In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (8)

Articles by Jennifer Kersigo in JoVE

Other articles by Jennifer Kersigo on PubMed

Neurod1 Regulates Survival and Formation of Connections in Mouse Ear and Brain

Cell and Tissue Research. Jul, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20512592

The developing sensory neurons of the mammalian ear require two sequentially activated bHLH genes, Neurog1 and Neurod1, for their development. Neurons never develop in Neurog1 null mice, and most neurons die in Neurod1 null mutants, a gene upregulated by Neurog1. The surviving neurons of Neurod1 null mice are incompletely characterized in postnatal mice because of the early lethality of mutants and the possible compromising effect of the absence of insulin on peripheral neuropathies. Using Tg(Pax2-cre), we have generated a conditional deletion of floxed Neurod1 for the ear; this mouse is viable and allows us to investigate ear innervation defects of Neurod1 absence only in the ear. We have compared the defects in embryos and show an ear phenotype in conditional Neurod1 null mice comparable with the systemic Neurod1 null mouse. By studying postnatal animals, we show that Neurod1 not only is necessary for the survival of most spiral and many vestibular neurons, but is also essential for a segregated central projection of vestibular and cochlear afferents. In the absence of Neurod1 in the ear, vestibular and cochlear afferents enter the cochlear nucleus as a single mixed nerve. Neurites coming from vestibular and cochlear sensory epithelia project centrally to both cochlear and vestibular nuclei, in addition to their designated target projections. The peripheral innervation of the remaining sensory neurons is disorganized and shows collaterals of single neurons projecting to multiple endorgans, displaying no tonotopic organization of the organ of Corti or the cochlear nucleus. Pending elucidation of the molecular details for these Neurod1 functions, these data demonstrate that Neurod1 is not only a major factor for the survival of neurons but is crucial for the development of normal ear connections, both in the ear and in the central nervous system.

Neurod1 Suppresses Hair Cell Differentiation in Ear Ganglia and Regulates Hair Cell Subtype Development in the Cochlea

PloS One. 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20661473

At least five bHLH genes regulate cell fate determination and differentiation of sensory neurons, hair cells and supporting cells in the mammalian inner ear. Cross-regulation of Atoh1 and Neurog1 results in hair cell changes in Neurog1 null mice although the nature and mechanism of the cross-regulation has not yet been determined. Neurod1, regulated by both Neurog1 and Atoh1, could be the mediator of this cross-regulation.

Conditional Deletion of Atoh1 Using Pax2-Cre Results in Viable Mice Without Differentiated Cochlear Hair Cells That Have Lost Most of the Organ of Corti

Hearing Research. May, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21146598

Atonal homolog1 (Atoh1, formerly Math1) is a crucial bHLH transcription factor for inner ear hair cell differentiation. Its absence in embryos results in complete absence of mature hair cells at birth and its misexpression can generate extra hair cells. Thus Atoh1 may be both necessary and sufficient for hair cell differentiation in the ear. Atoh1 null mice die at birth and have some undifferentiated cells in sensory epithelia carrying Atoh1 markers. The fate of these undifferentiated cells in neonates is unknown due to lethality. We use Tg(Pax2-Cre) to delete floxed Atoh1 in the inner ear. This generates viable conditional knockout (CKO) mice for studying the postnatal development of the inner ear without differentiated hair cells. Using in situ hybridization we find that Tg(Pax2-Cre) recombines the floxed Atoh1 prior to detectable Atoh1 expression. Only the posterior canal crista has Atoh1 expressing hair cells due to incomplete recombination. Most of the organ of Corti cells are lost in CKO mice via late embryonic cell death. Marker genes indicate that the organ of Corti is reduced to two rows of cells wedged between flanking markers of the organ of Corti (Fgf10 and Bmp4). These two rows of cells (instead of five rows of supporting cells) are positive for Prox1 in neonates. By postnatal day 14 (P14), the remaining cells of the organ of Corti are transformed into a flat epithelium with no distinction of any specific cell type. However, some of the remaining organ of Corti cells express Myo7a at late postnatal stages and are innervated by remaining afferent fibers. Initial growth of afferents and efferents in embryos shows no difference between control mice and Tg(Pax2-Cre)::Atoh1 CKO mice. Most afferents and efferents are lost in the CKO mutant before birth, except for the apex and few fibers in the base. Afferents focus their projections on patches that express the prosensory specifying gene, Sox2. This pattern of innervation by sensory neurons is maintained at least until P14, but fibers target the few Myo7a positive cells found in later stages.

