In JoVE (1)
Articles by Michael F Wells in JoVE
Modelling Zika Virus Infection of the Developing Human Brain In Vitro Using Stem Cell Derived Cerebral Organoids Max R Salick*1, Michael F Wells*2,3, Kevin Eggan2,3, Ajamete Kaykas1 1Department of Neuroscience, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, 2Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, 3Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology and Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Harvard University This protocol describes a technique used to model Zika virus infection of the developing human brain. Using wildtype or engineered stem cell lines, researchers may use this technique to uncover the various mechanisms or treatments that may affect early brain infection and resulting microcephaly in Zika virus-infected embryos.
Other articles by Michael F Wells on PubMed
Shank3 Mutant Mice Display Autistic-like Behaviours and Striatal Dysfunction Nature. Apr, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21423165 Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) comprise a range of disorders that share a core of neurobehavioural deficits characterized by widespread abnormalities in social interactions, deficits in communication as well as restricted interests and repetitive behaviours. The neurological basis and circuitry mechanisms underlying these abnormal behaviours are poorly understood. SHANK3 is a postsynaptic protein, whose disruption at the genetic level is thought to be responsible for the development of 22q13 deletion syndrome (Phelan-McDermid syndrome) and other non-syndromic ASDs. Here we show that mice with Shank3 gene deletions exhibit self-injurious repetitive grooming and deficits in social interaction. Cellular, electrophysiological and biochemical analyses uncovered defects at striatal synapses and cortico-striatal circuits in Shank3 mutant mice. Our findings demonstrate a critical role for SHANK3 in the normal development of neuronal connectivity and establish causality between a disruption in the Shank3 gene and the genesis of autistic-like behaviours in mice.
Thalamic Reticular Impairment Underlies Attention Deficit in Ptchd1(Y/-) Mice Nature. Apr, 2016 | Pubmed ID: 27007844 Developmental disabilities, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), intellectual disability (ID), and autism spectrum disorders (ASD), affect one in six children in the USA. Recently, gene mutations in patched domain containing 1 (PTCHD1) have been found in ~1% of patients with ID and ASD. Individuals with PTCHD1 deletion show symptoms of ADHD, sleep disruption, hypotonia, aggression, ASD, and ID. Although PTCHD1 is probably critical for normal development, the connection between its deletion and the ensuing behavioural defects is poorly understood. Here we report that during early post-natal development, mouse Ptchd1 is selectively expressed in the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN), a group of GABAergic neurons that regulate thalamocortical transmission, sleep rhythms, and attention. Ptchd1 deletion attenuates TRN activity through mechanisms involving small conductance calcium-dependent potassium currents (SK). TRN-restricted deletion of Ptchd1 leads to attention deficits and hyperactivity, both of which are rescued by pharmacological augmentation of SK channel activity. Global Ptchd1 deletion recapitulates learning impairment, hyper-aggression, and motor defects, all of which are insensitive to SK pharmacological targeting and not found in the TRN-restricted deletion mouse. This study maps clinically relevant behavioural phenotypes onto TRN dysfunction in a human disease model, while also identifying molecular and circuit targets for intervention.
Genetic Ablation of AXL Does Not Protect Human Neural Progenitor Cells and Cerebral Organoids from Zika Virus Infection Cell Stem Cell. Dec, 2016 | Pubmed ID: 27912091 Zika virus (ZIKV) can cross the placental barrier, resulting in infection of the fetal brain and neurological defects including microcephaly. The cellular tropism of ZIKV and the identity of attachment factors used by the virus to gain access to key cell types involved in pathogenesis are under intense investigation. Initial studies suggested that ZIKV preferentially targets neural progenitor cells (NPCs), providing an explanation for the developmental phenotypes observed in some pregnancies. The AXL protein has been nominated as a key attachment factor for ZIKV in several cell types including NPCs. However, here we show that genetic ablation of AXL has no effect on ZIKV entry or ZIKV-mediated cell death in human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived NPCs or cerebral organoids. These findings call into question the utility of AXL inhibitors for preventing birth defects after infection and suggest that further studies of viral attachment factors in NPCs are needed.