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In JoVE (1)
Other Publications (21)
- Nature Neuroscience
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Journal of Neurobiology
- Gene Expression Patterns : GEP
- Birth Defects Research. Part A, Clinical and Molecular Teratology
- Bioconjugate Chemistry
- Methods in Cell Biology
- Bioconjugate Chemistry
- Birth Defects Research. Part A, Clinical and Molecular Teratology
- Journal of Nuclear Medicine : Official Publication, Society of Nuclear Medicine
- European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
- BMC Developmental Biology
- Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology
- Journal of Nuclear Medicine : Official Publication, Society of Nuclear Medicine
- Nuclear Medicine and Biology
- Bioconjugate Chemistry
- PloS One
- Molecular Imaging and Biology : MIB : the Official Publication of the Academy of Molecular Imaging
- Journal of Lipid Research
- Molecular Biology of the Cell
Articles by Sara Ahlgren in JoVE
Assessing Teratogenic Changes in a Zebrafish Model of Fetal Alcohol Exposure
Evyn Loucks1, Sara Ahlgren1,2
1Program in Developmental Biology, Children's Memorial Research Center, 2Department of Pediatrics, Northwestern University
In order to understand the molecular mechanisms of the ethanol-induced developmental damage, we have developed a zebrafish model of ethanol exposure and are exploring the physical, cellular, and genetic alterations that occur after ethanol exposure1. We then seek to find potential interventions and rapidly test them in this animal model.
Other articles by Sara Ahlgren on PubMed
Nature Neuroscience. Feb, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 11818969
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Aug, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 12140368
Alcohol is a teratogen that induces a variety of abnormalities including brain and facial defects [Jones, K. & Smith, D. (1973) Lancet 2, 999-1001], with the exact nature of the deficit depending on the time and magnitude of the dose of ethanol to which developing fetuses are exposed. In addition to abnormal facial structures, ethanol-treated embryos exhibit a highly characteristic pattern of cell death. Dying cells are observed in the premigratory and migratory neural crest cells that normally populate most facial structures. The observation that blocking Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling results in similar craniofacial abnormalities prompted us to examine whether there was a link between this aspect of fetal alcohol syndrome and loss of Shh. We demonstrate that administration of ethanol to chick embryos results in a dramatic loss of Shh, as well as a loss of transcripts involved in Shh signaling pathways. In contrast, other signaling molecules examined do not demonstrate such dramatic changes. Furthermore, we demonstrate that both the ethanol-induced cranial neural crest cell death and the associated craniofacial growth defect can be rescued by application of Shh. These data suggest that craniofacial anomalies resulting from fetal alcohol exposure are caused at least partially by loss of Shh and subsequent neural crest cell death.
Journal of Neurobiology. Dec, 2003 | Pubmed ID: 14608667
The winged helix transcription factor FoxG1 (Bf-1, qin) plays multiple roles in the development of the telencephalon, with different parts of the protein affecting either proliferation or differentiation. We examined the consequences of over-expression, via retroviral expression, of FoxG1 on the growth of different regions of the chicken brain. Excess expression of FoxG1 caused a thickening of the neuroepithelium, and ultimately large outgrowths of the telencephalon and mesencephalon. In contrast, the myelencephalon appeared unaffected, exhibiting normal apoptosis and growth characteristics. A DNA binding defective form of FoxG1 did not exhibit these abnormalities, suggesting that these effects are due to FoxG1's function as a transcriptional repressor. To examine the means by which excess FoxG1 caused overgrowth of the brain, we examined alterations in cell proliferation and death. No increase in proliferation was noted in any portion of the neural tube, rather a significant decrease in neuroepithelial apoptosis was seen. These results demonstrate a previously unrecognized role for winged helix factors in the regulation of neural cell apoptosis.
