In JoVE (1)
Other Publications (8)
- Human Mutation
- The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
- The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
- Brain : a Journal of Neurology
- Molecular and Cellular Neurosciences
- Methods (San Diego, Calif.)
- British Journal of Pharmacology
- G3 (Bethesda, Md.)
Articles by Asim A. Beg in JoVE
A Rapid and Facile Pipeline for Generating Genomic Point Mutants in C. elegans Using CRISPR/Cas9 Ribonucleoproteins Harriet Prior*1, Lauren MacConnachie*1, Jose L. Martinez1, Georgina C.B. Nicholl1, Asim A. Beg1 1Department of Pharmacology, University of Michigan Here, we present a method to engineer the genome of C. elegans using CRISPR-Cas9 ribonucleoproteins and homology dependent repair templates.
Other articles by Asim A. Beg on PubMed
A Loss-of-function Variant in the Human Histidyl-tRNA Synthetase (HARS) Gene is Neurotoxic in Vivo Human Mutation. | Pubmed ID: 22930593 Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (ARSs) are ubiquitously expressed enzymes responsible for ligating amino acids to cognate tRNA molecules. Mutations in four genes encoding an ARS have been implicated in inherited peripheral neuropathy with an axonal pathology, suggesting that all ARS genes are relevant candidates for disease in patients with related phenotypes. Here, we present results from a mutation screen of the histidyl-tRNA synthetase (HARS) gene in a large cohort of patients with peripheral neuropathy. These efforts revealed a rare missense variant (c.410G>A/p.Arg137Gln) that resides at a highly conserved amino acid, represents a loss-of-function allele when evaluated in yeast complementation assays, and is toxic to neurons when expressed in a worm model. In addition to the patient with peripheral neuropathy, p.Arg137Gln HARS was detected in three individuals by genome-wide exome sequencing. These findings suggest that HARS is the fifth ARS locus associated with axonal peripheral neuropathy. Implications for identifying ARS alleles in human populations and assessing them for a role in neurodegenerative phenotypes are discussed.
α2-chimaerin is Required for Eph Receptor-class-specific Spinal Motor Axon Guidance and Coordinate Activation of Antagonistic Muscles The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. | Pubmed ID: 25673830 Axonal guidance involves extrinsic molecular cues that bind growth cone receptors and signal to the cytoskeleton through divergent pathways. Some signaling intermediates are deployed downstream of molecularly distinct axon guidance receptor families, but the scope of this overlap is unclear, as is the impact of embryonic axon guidance fidelity on adult nervous system function. Here, we demonstrate that the Rho-GTPase-activating protein α2-chimaerin is specifically required for EphA and not EphB receptor signaling in mouse and chick spinal motor axons. Reflecting this specificity, the loss of α2-chimaerin function disrupts the limb trajectory of extensor-muscle-innervating motor axons the guidance of which depends on EphA signaling. These embryonic defects affect coordinated contraction of antagonistic flexor-extensor muscles in the adult, indicating that accurate embryonic motor axon guidance is critical for optimal neuromuscular function. Together, our observations provide the first functional evidence of an Eph receptor-class-specific intracellular signaling protein that is required for appropriate neuromuscular connectivity.
Spillover Transmission is Mediated by the Excitatory GABA Receptor LGC-35 in C. Elegans The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. | Pubmed ID: 25673867 Under most circumstances, GABA activates chloride-selective channels and thereby inhibits neuronal activity. Here, we identify a GABA receptor in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans that conducts cations and is therefore excitatory. Expression in Xenopus oocytes demonstrates that LGC-35 is a homopentameric cation-selective receptor of the cys-loop family exclusively activated by GABA. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that LGC-35 evolved from GABA-A receptors, but the pore-forming domain contains novel molecular determinants that confer cation selectivity. LGC-35 is expressed in muscles and directly mediates sphincter muscle contraction in the defecation cycle in hermaphrodites, and spicule eversion during mating in the male. In the locomotory circuit, GABA release directly activates chloride channels on the muscle to cause muscle relaxation. However, GABA spillover at these synapses activates LGC-35 on acetylcholine motor neurons, which in turn cause muscles to contract, presumably to drive wave propagation along the body. These studies demonstrate that both direct and indirect excitatory GABA signaling plays important roles in regulating neuronal circuit function and behavior in C. elegans.
