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In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (11)

Articles by Monzy Thomas in JoVE

 JoVE Neuroscience

A Visual Description of the Dissection of the Cerebral Surface Vasculature and Associated Meninges and the Choroid Plexus from Rat Brain

1Division of Neurotoxicology, National Center for Toxicological Research, 2Division of Personalized Nutrition and Medicine, National Center for Toxicological Research, 3Office of Planning, Finance, and Information Technology, National Center for Toxicological Research


JoVE 4285

This video presentation shows a method of harvesting the two most important highly vascular structures that support forebrain function. They are the cerebral surface (superficial) vasculature along with associated meninges (MAV) and the choroid plexus which are necessary for cerebral blood flow and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) homeostasis.

Other articles by Monzy Thomas on PubMed

Embryo Culture-based Generation of Enhanced Green Fluorescent Protein-transgenic Mice

One of the limitations of transgenesis is low efficiency. In this study, we generated transgenic mice harboring the enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) gene, under the control of chicken-beta-actin promoter and cytomegalovirus enhancer, using two approaches and compared their efficiencies. One involved culture of EGFP-injected embryos developing through EGFP-expressing "green" blastocysts, followed by their transfer to uterus. The second was oviductal-transfer of EGFP-injected-eggs. Embryo culture-based-transgenesis (ECBT) produced 100% transgenic mice, unlike the second approach. Moreover, ECBT required reduced number of recipients and markedly increased pregnancy rates. Of the nine founders, seven exhibited ubiquitous EGFP-expression, one (GU1) was a mosaic and the other (G18) was non-expressing. The molecular basis for this was attributed to repeat-induced gene silencing, since the G18 had a high copy number (approximately 99/genome) of the non-mutated and non-rearranged EGFP-transgene integrated at a single site. Our results show the superiority of ECBT over the conventional oviductal approach for generating transgenic "green" mice.

Androgen Receptor Acetylation Site Mutations Cause Trafficking Defects, Misfolding, and Aggregation Similar to Expanded Glutamine Tracts

Kennedy's disease is a degenerative disorder of motor neurons caused by the expansion of a glutamine tract near the amino terminus of the androgen receptor (AR). Ligand binding to the receptor is associated with several post-translational modifications, but it is poorly understood whether these affect the toxicity of the mutant protein. Our studies now demonstrate that mutation of lysine residues in wild-type AR that are normally acetylated in a ligand-dependent manner mimics the effects of the expanded glutamine tract on receptor trafficking, misfolding, and aggregation. Mutation of lysines 630 or 632 and 633 to alanine markedly delays ligand-dependent nuclear translocation. The K632A/K633A mutant also undergoes ligand-dependent misfolding and aggregation similar to the expanded glutamine tract AR. This acetylation site mutant exhibits ligand-dependent 1C2 immunoreactivity, forms aggregates that co-localize with Hsp40, Hsp70, and the ubiquitin-protein isopeptide ligase (E3) ubiquitin ligase carboxyl terminus of Hsc70-interacting protein (CHIP), and inhibits proteasome function. Ligand-dependent nuclear translocation of the wild-type receptor and misfolding and aggregation of the K632A/K633A mutant are blocked by radicicol, an Hsp90 inhibitor. These data identify a novel role for the acetylation site as a regulator of androgen receptor subcellular distribution and folding and indicate that ligand-dependent aggregation is dependent upon intact Hsp90 function.

Sperm Membrane Dynamics Assessed by Changes in Lectin Fluorescence Before and After Capacitation

Sperm capacitation is correlated with acquisition of fertilizing ability, and the molecular events underlying this process are only beginning to be understood. A number of membrane changes associated with capacitation have been documented. In this study we used lectin probes to identify changes in glycoprotein localization as a result of capacitation of mouse sperm. Eight lectins (LEA, PSA, PNA, AAA, UEA-1, WGA, STA, and TPA) stained regions of the mouse sperm head, tail, or both. No changes in tail staining patterns were detected when sperm were incubated under capacitating conditions. In contrast, 7 of 8 lectins tested showed clear shifts in staining patterns in the sperm head as a result of incubation under capacitating conditions. When staining patterns were quantified, a distinct heterogeneity within the sperm population was observed. Each lectin displayed 3 distinct staining patterns in both uncapacitated and capacitated sperm samples. The least common pattern represented the acrosome-reacted (AR) pattern, as independently assessed by lectin staining of ionophoretreated sperm that were >95% AR as judged by Coomassie staining. However, a reciprocal shift in the two predominant staining patterns was correlated with capacitation and suggests that changes in distribution of cell surface proteins during capacitation constitute part of the molecular changes which result in changes in sperm function acquired during this process.