Gene Expression Patterns : GEP. Jun, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17482883
NudE-Like (NDEL1/NUDEL), through its interaction with LIS1 and DISC1, has been implicated in the etiology of neurological disorders such as lissencephaly and schizophrenia, respectively. Subsequently, a large portion of the research done on the function of NDEL1 has been specifically targeted to its role in brain development while ignoring its function in other developing and adult tissues. To begin a more global exploration of NDEL1's function, this study characterizes the developmental expression pattern of the NDEL1 orthologs in the zebrafish embryo. Our bioinformatic analyses identified two NDEL1 orthologs in the zebrafish, ndel1a and ndel1b. ndel1a is expressed predominantly in the anterior central nervous system (CNS), trigeminal ganglia, and eyes while ndel1b is expressed in the developing somites and, later, in the CNS. In addition to the spatial differences in their expression patterns, these genes are also individually regulated in their temporal expression. Both are expressed maternally but at later time-points there are subtle differences. ndel1a expression is lost between 6 and 12 hpf but then increases to a higher, near steady state, level from 72 to 120 hpf. ndel1b expression decreases from 3 to 36 hpf and subsequently increases from 36 to 120 hpf. The non-overlapping expression patterns of these two orthologs may indicate that they have split the functional role of the one NDEL1 gene present in mammalian species. The temporal and spatial regulation of these two orthologs will aid in the characterization of the multiple functions of this gene in both the developing and mature organism.
Birth Defects Research. Part A, Clinical and Molecular Teratology. Sep, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17647295
Exposure of zebrafish embryos to a number of teratogens results in cyclopia, but little is known about the underlying molecular changes.
Evaluation of Maleimide Derivative of DOTA for Site-specific Labeling of Recombinant Affibody Molecules
Bioconjugate Chemistry. Jan, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18163536
Affibody molecules are a new class of small (7 kDa) scaffold affinity proteins, which demonstrate promising properties as agents for in vivo radionuclide targeting. The Affibody scaffold is cysteine-free and therefore independent of disulfide bonds. Thus, a single thiol group can be engineered into the protein by introduction of one cysteine. Coupling of thiol-reactive bifunctional chelators can enable site-specific labeling of recombinantly produced Affibody molecules. In this study, the use of 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7-tris-acetic acid-10-maleimidoethylacetamide (MMA-DOTA) for 111 In-labeling of anti-HER2 Affibody molecules His 6-Z HER2:342-Cys and Z HER2:2395-Cys has been evaluated. The introduction of a cysteine residue did not affect the affinity of the proteins, which was 29 pM for His 6-Z HER2:342-Cys and 27 pM for Z HER2:2395-Cys, comparable with 22 pM for the parental Z HER2:342. MMA-DOTA was conjugated to DTT-reduced Affibody molecules with a coupling efficiency of 93% using a 1:1 molar ratio of chelator to protein. The conjugates were labeled with 111 In to a specific radioactivity of up to 7 GBq/mmol, with preserved binding for the target HER2. In vivo, the non-His-tagged variant 111 In-[MMA-DOTA-Cys61]-Z HER2:2395-Cys demonstrated appreciably lower liver uptake than its His-tag-containing counterpart. In mice bearing HER2-expressing LS174T xenografts, 111 In-[MMA-DOTA-Cys61]-Z HER2:2395-Cys showed specific and rapid tumor localization, and rapid clearance from blood and nonspecific compartments, leading to a tumor-to-blood-ratio of 18 +/- 8 already 1 h p.i. Four hours p.i., the tumor-to-blood ratio was 138 +/- 8. Xenografts were clearly visualized already 1 h p.i.
Methods in Cell Biology. 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18485296
Evaluation of a Maleimido Derivative of CHX-A'' DTPA for Site-specific Labeling of Affibody Molecules
Bioconjugate Chemistry. Aug, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18620447
Affibody molecules are a new class of small targeting proteins based on a common three-helix bundle structure. Affibody molecules binding a desired target may be selected using phage-display technology. An Affibody molecule Z HER2:342 binding with subnanomolar affinity to the tumor antigen HER2 has recently been developed for radionuclide imaging in vivo. Introduction of a single cysteine into the cysteine-free Affibody scaffold provides a unique thiol group for site-specific labeling of recombinant Affibody molecules. The recently developed maleimido-CHX-A'' DTPA was site-specifically conjugated at the C-terminal cysteine of Z HER2:2395-C, a variant of Z HER2:342, providing a homogeneous conjugate with a dissociation constant of 56 pM. The yield of labeling with (111)In was >99% after 10 min at room temperature. In vitro cell tests demonstrated specific binding of (111)In-CHX-A'' DTPA-Z 2395-C to HER2-expressing cell-line SKOV-3 and good cellular retention of radioactivity. In normal mice, the conjugate demonstrated rapid clearance from all nonspecific organs except kidney. In mice bearing SKOV-3 xenografts, the tumor uptake of (111)In-CHX-A'' DTPA-Z 2395-C was 17.3 +/- 4.8% IA/g and the tumor-to-blood ratio 86 +/- 46 (4 h postinjection). HER2-expressing xenografts were clearly visualized 1 h postinjection. In conclusion, coupling of maleimido-CHX-A'' DTPA to cysteine-containing Affibody molecules provides a well-defined uniform conjugate, which can be rapidly labeled at room temperature and provides high-contrast imaging of molecular targets in vivo.