Loss of Function Mutations in HARS Cause a Spectrum of Inherited Peripheral Neuropathies Brain : a Journal of Neurology. | Pubmed ID: 26072516 Inherited peripheral neuropathies are a genetically heterogeneous group of disorders characterized by distal muscle weakness and sensory loss. Mutations in genes encoding aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases have been implicated in peripheral neuropathies, suggesting that these tRNA charging enzymes are uniquely important for the peripheral nerve. Recently, a mutation in histidyl-tRNA synthetase (HARS) was identified in a single patient with a late-onset, sensory-predominant peripheral neuropathy; however, the genetic evidence was lacking, making the significance of the finding unclear. Here, we present clinical, genetic, and functional data that implicate HARS mutations in inherited peripheral neuropathies. The associated phenotypic spectrum is broad and encompasses axonal and demyelinating motor and sensory neuropathies, including four young patients presenting with pure motor axonal neuropathy. Genome-wide linkage studies in combination with whole-exome and conventional sequencing revealed four distinct and previously unreported heterozygous HARS mutations segregating with autosomal dominant peripheral neuropathy in four unrelated families (p.Thr132Ile, p.Pro134His, p.Asp175Glu and p.Asp364Tyr). All mutations cause a loss of function in yeast complementation assays, and p.Asp364Tyr is dominantly neurotoxic in a Caenorhabditis elegans model. This study demonstrates the role of HARS mutations in peripheral neuropathy and expands the genetic and clinical spectrum of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase-related human disease.
The Rac-GAP Alpha2-chimaerin Regulates Hippocampal Dendrite and Spine Morphogenesis Molecular and Cellular Neurosciences. | Pubmed ID: 27297944 Dendritic spines are fine neuronal processes where spatially restricted input can induce activity-dependent changes in one spine, while leaving neighboring spines unmodified. Morphological spine plasticity is critical for synaptic transmission and is thought to underlie processes like learning and memory. Significantly, defects in dendritic spine stability and morphology are common pathogenic features found in several neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. The remodeling of spines relies on proteins that modulate the underlying cytoskeleton, which is primarily composed of filamentous (F)-actin. The Rho-GTPase Rac1 is a major regulator of F-actin and is essential for the development and plasticity of dendrites and spines. However, the key molecules and mechanisms that regulate Rac1-dependent pathways at spines and synapses are not well understood. We have identified the Rac1-GTPase activating protein, α2-chimaerin, as a critical negative regulator of Rac1 in hippocampal neurons. The loss of α2-chimaerin significantly increases the levels of active Rac1 and induces the formation of aberrant polymorphic dendritic spines. Further, disruption of α2-chimaerin signaling simplifies dendritic arbor complexity and increases the presence of dendritic spines that appear poly-innervated. Our data suggests that α2-chimaerin serves as a "brake" to constrain Rac1-dependent signaling to ensure that the mature morphology of spines is maintained in response to network activity.
Predicting the Pathogenicity of Aminoacyl-tRNA Synthetase Mutations Methods (San Diego, Calif.). | Pubmed ID: 27876679 Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (ARSs) are ubiquitously expressed, essential enzymes responsible for charging tRNA with cognate amino acids-the first step in protein synthesis. ARSs are required for protein translation in the cytoplasm and mitochondria of all cells. Surprisingly, mutations in 28 of the 37 nuclear-encoded human ARS genes have been linked to a variety of recessive and dominant tissue-specific disorders. Current data indicate that impaired enzyme function is a robust predictor of the pathogenicity of ARS mutations. However, experimental model systems that distinguish between pathogenic and non-pathogenic ARS variants are required for implicating newly identified ARS mutations in disease. Here, we outline strategies to assist in predicting the pathogenicity of ARS variants and urge cautious evaluation of genetic and functional data prior to linking an ARS mutation to a human disease phenotype.
Pharmacological Characterization of the Excitatory 'Cys-loop' GABA Receptor Family in Caenorhabditis Elegans British Journal of Pharmacology. | Pubmed ID: 28146602 Ionotropic GABA receptors are evolutionarily conserved proteins that mediate cellular and network inhibition in both vertebrates and invertebrates. A unique class of excitatory GABA receptors has been identified in several nematode species. Despite well-characterized functions in Caenorhabditis elegans, little is known about the pharmacology of the excitatory GABA receptors EXP-1 and LGC-35. Using a panel of compounds that differentially activate and modulate ionotropic GABA receptors, we investigated the agonist binding site and allosteric modulation of EXP-1 and LGC-35.
Highly Efficient, Rapid and Co-CRISPR-Independent Genome Editing in G3 (Bethesda, Md.). | Pubmed ID: 28893845 We describe a rapid and highly efficient method to generate point mutations in using direct injection of CRISPR-Cas9 ribonucleoproteins. This versatile method does not require sensitized genetic backgrounds or co-CRISPR selection-based methods, and represents a single strategy that can be used for creating genomic point mutations, regardless of location. As proof of principle, we show that knock-in mutants more faithfully report variant-associated phenotypes as compared to transgenic overexpression. Data for nine knock-in mutants across five genes are presented that demonstrate high editing efficiencies (60%), a reduced screening workload (24 F1 progeny), and a rapid timescale (4-5 d). This optimized method simplifies genome engineering and is readily adaptable to other model systems.