The Role of Sensory Organs and the Forebrain for the Development of the Craniofacial Shape As Revealed by Foxg1-cre-mediated MicroRNA Loss

Genesis (New York, N.Y. : 2000). Apr, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21225654

Cranial development is critically influenced by the relative growth of distinct elements. Previous studies have shown that the transcription factor Foxg1 is essential the for development of the telencephalon, olfactory epithelium, parts of the eye and the ear. Here we investigate the effects of a Foxg1-cre-mediated conditional deletion of Dicer1 and microRNA (miRNA) depletion on mouse embryos. We report the rapid and complete loss of the telencephalon and cerebellum as well as the severe reduction in the ears and loss of the anterior half of the eyes. These losses result in unexpectedly limited malformations of anterodorsal aspects of the skull. We investigated the progressive disappearance of these initially developing structures and found a specific miRNA of nervous tissue, miR-124, to disappear before reduction in growth of the specific neurosensory areas. Correlated with the absence of miR-124, these areas showed numerous apoptotic cells that stained positive for anticleaved caspase 3 and the phosphatidylserine stain PSVue® before the near or complete loss of those brain and sensory areas (forebrain, cerebellum, anterior retina, and ear). We conclude that Foxg1-cre-mediated conditional deletion of Dicer1 leads to the absence of functional miRNA followed by complete or nearly complete loss of neurons. Embryonic neurosensory development therefore depends critically on miRNA. Our data further suggest that loss of a given neuronal compartment can be triggered using early deletion of Dicer1 and thus provides a novel means to genetically remove specific neurosensory areas to investigate loss of their function on morphology (this study) or signal processing within the brain.

Dissecting the Molecular Basis of Organ of Corti Development: Where Are We Now?

Hearing Research. Jun, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21256948

This review summarizes recent progress in our understanding of the molecular basis of cochlear duct growth, specification of the organ of Corti, and differentiation of the different types of hair cells. Studies of multiple mutations suggest that developing hair cells are involved in stretching the organ of Corti through convergent extension movements. However, Atoh1 null mutants have only undifferentiated and dying organ of Corti precursors but show a near normal extension of the cochlear duct, implying that organ of Corti precursor cells can equally drive this process. Some factors influence cochlear duct growth by regulating the cell cycle and proliferation. Shortened cell cycle and premature cell cycle exit can lead to a shorter organ of Corti with multiple rows of hair cells (e.g., Foxg1 null mice). Other genes affect the initial formation of a cochlear duct with or without affecting the organ of Corti. Such observations are consistent with evolutionary data that suggest some developmental uncoupling of cochlear duct from organ of Corti formation. Positioning the organ of Corti requires multiple genes expressed in the organ of Corti and the flanking region. Several candidate factors have emerged but how they cooperate to specify the organ of Corti and the topology of hair cells remains unclear. Atoh1 is required for differentiation of all hair cells, but regulation of inner versus outer hair cell differentiation is still unidentified. In summary, the emerging molecular complexity of organ of Corti development demands further study before a rational approach towards regeneration of unique types of hair cells in specific positions is possible.

The Molecular Basis of Making Spiral Ganglion Neurons and Connecting Them to Hair Cells of the Organ of Corti

Hearing Research. Aug, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21414397

The bipolar spiral ganglion neurons apparently delaminate from the growing cochlear duct and migrate to Rosenthal's canal. They project radial fibers to innervate the organ of Corti (type I neurons to inner hair cells, type II neurons to outer hair cells) and also project tonotopically to the cochlear nuclei. The early differentiation of these neurons requires transcription factors to regulate migration, pathfinding and survival. Neurog1 null mice lack formation of neurons. Neurod1 null mice show massive neuronal death combined with aberrant central and peripheral projections. Prox1 protein is necessary for proper type II neuron process navigation, which is also affected by the neurotrophins Bdnf and Ntf3. Neurotrophin null mutants show specific patterns of neuronal loss along the cochlea but remaining neurons compensate by expanding their target area. All neurotrophin mutants have reduced radial fiber growth proportional to the degree of loss of neurotrophin alleles. This suggests a simple dose response effect of neurotrophin concentration. Keeping overall concentration constant, but misexpressing one neurotrophin under regulatory control of another one results in exuberant fiber growth not only of vestibular fibers to the cochlea but also of spiral ganglion neurons to outer hair cells suggesting different effectiveness of neurotrophins for spiral ganglion neurite growth. Finally, we report here for the first time that losing all neurons in double null mutants affects extension of the cochlear duct and leads to formation of extra rows of outer hair cells in the apex, possibly by disrupting the interaction of the spiral ganglion with the elongating cochlea.