Birth Defects Research. Part A, Clinical and Molecular Teratology. Jun, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19235835
The phenotype of embryos exposed to ethanol is complex and likely due to multiple alterations in developmental pathways. We have previously demonstrated that Sonic hedgehog signaling (Shh-s) was reduced in both chicken and zebrafish embryos when exposed to ethanol.
Targeting of HER2-expressing Tumors with a Site-specifically 99mTc-labeled Recombinant Affibody Molecule, ZHER2:2395, with C-terminally Engineered Cysteine
Journal of Nuclear Medicine : Official Publication, Society of Nuclear Medicine. May, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19372467
The detection of human epidermal growth factor receptor type 2 (HER2) expression in malignant tumors provides important information influencing patient management. Radionuclide in vivo imaging of HER2 may permit the detection of HER2 in both primary tumors and metastases by a single noninvasive procedure. Small (7 kDa) high-affinity anti-HER2 Affibody molecules may be suitable tracers for SPECT visualization of HER2-expressing tumors. The use of generator-produced (99m)Tc as a label would facilitate the prompt translation of anti-HER2 Affibody molecules into use in clinics.
Design, Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of a Multifunctional HER2-specific Affibody Molecule for Molecular Imaging
European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging. Nov, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19504093
The purpose of this study was to design and evaluate a novel platform for labelling of Affibody molecules, enabling both recombinant and synthetic production and site-specific labelling with (99m)Tc or trivalent radiometals.
Zebrafish Con/disp1 Reveals Multiple Spatiotemporal Requirements for Hedgehog-signaling in Craniofacial Development
BMC Developmental Biology. 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19948063
The vertebrate head skeleton is derived largely from cranial neural crest cells (CNCC). Genetic studies in zebrafish and mice have established that the Hedgehog (Hh)-signaling pathway plays a critical role in craniofacial development, partly due to the pathway's role in CNCC development. Disruption of the Hh-signaling pathway in humans can lead to the spectral disorder of Holoprosencephaly (HPE), which is often characterized by a variety of craniofacial defects including midline facial clefting and cyclopia 12. Previous work has uncovered a role for Hh-signaling in zebrafish dorsal neurocranium patterning and chondrogenesis, however Hh-signaling mutants have not been described with respect to the ventral pharyngeal arch (PA) skeleton. Lipid-modified Hh-ligands require the transmembrane-spanning receptor Dispatched 1 (Disp1) for proper secretion from Hh-synthesizing cells to the extracellular field where they act on target cells. Here we study chameleon mutants, lacking a functional disp1(con/disp1).
Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology. Sep, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20497119
The current way to increase efficacy of cancer therapy is the use of molecular recognition of aberrantly expressed gene products for selective treatment. However, only a fraction of the patients have tumors with a particular molecular target. Radionuclide imaging of molecular targets might help to stratify patient for cancer treatment. Affibody molecules are scaffold proteins, which can be selected for high affinity recognition of proteinaceous molecular targets. The capacity to re-fold under physiological conditions allows labeling of Affibody molecules in a broad range of pH and temperatures with preserved binding properties. Peptide synthesis or introduction of a unique cysteine enables site-specific labeling of Affibody molecules, resulting in uniform conjugates with well-defined pharmacological characteristics. The small size (7 kDa) of Affibody molecules provides rapid extravasation, rapid tumor penetration, and rapid clearance of unbound tracer from healthy organs and tissues. In combination with sub-nanomolar affinity, this results in high contrast in vivo imaging a few hours after injection. Excellent targeting has been demonstrated in pre-clinical studies with HER2-targeting Affibody molecules labeled with (99m)Tc and (111)In for single photon computed tomography (SPECT), and (18)F, (64)Cu, (124)I and (68)Ga for positron emission tomography (PET). Pilot clinical data confirm the high potential of Affibody molecules.
