing dorsal root entry zone in the absence of cGKI. Consequently, in cGKI-deficient mice, fewer axons grow within the dorsal funiculus of the spinal cord, and lamina-specific innervation, especially by nociceptive sensory neurons, is strongly reduced as deduced from anti-trkA staining. These axon guidance defects in cGKI-deficient mice lead to a substantial impairment in nociceptive flexion reflexes, shown using electrophysiology. In vitro studies revealed that activation of cGKI in embryonic dorsal root ganglia counteracts semaphorin 3A-induced growth cone collapse. Our studies therefore reveal that cGMP signaling is important for axonal growth in vivo and in vitro.
Molecular and Cellular Neurosciences. Dec, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 12504595
The formation of protrusions along the shaft of neurites might be important in the establishment and refinement of neuronal connections during development. In a search for extracellular signals that affect the formation of microprocesses along neurites we found that the ECM glycoprotein tenascin-R (TN-R) but not other ECM glycoproteins increased the percentage of tectal neurons with actin-rich microprocesses and side branches. Longer actin-based microprocesses were also invaded by microtubuli in their proximal part. The formation of microprocesses by TN-R extending laterally along the neuritic shaft was time- and dose-dependent. In addition to the induction of microprocesses, TN-R increased the size of the growth cone of tectal neurons. A cross-species experiment in combination with blocking antibodies demonstrated that the TN-R-induced effects are mediated by the Ig superfamily member contactin. These observations suggest that TN-R via its neuronal receptor contactin might induce a transition from long-distance growth of tectal interneurons to differentiation, including the formation of microprocesses.
Developmental Dynamics : an Official Publication of the American Association of Anatomists. Mar, 2003 | Pubmed ID: 12619142
N-cadherin is one of the major Ca(2+)-dependent cell adhesion proteins in the developing nervous system. Here, we analyze eye development in the zebrafish N-cadherin loss-of-function mutant parachute(paR2.10) (pac(paR2.10)). The zebrafish visual system is fully developed by the time pac(paR2.10) mutants show lethality at day 5. Already at 24 hr postfertilization (hpf), mutant retinal cells are more disorganized and more rounded than in wild-type. At later stages, mutant retinae display a severe lamination defect with rosette formation (mostly islands of plexiform layer tissue surrounded by inner nuclear layer or photoreceptor cells), even though all major classes of cell types appear to be present as determined by histology. Of interest, electron microscopy reveals that the islands of plexiform layer tissue contain a normal amount of synapses with normal morphology. Although mutant photoreceptor cells are sometimes deformed, all typical structural components are present, including the membranous discs for rhodopsin storage. The lens fibers of the pac(paR2.10) mutants develop completely normally, but in some cases, lens epithelial cells round up and become multilayered. We conclude that cell adhesion mediated by N-cadherin is of major importance for retinal lamination and involved in maintenance of the lens epithelial sheet, but is not essential for the formation of photoreceptor ultrastructure or for synaptogenesis.
Impaired Synapse Function During Postnatal Development in the Absence of CALEB, an EGF-like Protein Processed by Neuronal Activity
Neuron. Apr, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 15848802
In an attempt to characterize the molecular components by which electric activity influences the development of synapses, we searched for cell surface proteins modulated by calcium influx and glutamate receptor activity. Here, we report that neuronal depolarization facilitates the conversion of CALEB, which results in a truncated transmembrane form with an exposed EGF domain. To characterize the role of CALEB in synapse development, synaptic features were investigated in slices of the colliculus superior from CALEB-deficient mice. In the absence of CALEB, the number of synapses and their morphological characteristics remained unchanged. However, in CALEB-deficient mice, synapses displayed higher paired-pulse ratios, less depression during prolonged repetitive activation, a lower rate of spontaneous postsynaptic currents, and a lower release probability at early but not mature postnatal stages. Our findings indicate that CALEB provides a molecular basis for maintaining normal release probability at early developmental stages.
