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In JoVE (1)
Other Publications (17)
- The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
- Arthritis and Rheumatism
- PLoS Genetics
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
- PloS One
- Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy
- PloS One
- Genome Research
- American Journal of Human Genetics
- Human Molecular Genetics
- The Journal of Clinical Investigation
- American Journal of Human Genetics
- The Journal of Biological Chemistry
- Journal of Neuro-ophthalmology : the Official Journal of the North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society
Articles by Joseph C. Corbo in JoVE
Quantifying the Activity of cis-Regulatory Elements in the Mouse Retina by Explant Electroporation
Cynthia L. Montana, Connie A. Myers, Joseph C. Corbo
Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine
This protocol describes a simple and inexpensive way to quantify the activity of cis-regulatory elements (i.e., enhancer/promoters) in living mouse retinas via explant electroporation. DNA preparation, retinal dissection, electroporation, retinal explant culture, and post-fixation analysis and quantification are described.
Other articles by Joseph C. Corbo on PubMed
The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Sep, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 12196578
Doublecortin (DCX) is a microtubule-associated protein that is required for normal neocortical and hippocampal development in humans. Mutations in the X-linked human DCX gene cause gross neocortical disorganization (lissencephaly or "smooth brain") in hemizygous males, whereas heterozygous females show a mosaic phenotype with a normal cortex as well as a second band of misplaced (heterotopic) neurons beneath the cortex ("double cortex syndrome"). We created a mouse carrying a targeted mutation in the Dcx gene. Hemizygous male Dcx mice show severe postnatal lethality; the few that survive to adulthood are variably fertile. Dcx mutant mice show neocortical lamination that is largely indistinguishable from wild type and show normal patterns of neocortical neurogenesis and neuronal migration. In contrast, the hippocampus of both heterozygous females and hemizygous males shows disrupted lamination that is most severe in the CA3 region. Behavioral tests show defects in context and cued conditioned fear tests, suggesting that deficits in hippocampal learning accompany the abnormal cytoarchitecture.
Arthritis and Rheumatism. Aug, 2003 | Pubmed ID: 12910572
A Hybrid Photoreceptor Expressing Both Rod and Cone Genes in a Mouse Model of Enhanced S-cone Syndrome
PLoS Genetics. Aug, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 16110338
Rod and cone photoreceptors subserve vision under dim and bright light conditions, respectively. The differences in their function are thought to stem from their different gene expression patterns, morphologies, and synaptic connectivities. In this study, we have examined the photoreceptor cells of the retinal degeneration 7(rd7) mutant mouse, a model for the human enhanced S-cone syndrome (ESCS). This mutant carries a spontaneous deletion in the mouse ortholog of NR2E3, an orphan nuclear receptor transcription factor mutated in ESCS. Employing microarray and in situ hybridization analysis we have found that the rd7 retina contains a modestly increased number of S-opsin-expressing cells that ultrastructurally appear to be normal cones. Strikingly, the majority of the photoreceptors in the rd7 retina represent a morphologically hybrid cell type that expresses both rod- and cone-specific genes. In addition, in situ hybridization screening of genes shown to be up-regulated in the rd7 mutant retina by microarray identified ten new cone-specific or cone-enriched genes with a wide range of biochemical functions, including two genes specifically involved in glucose/glycogen metabolism. We suggest that the abnormal electroretinograms, slow retinal degeneration, and retinal dysmorphology seen in humans with ESCS may, in part, be attributable to the aberrant function of a hybrid photoreceptor cell type similar to that identified in this study. The functional diversity of the novel cone-specific genes identified here indicates molecular differences between rods and cones extending far beyond those previously discovered.