A Novel Atoh1 "self-terminating" Mouse Model Reveals the Necessity of Proper Atoh1 Level and Duration for Hair Cell Differentiation and Viability

PloS One. 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22279587

Atonal homolog1 (Atoh1) is a bHLH transcription factor essential for inner ear hair cell differentiation. Targeted expression of Atoh1 at various stages in development can result in hair cell differentiation in the ear. However, the level and duration of Atoh1 expression required for proper hair cell differentiation and maintenance remain unknown. We generated an Atoh1 conditional knockout (CKO) mouse line using Tg(Atoh1-cre), in which the cre expression is driven by an Atoh1 enhancer element that is regulated by Atoh1 protein to "self-terminate" its expression. The mutant mice show transient, limited expression of Atoh1 in all hair cells in the ear. In the organ of Corti, reduction and delayed deletion of Atoh1 result in progressive loss of almost all the inner hair cells and the majority of the outer hair cells within three weeks after birth. The remaining cells express hair cell marker Myo7a and attract nerve fibers, but do not differentiate normal stereocilia bundles. Some Myo7a-positive cells persist in the cochlea into adult stages in the position of outer hair cells, flanked by a single row of pillar cells and two to three rows of disorganized Deiters cells. Gene expression analyses of Atoh1, Barhl1 and Pou4f3, genes required for survival and maturation of hair cells, reveal earlier and higher expression levels in the inner compared to the outer hair cells. Our data show that Atoh1 is crucial for hair cell mechanotransduction development, viability, and maintenance and also suggest that Atoh1 expression level and duration may play a role in inner vs. outer hair cell development. These genetically engineered Atoh1 CKO mice provide a novel model for establishing critical conditions needed to regenerate viable and functional hair cells with Atoh1 therapy.

Expression of Neurog1 Instead of Atoh1 Can Partially Rescue Organ of Corti Cell Survival

PloS One. 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22292060

In the mammalian inner ear neurosensory cell fate depends on three closely related transcription factors, Atoh1 for hair cells and Neurog1 and Neurod1 for neurons. We have previously shown that neuronal cell fate can be altered towards hair cell fate by eliminating Neurod1 mediated repression of Atoh1 expression in neurons. To test whether a similar plasticity is present in hair cell fate commitment, we have generated a knockin (KI) mouse line (Atoh1(KINeurog1)) in which Atoh1 is replaced by Neurog1. Expression of Neurog1 under Atoh1 promoter control alters the cellular gene expression pattern, differentiation and survival of hair cell precursors in both heterozygous (Atoh1(+/KINeurog1)) and homozygous (Atoh1(KINeurog1/KINeurog1)) KI mice. Homozygous KI mice develop patches of organ of Corti precursor cells that express Neurog1, Neurod1, several prosensory genes and neurotrophins. In addition, these patches of cells receive afferent and efferent processes. Some cells among these patches form multiple microvilli but no stereocilia. Importantly, Neurog1 expressing mutants differ from Atoh1 null mutants, as they have intermittent formation of organ of Corti-like patches, opposed to a complete 'flat epithelium' in the absence of Atoh1. In heterozygous KI mice co-expression of Atoh1 and Neurog1 results in change in fate and patterning of some hair cells and supporting cells in addition to the abnormal hair cell polarity in the later stages of development. This differs from haploinsufficiency of Atoh1 (Pax2cre; Atoh1(f/+)), indicating the effect of Neurog1 expression in developing hair cells. Our data suggest that Atoh1(KINeurog1) can provide some degree of functional support for survival of organ of Corti cells. In contrast to the previously demonstrated fate plasticity of neurons to differentiate as hair cells, hair cell precursors can be maintained for a limited time by Neurog1 but do not transdifferentiate as neurons.

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