Neurotractin/kilon Promotes Neurite Outgrowth and is Expressed on Reactive Astrocytes After Entorhinal Cortex Lesion
Molecular and Cellular Neurosciences. Aug, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 15946856
The IgLON subgroup of the immunoglobulin superfamily consists of four members that are thought to be important in neural cell-cell recognition. Here, we cloned and characterized the murine IgLON subgroup member neurotractin/kilon, in the context of brain development and axonal regeneration. Neurotractin/kilon was found to be upregulated during brain development and is expressed on neurites of primary hippocampal neurons. To elucidate a potential role for neurotractin/kilon during regeneration in the CNS, we performed lesions in the entorhinal cortex, and showed that the expression of neurotractin/kilon is induced on reactive astrocytes. Notably, the expression on reactive astrocytes appears specifically in the denervated outer molecular layer of the dentate gyrus, where regenerative axon sprouting occurs. In vitro assays demonstrated that neurotractin/kilon attracts hippocampal axons in the stripe assay and that astroglial neurotractin/kilon promotes neurite outgrowth. These results suggest a function for neurotractin/kilon as a trans-neural growth-promoting factor for outgrowing axons following hippocampal denervation.
Journal of Cell Science. Aug, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 16079292
The coxsackievirus-adenovirus receptor (CAR) is a cell contact protein on various cell types with unknown physiological function. It belongs to a subfamily of the immunoglobulin-superfamily of which some members are junctional adhesion molecules on epithelial and/or endothelial cells. CAR is dominantly expressed in the hearts and brains of mice until the newborne phase after which it becomes mainly restricted to various epithelial cells. To understand more about the physiological function of CAR, we have generated CAR-deficient mice by gene targeting. We found that these mice die between E11.5 and E13.5 of embryonal development. Ultrastructural analysis of cardiomyocytes revealed that the density of myofibrils was reduced and that their orientation and bundling was disorganized. In addition, mitochondria were enlarged and glycogen storage strongly enriched. In line with these defects, we observed pericardial edema formation as a clear sign of insufficient heart function. Developmental abnormalities likely to be secondary effects of gene ablation were the persistent singular cardial atrio-ventricular canal and dilatations of larger blood vessels such as the cardinal veins. The secondary nature of these defects was supported by the fact that CAR was not expressed on vascular cells or on cells of the vascular wall. No obvious signs for alterations of the histological organization of the placenta were observed. We conclude that CAR is required for embryonal heart development, most likely due to its function during the organization of myofibrils in cardiomyocytes.
The Journal of Cell Biology. Oct, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17954614
Sensory axonal projections into the spinal cord display a highly stereotyped pattern of T- or Y-shaped axon bifurcation at the dorsal root entry zone (DREZ). Here, we provide evidence that embryonic mice with an inactive receptor guanylyl cyclase Npr2 or deficient for cyclic guanosine monophosphate-dependent protein kinase I (cGKI) lack the bifurcation of sensory axons at the DREZ, i.e., the ingrowing axon either turns rostrally or caudally. This bifurcation error is maintained to mature stages. In contrast, interstitial branching of collaterals from primary stem axons remains unaffected, indicating that bifurcation and interstitial branching are processes regulated by a distinct molecular mechanism. At a functional level, the distorted axonal branching at the DREZ is accompanied by reduced synaptic input, as revealed by patch clamp recordings of neurons in the superficial layers of the spinal cord. Hence, our data demonstrate that Npr2 and cGKI are essential constituents of the signaling pathway underlying axonal bifurcation at the DREZ and neuronal connectivity in the dorsal spinal cord.
International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience. Apr, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18207351
This study was aimed to characterize the earliest phases of synapse development in mouse retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) by recording spontaneous postsynaptic currents (PSCs). First PSCs were detected at embryonic day 17 and completely suppressed by bicuculline, demonstrating their GABAergic nature. Starting from postnatal day 3 a small fraction of RGCs had rapidly decaying, most likely glutamatergic currents. The present results suggest that functional GABAergic synapses with RGCs appear before birth and that GABAergic synaptic transmission precedes that of glutamate in the retina. In this early period GABA acts in a depolarizing manner and takes over an excitatory function.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Sep, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19805384
Neuronal circuits are shaped during development by the coordinated action of guidance factors and signals that regulate axonal branching. Unlike guidance cues, the molecules and signaling cascades that underlie axonal branching remain to be resolved. Here we show that the secreted molecule C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP) induces a cGMP signaling cascade via its receptor particulate guanylyl cyclase Npr2 which is essential for sensory axon bifurcation at the dorsal root entry zone (DREZ) of the spinal cord. In contrast, another form of sensory axon branching-collateral formation-is not affected by this pathway. We also demonstrate that cGMP signaling via the nitric oxide-stimulated soluble guanylyl cyclase system (NO-GC) is dispensable for sensory axon branching. Functionally, the bifurcation error in CNP mutant mice is maintained at mature stages and results in a reduced input on secondary neurons as detected by patch-clamp recordings.