The Unfolded Protein Response Modulates Toxicity of the Expanded Glutamine Androgen Receptor

Kennedy disease, a degenerative disorder caused by an expanded glutamine tract, is mediated by misfolding of the mutant androgen receptor (AR) protein, a process that may disrupt proteasome function. We hypothesized that this might lead to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and induction of the unfolded protein response (UPR), a complex physiologic pathway that regulates cell survival. To test this hypothesis, we used aminoterminal fragments of wild type (AR16Q) or mutant (AR112Q) AR that triggered glutamine length-dependent cell death and activated an ER stress-inducible promoter. To evaluate the role of the UPR, we examined the contributions of three proximal sensors of ER stress: activating transcription factor 6 (ATF6), inositol requiring 1 (IRE1), and PKR-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK). AR112Q toxicity was significantly increased by a dominant negative ATF6 mutant and significantly decreased by a constitutively active ATF6 mutant, indicating that ATF6 promoted cell survival. In contrast, co-transfection with three separate IRE1alpha dominant negative mutants failed to alter glutamine length-dependent toxicity, suggesting that this arm of the UPR did not significantly affect AR112Q induced cell death. Activation of PERK, an ER transmembrane protein that functions as the third proximal UPR sensor, promoted glutamine length-dependent toxicity. Although nuclear localization sequence- and nuclear export sequence-targeted proteins both activated the UPR, this pathway more potently influenced toxicity when proteins were targeted to the cytoplasm. Taken together, our data demonstrate that the UPR is activated in cells expressing long glutamine tracts and that this pathway modulates polyglutamine toxicity.

Pharmacologic and Genetic Inhibition of Hsp90-dependent Trafficking Reduces Aggregation and Promotes Degradation of the Expanded Glutamine Androgen Receptor Without Stress Protein Induction

The molecular chaperone hsp90 has emerged as an important therapeutic target in cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, including the polyglutamine expansion disorders, because of its ability to regulate the activity, turnover and trafficking of many proteins. For neurodegenerative disorders associated with protein aggregation, the rationale has been that inhibition of hsp90 by geldanamycin and related compounds activates heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) to induce the production of the chaperones hsp70 and hsp40 that promote disaggregation and protein degradation. However, we show here that geldanamycin blocks the development of aggregates of the expanded glutamine androgen receptor (AR112Q) of Kennedy disease in Hsf1(-/-) mouse embryonic fibroblasts where these chaperones are not induced. Geldanamycin is additionally known to inhibit hsp90-dependent protein trafficking and to promote proteasomal degradation of client proteins. Overexpression of the hsp90 cochaperone p23 also promotes AR112Q degradation, and inhibits both AR trafficking and AR112Q aggregation without altering levels of hsp70 or hsp40. The hsp90-dependent trafficking mechanism has been defined, and it is shown that key immunophilin (IMM) components of the trafficking machinery are present in polyglutamine aggregates in cell and mouse models of Kennedy disease. Our results indicate that inhibition of the hsp90-dependent trafficking mechanism prevents aggregation of the expanded glutamine androgen receptor, thereby opening a variety of novel therapeutic approaches to these neurodegenerative disorders.

Reorganization of Mouse Sperm Lipid Rafts by Capacitation

One of the hallmarks of mammalian sperm capacitation is the loss of cholesterol from the plasma membrane. Cholesterol has been associated with the formation of detergent insoluble membrane microdomains in many cell types, and sperm from several mammalian species have been shown to contain detergent-resistant membranes (DRMs). The change in cholesterol composition of the sperm plasma membrane during capacitation raises the question of whether the contents of DRMs are altered during this process. In this study, we investigated changes in protein composition of DRMs isolated from uncapacitated or capacitated mouse sperm. TX-100 insoluble membranes were fractionated by sucrose flotation gradient centrifugation and analyzed by Western and lectin blotting, and capacitation-related differences in protein composition were identified. Following capacitation, the detergent insoluble fractions moved to lighter positions on the sucrose gradients, reflecting a global change in density or composition. We identified several individual proteins that either became enriched or depleted in DRM fractions following capacitation. These data suggest that the physiological changes in sperm motility, ability to penetrate the zona pellucida (ZP), ZP responsiveness, and other capacitation-dependent changes, may be due in part to a functional reorganization of plasma membrane microdomains.