Mycologia. May-Jun, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20524583
Ustilago maydis is a basidiomycete fungus that exhibits a yeast-like and a filamentous form. Growth of the fungus in the host leads to additional morphological transitions. The different morphologies are characterized by distinct nuclear movements. Dynein and alpha-tubulin are required for nuclear movements and for cell morphogenesis of the yeast-like form. Lis1 is a microtubule plus-end tracking protein (+TIPs) conserved in eukaryotes and required for nuclear migration and spindle positioning. Defects in nuclear migration result in altered cell fate and aberrant development in metazoans, slow growth in fungi and disease in humans (e.g. lissencephaly). Here we investigate the role of the human LIS1 homolog in U. maydis and demonstrate that it is essential for cell viability, not previously seen in other fungi. With a conditional null mutation we show that lis1 is necessary for nuclear migration in the yeast-like cell and during the dimorphic transition. Studies of asynchronous exponentially growing cells and time-lapse microscopy uncovered novel functions of lis1: It is necessary for cell morphogenesis, positioning of the septum and cell wall integrity. lis1-depleted cells exhibit altered axes of growth and loss of cell polarity leading to grossly aberrant cells with clusters of nuclei and morphologically altered buds devoid of nuclei. Altered septum positioning and cell wall deposition contribute to the aberrant morphology. lis1-depleted cells lyse, indicative of altered cell wall properties or composition. We also demonstrate, with indirect immunofluorescence to visualize tubulin, that lis1 is necessary for the normal organization of the microtubule cytoskeleton: lis1-depleted cells contain more and longer microtubules that can form coils perpendicular to the long axis of the cell. We propose that lis1 controls microtubule dynamics and thus the regulated delivery of vesicles to growth sites and other cell domains that govern nuclear movements.
Targeting of HER2-expressing Tumors Using 111In-ABY-025, a Second-generation Affibody Molecule with a Fundamentally Reengineered Scaffold
Journal of Nuclear Medicine : Official Publication, Society of Nuclear Medicine. Jul, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20554729
Overexpression of the human epidermal growth factor receptor type 2 (HER2) in breast carcinomas predicts response to trastuzumab therapy. Affibody molecules based on a nonimmunoglobulin scaffold have demonstrated a high potential for in vivo molecular imaging of HER2-expressing tumors. The reengineering of the molecular scaffold has led to a second generation of optimized Affibody molecules that have a surface distinctly different from the parental protein domain from staphylococcal protein A. Compared with the parental molecule, the new tracer showed a further increased melting point, stability, and overall hydrophilicity and was more amenable to chemical peptide synthesis. The goal of this study was to assess the potential effects of this extensive reengineering on HER2 targeting, using ABY-025, a DOTA-conjugated variant of the novel tracer.
Kit Formulation for 99mTc-labeling of Recombinant Anti-HER2 Affibody Molecules with a C-terminally Engineered Cysteine
Nuclear Medicine and Biology. Jul, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20610158
Molecular imaging of human epidermal growth factor receptor type 2 (HER2)-expression in malignant tumors provides potentially important information for patient management. Affibody molecules have shown to be suitable tracers for imaging applications using single photon emission computed tomography or positron emission tomography. Results from an earlier evaluation of the application of site-specific (99m)Tc-labeling of the Affibody molecule, Z(HER2:2395)-C, were favorable.
HEHEHE-tagged Affibody Molecule May Be Purified by IMAC, is Conveniently Labeled with [⁹⁹(m)Tc(CO)₃](+), and Shows Improved Biodistribution with Reduced Hepatic Radioactivity Accumulation
Bioconjugate Chemistry. Nov, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20964447
Affibody molecules are a class of small (ca. 7 kDa) robust scaffold proteins suitable for radionuclide molecular imaging of therapeutic targets in vivo. A hexahistidine tag at the N-terminus streamlines development of new imaging probes by enabling facile purification using immobilized metal ion affinity chromatography (IMAC), as well as convenient [⁹⁹(m)Tc(CO)₃](+)-labeling. However, previous studies in mice have demonstrated that Affibody molecules labeled by this method yield higher liver accumulation of radioactivity, compared to the same tracer lacking the hexahistidine tag and labeled by an alternative method. Two variants of the HER2-binding Affibody molecule Z(HER)₂(:)₃₄₂ were made in an attempt to create a tagged tracer that could be purified by immobilized metal affinity chromatography, yet would not result in anomalous hepatic radioactivity accumulation following labeling with [⁹⁹(m)Tc(CO)₃](+). In one construct, the hexahistidine tag was moved to the C-terminus. In the other construct, every second histidine residue in the hexahistidine tag was replaced by the more hydrophilic glutamate, resulting in a HEHEHE-tag. Both variants, denoted Z(HER)₂(:)₃₄₂-H₆ and (HE)₃-Z(HER)₂(:)₃₄₂, respectively, could be efficiently purified using IMAC and stably labeled with [⁹⁹(m)Tc(CO)₃](+) and were subsequently compared with the parental H₆-Z(HER)₂(:)₃₄₂ having an N-terminal hexahistidine tag. All three variants were demonstrated to specifically bind to HER2-expressing cells in vitro. The hepatic accumulation of radioactivity in a murine model was 2-fold lower with [⁹⁹(m)Tc(CO)₃](+)-Z(HER2:342)-H₆ compared to [⁹⁹(m)Tc(CO)₃](+)-H₆-Z(HER)₂(:)₃₄₂, and more than 10-fold lower with [⁹⁹(m)Tc(CO)₃](+)-(HE)₃-Z(HER)₂(:)₃₄₂. These differences translated into appreciably superior tumor-to-liver ratio for [⁹⁹(m)Tc(CO)₃](+)-(HE)₃-Z(HER)₂(:)₃₄₂ compared to the alternative conjugates. This information might be useful for development of other scaffold-based molecular imaging probes.