The Coxsackievirus-adenovirus Receptor Reveals Complex Homophilic and Heterophilic Interactions on Neural Cells
The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Feb, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20181587
The coxsackievirus-adenovirus receptor (CAR) is a member of the Ig superfamily strongly expressed in the developing nervous system. Our histological investigations during development reveal an initial uniform distribution of CAR on all neural cells with a concentration on membranes that face the margins of the nervous system (e.g., the basal laminae and the ventricular side). At more advanced stages, CAR becomes downregulated and restricted to specific regions including areas rich in axonal and dendritic surfaces. To study the function of CAR on neural cells, we used the fiber knob of the adenovirus, extracellular CAR domains, blocking antibodies to CAR, as well as CAR-deficient neural cells. Blocking antibodies were found to inhibit neurite extension in retina organ and retinal explant cultures, whereas the application of the recombinant fiber knob of the adenovirus subtype Ad2 or extracellular CAR domains promoted neurite extension and adhesion to extracellular matrices. We observed a promiscuous interaction of CAR with extracellular matrix glycoproteins, which was deduced from analytical ultracentrifugation experiments, affinity chromatography, and adhesion assays. The membrane proximal Ig domain of CAR, termed D2, was found to bind to a fibronectin fragment, including the heparin-binding domain 2, which promotes neurite extension of wild type, but not of CAR-deficient neural cells. In contrast to heterophilic interactions, homophilic association of CAR involves both Ig domains, as was revealed by ultracentrifugation, chemical cross-linking, and adhesion studies. The results of these functional and binding studies are correlated to a U-shaped homodimer of the complete extracellular domains of CAR detected by x-ray crystallography.
Neurobiology of Disease. Oct, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20621658
Mutations in the human L1CAM gene cause neurodevelopmental disorders collectively referred to as L1 syndrome. Here, we investigated cellular pathomechanisms underlying two L1 syndrome mutations, R184Q and W1036L. We demonstrate that these mutations cause partial endoplasmic reticulum (ER) retention of L1, reduce L1 cell surface expression, but do not induce ER stress in neuronal NSC-34 cells. We provide evidence that surface trafficking of mutated L1 is affected by defective sorting to ER exit sites and attenuated ER export. However, in differentiated neuronal cultures and long-term cultured hippocampal slices, the L1-R184Q protein is restricted to cell bodies, whereas L1-W1036L also aberrantly localizes to dendrites. These trafficking defects preclude axonal targeting of L1, thereby affecting L1-mediated axon growth and arborization. Our results indicate that L1 syndrome mutations impair neuronal L1 function at different levels, firstly by attenuating ER export and secondly by interfering with polarized neuronal trafficking.
BioEssays : News and Reviews in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. Nov, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20827677
Identification of the molecular mechanisms underlying axonal branching in vivo has begun in several neuronal systems, notably the projections formed by dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons or retinal ganglion cells (RGC). cGMP signalling is essential for sensory axon bifurcation at the spinal cord, whereas brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and ephrinA signalling establish position-dependent branching of RGC axons. In the latter system, the degradation of specific signalling components, via the ubiquitin-proteasome system, may provide an additional mechanism involved in axon branching of RGC. The process of arborisation is essential for neurons to innervate multiple targets and to build topographic maps. The various forms of branching found in different types of neurons are regulated by distinct signalling pathways activated by multiple extracellular cues in addition to axonal guidance factors. These signalling cascades, together with transcriptional programs, most likely interact and trigger the polymerisation or depolymerisation of the actin and tubulin cytoskeleton to regulate branching.