Genetic Interactions Between Doublecortin and Doublecortin-like Kinase in Neuronal Migration and Axon Outgrowth
Neuron. Jan, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16387638
Although mutations in the human doublecortin gene (DCX) cause profound defects in cortical neuronal migration, a genetic deletion of Dcx in mice produces a milder defect. A second locus, doublecortin-like kinase (Dclk), encodes a protein with similar "doublecortin domains" and microtubule stabilization properties that may compensate for Dcx. Here, we generate a mouse with a Dclk mutation that causes no obvious migrational abnormalities but show that mice mutant for both Dcx and Dclk demonstrate perinatal lethality, disorganized neocortical layering, and profound hippocampal cytoarchitectural disorganization. Surprisingly, Dcx(-/y);Dclk(-/-) mutants have widespread axonal defects, affecting the corpus callosum, anterior commissure, subcortical fiber tracts, and internal capsule. Dcx/Dclk-deficient dissociated neurons show abnormal axon outgrowth and dendritic structure, with defects in axonal transport of synaptic vesicle proteins. Dcx and Dclk may directly or indirectly regulate microtubule-based vesicle transport, a process critical to both neuronal migration and axon outgrowth.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Jul, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17620597
Mutations in photoreceptor-enriched genes have been implicated in dozens of human retinal diseases, yet no systematic analysis of rod and cone gene expression patterns has been carried out. In addition, although cone photoreceptor loss accounts for much of the morbidity of retinal disease, relatively few cone-specific genes are known. In this study, we carried out microarray and in situ hybridization analyses of the mouse Neural retina leucine zipper gene (Nrl) mutant, which shows an en masse conversion of rods into cones, to establish a typology of photoreceptor gene expression and to identify novel cone-specific genes. We found a total of 18 new cone-enriched genes, some of which map near uncloned retinal disease loci. Several of these genes have a dorsal-ventral (D-V) pattern of expression similar to that of short- or medium-wavelength opsins. We carried out microarray analysis of dorsal and ventral microdissected WT retina and found additional photoreceptor genes with an asymmetric distribution. Overall, we found that photoreceptor genes fall on an expression spectrum from rod-specific to cone-specific, with many showing varying degrees of rod and cone coexpression. These expression patterns can be reliably predicted from microarray data alone. Our results demonstrate definitive molecular differences between rods and cones that may underlie the physiological differences between these two classes of photoreceptors.
A Familial Form of Pallidoluysionigral Degeneration and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis with Divergent Clinical Presentations
Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology. Jul, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17620990
We describe a family with a rapidly progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) but with unusual neuropathologic features that include pallidoluysionigral degeneration. The proband presented with primary progressive aphasia that evolved into mutism. He subsequently developed dementia with mild disinhibition and parkinsonism and late in the disease showed evidence of motor neuron disease. Two other cases (the proband's mother and maternal uncle) had features of ALS exclusively. All 3 had a young onset (fourth decade) and rapid clinical course, with average time from onset of symptoms to death of 4 years. Postmortem neuropathologic examination of the proband and his uncle showed ALS changes and extensive pallidoluysionigral degeneration without neurofibrillary tangles, ubiquitin inclusions, or detectable abnormalities in the dentate nucleus of the cerebellum. Although this exceptional combination of neuropathologic features has been described in rare cases of sporadic ALS-FTD, no pedigrees have ever been reported. In 2 affected members of this family, we failed to identify mutations in genes associated with weakness, movement disorders, or dementia, including ALS, FTD, selected spinocerebellar ataxias, and Huntington disease. Thus, this disorder may represent a novel autosomal dominantly inherited and rapidly progressive neurodegenerative disorder with a spectrum of clinical presentations but common neuropathologic features.