Visualization of Gli Activity in Craniofacial Tissues of Hedgehog-pathway Reporter Transgenic Zebrafish
PloS One. 2010 | Pubmed ID: 21203590
The Hedgehog (Hh)-signaling pathway plays a crucial role in the development and maintenance of multiple vertebrate and invertebrate organ systems. Gli transcription factors are regulated by Hh-signaling and act as downstream effectors of the pathway to activate Hh-target genes. Understanding the requirements for Hh-signaling in organisms can be gained by assessing Gli activity in a spatial and temporal fashion.
Evaluation of the Radiocobalt-labeled [MMA-DOTA-Cys61]-Z HER2:2395(-Cys) Affibody Molecule for Targeting of HER2-expressing Tumors
Molecular Imaging and Biology : MIB : the Official Publication of the Academy of Molecular Imaging. Jan-Feb, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 19557480
Imaging using positron emission tomography (PET) in the field of nuclear medicine is becoming increasingly important. The aim of this study was to develop a method for labeling of affibody molecules with radiocobalt for PET applications.
Journal of Lipid Research. Jul, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21576600
Niemann-Pick disease, type C (NP-C), often associated with Niemann-Pick disease, type C1 (NPC1) mutations, is a cholesterol-storage disorder characterized by cellular lipid accumulation, neurodegeneration, and reduced steroid production. To study NPC1 function in vivo, we cloned zebrafish npc1 and analyzed its gene expression and activity by reducing Npc1 protein with morpholino (MO)-oligonucleotides. Filipin staining in npc1-morphant cells was punctate, suggesting abnormal accumulation of cholesterol. Developmentally, reducing Npc1 did not disrupt early cell fate or survival; however, early morphogenetic movements were delayed, and the actin cytoskeleton network was abnormal. MO-induced defects were rescued with ectopic expression of mouse NPC1, demonstrating functional gene conservation, and by treatments with steroids pregnenolone or dexamethasone, suggesting that reduced steroidogenesis contributed to abnormal cell movements. Cell death was found in anterior tissues of npc1 morphants at later stages, consistent with findings in mammals. Collectively, these studies show that npc1 is required early for proper cell movement and cholesterol localization and later for cell survival.
Molecular Biology of the Cell. Feb, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21169561
Pax3 plays a role in regulating Hes1 and Neurog2 activity and thereby stem cell maintenance and neurogenesis. A mechanism for Pax3 regulation of these two opposing events, during caudal neural tube development, is examined in this study. Pax3 acetylation on C-terminal lysine residues K437 and K475 may be critical for proper regulation of Hes1 and Neurog2. Removal of these lysine residues increased Hes1 but decreased Neurog2 promoter activity. SIRT1 deacetylase may be a key component in regulating Pax3 acetylation. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays showed that SIRT1 is associated with Hes1 and Neurog2 promoters during murine embryonic caudal neural tube development at E9.5, but not at E12.5. Overexpression of SIRT1 decreased Pax3 acetylation, Neurog2 and Brn3a positive staining. Conversely, siRNA-mediated silencing of SIRT1 increased these factors. These studies suggest that Pax3 acetylation results in decreased Hes1 and increased Neurog2 activity, thereby promoting sensory neuron differentiation.