Brain Region-specific Neurodegenerative Profiles Showing the Relative Importance of Amphetamine Dose, Hyperthermia, Seizures, and the Blood-brain Barrier

Understanding the neurotoxic effects of acute high-dose exposures of laboratory animals to methamphetamine (METH) and amphetamine (AMPH) is of relevance to understanding the neurotoxicity incurred in humans from overdose or abuse of these substances. We present recent findings on the neurodegenerative effects of both a single high dose of 40 mg/kg and a 4-dose exposure to AMPH in the rat. Comparing these results with those we have previously observed in rodents exposed to either AMPH or METH helps further address how dose, hyperthermia, seizures and blood-brain barrier (BBB) disruption interact to produce neurodegeneration. With regard to the 4-dose paradigm of AMPH exposure in the rat, our recent data, combined with previous findings, clearly show the importance of dose and hyperthermic interactions in producing neurodegeneration. The single high AMPH dose invariably resulted in extreme hyperthermia and brief episodes of clonic-tonic seizure activity in many rats. However, motor behavior indicative of status epilepticus was not observed in rats receiving the 40 mg/kg AMPH, which contrasts with what we have previously seen with 40 mg/kg METH dose in the mouse. This may explain why, unlike the mice given METH, there was minimal BBB disruption in the amygdala of rats. Nonetheless, in some of the surviving rats there was extensive neurodegeneration in the hippocampus and intralaminar and ventromedial/lateral thalamic nuclei. Early BBB disruption was seen in the hippocampus and may play an important role in the subsequent neurodegeneration. The fact that status epilepticus does not occur in rats that have major hippocampal and thalamic degeneration indicates that such damage may also occur in humans exposed to high doses of AMPH or METH in the absence of status epilepticus or prominent motor manifestations of seizure activity.

Small Ubiquitin-like Modifier (SUMO) Modification of the Androgen Receptor Attenuates Polyglutamine-mediated Aggregation

The neurodegenerative disorder spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy or Kennedy disease is caused by a CAG trinucleotide repeat expansion within the androgen receptor (AR) gene. The resulting expanded polyglutamine tract in the N-terminal region of the receptor renders AR prone to ligand-dependent misfolding and formation of oligomers and aggregates that are linked to neuronal toxicity. How AR misfolding is influenced by post-translational modifications, however, is poorly understood. AR is a target of SUMOylation, and this modification inhibits AR activity in a promoter context-dependent manner. SUMOylation is up-regulated in response to multiple forms of cellular stress and may therefore play an important cytoprotective role. Consistent with this view, we find that gratuitous enhancement of overall SUMOylation significantly reduced the formation of polyglutamine-expanded AR aggregates without affecting the levels of the receptor. Remarkably, this effect requires SUMOylation of AR itself because it depends on intact AR SUMOylation sites. Functional analyses, however, indicate that the protective effects of enhanced AR SUMOylation are not due to alterations in AR transcriptional activity because a branched protein structure in the appropriate context of the N-terminal region of AR is necessary to antagonize aggregation but not for inhibiting AR transactivation. Remarkably, small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) attenuates AR aggregation through a unique mechanism that does not depend on critical features essential for its interaction with canonical SUMO binding motifs. Our findings therefore reveal a novel function of SUMOylation and suggest that approaches that enhance AR SUMOylation may be of clinical use in polyglutamine expansion diseases.

Amphetamine and Environmentally Induced Hyperthermia Differentially Alter the Expression of Genes Regulating Vascular Tone and Angiogenesis in the Meninges and Associated Vasculature

An amphetamine (AMPH) regimen that does not produce a prominent blood-brain barrier breakdown was shown to significantly alter the expression of genes regulating vascular tone, immune function, and angiogenesis in vasculature associated with arachnoid and pia membranes of the forebrain. Adult-male Sprague-Dawley rats were given either saline injections during environmentally-induced hyperthermia (EIH) or four doses of AMPH with 2 h between each dose (5, 7.5, 10, and 10 mg/kg d-AMPH, s.c.) that produced hyperthermia. Rats were sacrificed either 3 h or 1 day after dosing, and total RNA and protein was isolated from the meninges, arachnoid and pia membranes, and associated vasculature (MAV) that surround the forebrain. Vip, eNos, Drd1a, and Edn1 (genes regulating vascular tone) were increased by either EIH or AMPH to varying degrees in MAV, indicating that EIH and AMPH produce differential responses to enhance vasodilatation. AMPH, and EIH to a lesser extent, elicited a significant inflammatory response at 3 h as indicated by an increased MAV expression of cytokines Il1b, Il6, Ccl-2, Cxcl1, and Cxcl2. Also, genes related to heat shock/stress and disruption of vascular homeostasis such as Icam1 and Hsp72 were also observed. The increased expression of Ctgf and Timp1 and the decreased expression of Akt1, Anpep, and Mmp2 and Tek (genes involved in stimulating angiogenesis) from AMPH exposure suggest that angiogenesis was arrested or disrupted in MAV to a greater extent by AMPH compared to EIH. Alterations in vascular-related gene expression in the parietal cortex and striatum after AMPH were less in magnitude than in MAV, indicating less of a disruption of vascular homeostasis in these two regions. Changes in the levels of insulin-like growth factor binding proteins Igfbp1, 2, and 5 in MAV, compared to those in striatum and parietal cortex, imply an interaction between these regions to regulate the levels of insulin-like growth factor after AMPH damage. Thus, the vasculature and meninges surrounding the surface of the forebrain may be an important region in which AMPHs can disrupt vascular homeostasis.