PloS One. 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17653270
The photoreceptor cells of the retina are subject to a greater number of genetic diseases than any other cell type in the human body. The majority of more than 120 cloned human blindness genes are highly expressed in photoreceptors. In order to establish an integrative framework in which to understand these diseases, we have undertaken an experimental and computational analysis of the network controlled by the mammalian photoreceptor transcription factors, Crx, Nrl, and Nr2e3. Using microarray and in situ hybridization datasets we have produced a model of this network which contains over 600 genes, including numerous retinal disease loci as well as previously uncharacterized photoreceptor transcription factors. To elucidate the connectivity of this network, we devised a computational algorithm to identify the photoreceptor-specific cis-regulatory elements (CREs) mediating the interactions between these transcription factors and their target genes. In vivo validation of our computational predictions resulted in the discovery of 19 novel photoreceptor-specific CREs near retinal disease genes. Examination of these CREs permitted the definition of a simple cis-regulatory grammar rule associated with high-level expression. To test the generality of this rule, we used an expanded form of it as a selection filter to evolve photoreceptor CREs from random DNA sequences in silico. When fused to fluorescent reporters, these evolved CREs drove strong, photoreceptor-specific expression in vivo. This study represents the first systematic identification and in vivo validation of CREs in a mammalian neuronal cell type and lays the groundwork for a systems biology of photoreceptor transcriptional regulation.
Pharmacogenomics. Mar, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18303969
The photoreceptor cells of the retina are subject to a wide range of genetic diseases. This review summarizes current knowledge regarding an important group of retinal diseases caused by mutations in photoreceptor-enriched genes. In addition, progress toward treatment of a variety of these diseases in animal models via adeno-associated virus gene therapy is described. Although no human trials have yet been initiated to treat diseases caused by mutations in photoreceptor-enriched genes, there is a great deal of optimism regarding the prospects of treating these diseases using adeno-associated virus gene therapy.
Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy. May, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18407764
Hereditary retinal disease is currently known to involve nearly 200 different genetic loci. There has been remarkable recent progress in the treatment of retinal disease via gene therapy in animal models using virus-based vectors. The majority of retinal diseases affect one of several cell types. In order to target expression of a rescue transgene specifically to the cells in need of therapy, it is necessary to employ a cis-regulatory element (CRE) to drive expression of the transgene specifically in those cells.
PloS One. 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20126550
The avian retina possesses one of the most sophisticated cone photoreceptor systems among vertebrates. Birds have five types of cones including four single cones, which support tetrachromatic color vision and a double cone, which is thought to mediate achromatic motion perception. Despite this richness, very little is known about the spatial organization of avian cones and its adaptive significance. Here we show that the five cone types of the chicken independently tile the retina as highly ordered mosaics with a characteristic spacing between cones of the same type. Measures of topological order indicate that double cones are more highly ordered than single cones, possibly reflecting their posited role in motion detection. Although cones show spacing interactions that are cell type-specific, all cone types use the same density-dependent yardstick to measure intercone distance. We propose a simple developmental model that can account for these observations. We also show that a single parameter, the global regularity index, defines the regularity of all five cone mosaics. Lastly, we demonstrate similar cone distributions in three additional avian species, suggesting that these patterning principles are universal among birds. Since regular photoreceptor spacing is critical for uniform sampling of visual space, the cone mosaics of the avian retina represent an elegant example of the emergence of adaptive global patterning secondary to simple local interactions between individual photoreceptors. Our results indicate that the evolutionary pressures that gave rise to the avian retina's various adaptations for enhanced color discrimination also acted to fine-tune its spatial sampling of color and luminance.
Genome Research. Nov, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20693478
Approximately 98% of mammalian DNA is noncoding, yet we understand relatively little about the function of this enigmatic portion of the genome. The cis-regulatory elements that control gene expression reside in noncoding regions and can be identified by mapping the binding sites of tissue-specific transcription factors. Cone-rod homeobox (CRX) is a key transcription factor in photoreceptor differentiation and survival, but its in vivo targets are largely unknown. Here, we used chromatin immunoprecipitation with massively parallel sequencing (ChIP-seq) on CRX to identify thousands of cis-regulatory regions around photoreceptor genes in adult mouse retina. CRX directly regulates downstream photoreceptor transcription factors and their target genes via a network of spatially distributed regulatory elements around each locus. CRX-bound regions act in a synergistic fashion to activate transcription and contain multiple CRX binding sites which interact in a spacing- and orientation-dependent manner to fine-tune transcript levels. CRX ChIP-seq was also performed on Nrl(-/-) retinas, which represent an enriched source of cone photoreceptors. Comparison with the wild-type ChIP-seq data set identified numerous rod- and cone-specific CRX-bound regions as well as many shared elements. Thus, CRX combinatorially orchestrates the transcriptional networks of both rods and cones by coordinating the expression of photoreceptor genes including most retinal disease genes. In addition, this study pinpoints thousands of noncoding regions of relevance to both Mendelian and complex retinal disease.
American Journal of Human Genetics. Sep, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20705278
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a degenerative disease of the retina leading to progressive loss of vision and, in many instances, to legal blindness at the end stage. The RP28 locus was assigned in 1999 to the short arm of chromosome 2 by homozygosity mapping in a large Indian family segregating autosomal-recessive RP (arRP). Following a combined approach of chromatin immunoprecipitation and parallel sequencing of genomic DNA, we identified a gene, FAM161A, which was shown to carry a homozygous nonsense mutation (p.Arg229X) in patients from the original RP28 pedigree. Another homozygous FAM161A stop mutation (p.Arg437X) was detected in three subjects from a cohort of 118 apparently unrelated German RP patients. Age at disease onset in these patients was in the second to third decade, with severe visual handicap in the fifth decade and legal blindness in the sixth to seventh decades. FAM161A is a phylogenetically conserved gene, expressed in the retina at relatively high levels and encoding a putative 76 kDa protein of unknown function. In the mouse retina, Fam161a mRNA is developmentally regulated and controlled by the transcription factor Crx, as demonstrated by chromatin immunoprecipitation and organotypic reporter assays on explanted retinas. Fam161a protein localizes to photoreceptor cells during development, and in adult animals it is present in the inner segment as well as the outer plexiform layer of the retina, the synaptic interface between photoreceptors and their efferent neurons. Taken together, our data indicate that null mutations in FAM161A are responsible for the RP28-associated arRP.
Risk- and Non-risk-associated Variants at the 10q26 AMD Locus Influence ARMS2 MRNA Expression but Exclude Pathogenic Effects Due to Protein Deficiency
Human Molecular Genetics. Apr, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21252205
Fifteen variants in 10q26 are in strong linkage disequilibrium and are associated with an increased risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a frequent cause of blindness in developed countries. These variants tag a single-risk haplotype encompassing the genes ARMS2 (age-related maculopathy susceptibility 2) and part of HTRA1 (HtrA serine peptidase 1). To define the true AMD susceptibility gene in 10q26, several studies have focused on the influence of risk alleles on the expression of ARMS2 and/or HTRA1, but the results have been inconsistent. By heterologous expression of genomic ARMS2 variants, we now show that ARMS2 mRNA levels transcribed from the risk haplotype are significantly reduced compared with non-risk mRNA isoforms. Analyzing variant ARMS2 constructs, this effect could specifically be assigned to the known insertion/deletion polymorphism (c.(*)372_815del443ins54) in the 3'-untranslated region of ARMS2. Reporter gene assays with HTRA1 promoter sequences demonstrated the presence of a Müller glia-specific cis-regulatory region further upstream of the transcription start site. However, AMD risk alleles had little or no effect on HTRA1 promoter activity in the retina. Analysis of a large series of human post-mortem retina/retinal pigment epithelial samples heterozygous for the risk haplotype confirmed the in vitro/ex vivo results and demonstrated that the risk haplotype affects ARMS2 but not HTRA1 mRNA expression. Furthermore, we provide in vivo evidence that a common non-risk-associated non-synonymous variant (rs2736911) also leads to decreased ARMS2 transcript levels. Consequently, our data suggest that pathogenic effects due to ARMS2 protein deficiency are unlikely to account for AMD pathology.