The MRNA Expression and Histological Integrity in Rat Forebrain Motor and Sensory Regions Are Minimally Affected by Acrylamide Exposure Through Drinking Water

A study was undertaken to determine whether alterations in the gene expression or overt histological signs of neurotoxicity in selected regions of the forebrain might occur from acrylamide exposure via drinking water. Gene expression at the mRNA level was evaluated by cDNA array and/or RT-PCR analysis in the striatum, substantia nigra and parietal cortex of rat after a 2-week acrylamide exposure. The highest dose tested (maximally tolerated) of approximately 44 mg/kg/day resulted in a significant decreased body weight, sluggishness, and locomotor activity reduction. These physiological effects were not accompanied by prominent changes in gene expression in the forebrain. All the expression changes seen in the 1200 genes that were evaluated in the three brain regions were < or =1.5-fold, and most not significant. Very few, if any, statistically significant changes were seen in mRNA levels of the more than 50 genes directly related to the cholinergic, noradrenergic, GABAergic or glutamatergic neurotransmitter systems in the striatum, substantia nigra or parietal cortex. All the expression changes observed in genes related to dopaminergic function were less than 1.5-fold and not statistically significant and the 5HT1b receptor was the only serotonin-related gene affected. Therefore, gene expression changes were few and modest in basal ganglia and sensory cortex at a time when the behavioral manifestations of acrylamide toxicity had become prominent. No histological evidence of axonal, dendritic or neuronal cell body damage was found in the forebrain due to the acrylamide exposure. As well, microglial activation was not present. These findings are consistent with the absence of expression changes in genes related to changes in neuroinflammation or neurotoxicity. Over all, these data suggest that oral ingestion of acrylamide in drinking water or food, even at maximally tolerable levels, induced neither marked changes in gene expression nor neurotoxicity in the motor and somatosensory areas of the central nervous system.

Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Responses Differ in Meninges and Associated Vasculature, Striatum, and Parietal Cortex After a Neurotoxic Amphetamine Exposure

Amphetamine (AMPH) is used to treat attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders, but it can produce neurotoxicity and adverse vascular effects at high doses. The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response (ERSR) entails the unfolded protein response, which helps to avoid or minimize ER dysfunction. ERSR is often associated with toxicities resulting from the accumulation of unfolded or misfolded proteins and has been associated with methamphetamine toxicity in the striatum. The present study evaluates the effect of AMPH on several ERSR elements in meninges and associated vasculature (MAV), parietal cortex, and striatum. Adult, male Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to saline, environmentally induced hyperthermia (EIH) or four consecutive doses of AMPH that produce hyperthermia. Expression changes (mRNA and protein levels) of key ERSR-related genes in MAV, striatum, and parietal cortex at 3 h or 1 day postdosing were monitored. AMPH increased the expression of some ERSR-related genes in all tissues. Atf4 (activating transcription factor 4, an indicator of Perk pathway activation), Hspa5/Grp78 (Glucose regulated protein 78, master regulator of ERSR), Pdia4 (protein disulfide isomerase, protein-folding enzyme), and Nfkb1 (nuclear factor of kappa b, ERSR sensor) mRNA increased significantly in MAV and parietal cortex 3 h after AMPH. In striatum, Atf4 and Hspa5/Grp78 mRNA significantly increased 3 h after AMPH, but Pdia4 and Nfkb11 did not. Thus, AMPH caused a robust activation of the Perk pathway in all tissues, but significant Ire1 pathway activation occurred only after AMPH treatment in the parietal cortex and striatum. Ddit3/Chop, a downstream effector of the ERSR pathway related to the neurotoxicity, was only increased in striatum and parietal cortex. Conversely, Pdia4, an enzyme protective in the ERSR, was only increased in MAV. The overall ERSR manifestation varied significantly between MAV, striatum, and parietal cortex after a neurotoxic exposure to AMPH.

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