The Journal of Clinical Investigation. Feb, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21266774
The role of the Notch signaling pathway in tumor development is complex, with Notch1 functioning either as an oncogene or as a tumor suppressor in a context-dependent manner. To further define the role of Notch1 in tumor development, we systematically surveyed for tumor suppressor activity of Notch1 in vivo. We combined the previously described Notch1 intramembrane proteolysis-Cre (Nip1::Cre) allele with a floxed Notch1 allele to create a mouse model for sporadic, low-frequency loss of Notch1 heterozygosity. Through this approach, we determined the cell types most affected by Notch1 loss. We report that the loss of Notch1 caused widespread vascular tumors and organism lethality secondary to massive hemorrhage. These findings reflected a cell-autonomous role for Notch1 in suppressing neoplasia in the vascular system and provide a model by which to explore the mechanism of neoplastic transformation of endothelial cells. Importantly, these results raise concerns regarding the safety of chronic application of drugs targeting the Notch pathway, specifically those targeting Notch1, because of mechanism-based toxicity in the endothelium. Our strategy also can be broadly applied to induce sporadic in vivo loss of heterozygosity of any conditional alleles in progenitors that experience Notch1 activation.
Exome Sequencing and Cis-regulatory Mapping Identify Mutations in MAK, a Gene Encoding a Regulator of Ciliary Length, As a Cause of Retinitis Pigmentosa
American Journal of Human Genetics. Aug, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21835304
A fundamental challenge in analyzing exome-sequence data is distinguishing pathogenic mutations from background polymorphisms. To address this problem in the context of a genetically heterogeneous disease, retinitis pigmentosa (RP), we devised a candidate-gene prioritization strategy called cis-regulatory mapping that utilizes ChIP-seq data for the photoreceptor transcription factor CRX to rank candidate genes. Exome sequencing combined with this approach identified a homozygous nonsense mutation in male germ cell-associated kinase (MAK) in the single affected member of a consanguineous Turkish family with RP. MAK encodes a cilium-associated mitogen-activated protein kinase whose function is conserved from the ciliated alga, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, to humans. Mutations in MAK orthologs in mice and other model organisms result in abnormally long cilia and, in mice, rapid photoreceptor degeneration. Subsequent sequence analyses of additional individuals with RP identified five probands with missense mutations in MAK. Two of these mutations alter amino acids that are conserved in all known kinases, and an in vitro kinase assay indicates that these mutations result in a loss of kinase activity. Thus, kinase activity appears to be critical for MAK function in humans. This study highlights a previously underappreciated role for CRX as a direct transcriptional regulator of ciliary genes in photoreceptors. In addition, it demonstrates the effectiveness of CRX-based cis-regulatory mapping in prioritizing candidate genes from exome data and suggests that this strategy should be generally applicable to a range of retinal diseases.
Transcriptional Regulation of Neural Retina Leucine Zipper (Nrl), a Photoreceptor Cell Fate Determinant
The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Oct, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21865162
The transcription factor neural retina leucine zipper (Nrl) is a critical determinant of rod photoreceptor cell fate and a key regulator of rod differentiation. Nrl(-/-) rod precursors fail to turn on rod genes and instead differentiate as cones. Furthermore, NRL mutations in humans cause retinitis pigmentosa. Despite the developmental and clinical significance of this gene, little is known about the transcriptional regulation of Nrl itself. In this study, we sought to define the cis- and trans-acting factors responsible for initiation and maintenance of Nrl transcription in the mouse retina. Utilizing a quantitative mouse retinal explant electroporation assay, we discovered a phylogenetically conserved, 30-base pair region immediately upstream of the transcription start site that is required for Nrl promoter activity. This region contains binding sites for the retinal transcription factors CRX, OTX2, and RORβ, and point mutations in these sites completely abolish promoter activity in living retinas. Gel-shift experiments show that CRX, OTX2, and RORβ can bind to the critical region in vitro, whereas ChIP experiments demonstrate binding of CRX and OTX2 to the critical region in vivo. Thus, our results indicate that CRX, OTX2, and RORβ directly regulate Nrl transcription by binding to critical sites within the Nrl promoter. We propose a model in which Nrl expression is primarily initiated by OTX2 and RORβ and later maintained at high levels by CRX and RORβ.