Accumulating evidence underscores the importance of ligand-receptor dynamics in shaping cellular signaling. In the nervous system, growth factor-activated Trk receptor trafficking serves to convey biochemical signaling that underlies fundamental neural functions. Focus has been placed on axonal trafficking but little is known about growth factor-activated Trk dynamics in the neuronal soma, particularly at the molecular scale, due in large part to technical hurdles in observing individual growth factor-Trk complexes for long periods of time inside live cells. Quantum dots (QDs) are intensely fluorescent nanoparticles that have been used to study the dynamics of ligand-receptor complexes at the plasma membrane but the value of QDs for investigating ligand-receptor intracellular dynamics has not been well exploited. The current study establishes that QD conjugated brain-derived neurotrophic factor (QD-BDNF) binds to TrkB receptors with high specificity, activates TrkB downstream signaling, and allows single QD tracking capability for long recording durations deep within the soma of live neurons. QD-BDNF complexes undergo internalization, recycling, and intracellular trafficking in the neuronal soma. These trafficking events exhibit little time-synchrony and diverse heterogeneity in underlying dynamics that include phases of sustained rapid motor transport without pause as well as immobility of surprisingly long-lasting duration (several minutes). Moreover, the trajectories formed by dynamic individual BDNF complexes show no apparent end destination; BDNF complexes can be found meandering over long distances of several microns throughout the expanse of the neuronal soma in a circuitous fashion. The complex, heterogeneous nature of neuronal soma trafficking dynamics contrasts the reported linear nature of axonal transport data and calls for models that surpass our generally limited notions of nuclear-directed transport in the soma. QD-ligand probes are poised to provide understanding of how the molecular mechanisms underlying intracellular ligand-receptor trafficking shape cell signaling under conditions of both healthy and dysfunctional neurological disease models.
Background. We investigated the effects of sulforaphane (SF), the main active isothiocyanate in cruciferous vegetables, on arachidonic acid (AA) metabolism in the kidney and its effect on arterial blood pressure, using spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) as models. Methods. Rats were treated for 8 weeks with either drinking water alone (control) or SF (20 or 40?mg/kg) added to drinking water. Mean arterial pressure (MAP) was measured at 7-day intervals throughout the study. At the end of treatment rats were euthanized, and kidneys were harvested to prepare microsomes and measure enzymes involved in regulation of vasoactive metabolites: CYP4A, the key enzyme in the formation of 20-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid, and the soluble epoxide hydrolase, which is responsible for the degradation of the vasodilator metabolites such as epoxyeicosatetraenoic acids. Effect of SF on kidney expression of CYP4A was investigated by immunoblotting. Results. We found that treatment with SF leads to significant reductions in both, the expression and activity of renal CYP4A isozymes, as well as the activity of soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH). Consistent with these data, we have found that treatment with SF resisted the progressive rise in MAP in the developing SHR in a dose-dependent manner. Conclusion. This is the first demonstration that SF modulates the metabolism of AA by both P450 enzymes and sEH in SHR rats. This may represent a novel mechanism by which SF protects SHR rats against the progressive rise in blood pressure.
The intracellular messenger cGMP has been suggested to play a role in taste signal transduction in both vertebrates and invertebrates. In the present study, we have examined the role of the Drosophila atypical soluble guanylyl cyclases (sGCs), Gyc-89Da and Gyc-89Db, in larval and adult gustatory preference behaviors. We showed that in larvae, sucrose attraction requires Gyc-89Db and caffeine avoidance requires Gyc-89Da. In adult flies, sucrose attraction is unaffected by mutations in either gene whereas avoidance of low concentrations of caffeine is eliminated by loss of either gene. Similar defective behaviors were observed when cGMP increases were prevented by the expression of a cGMP-specific phosphodiesterase. We also showed that both genes were expressed in gustatory receptor neurons (GRNs) in larval and adult gustatory organs, primarily in a non-overlapping pattern, with the exception of a small group of cells in the adult labellum. In addition, in adults, several cells co-expressed the bitter taste receptor, Gr66a, with either Gyc-89Da or Gyc-89Db. We also showed that the electrophysiological responses of a GRN to caffeine were significantly reduced in flies mutant for the atypical sGCs, suggesting that at least part of the adult behavioral defects were due to a reduced ability to detect caffeine.
The three Drosophila atypical soluble guanylyl cyclases, Gyc-89Da, Gyc-89Db, and Gyc-88E, have been proposed to act as oxygen detectors mediating behavioral responses to hypoxia. Drosophila larvae mutant in any of these subunits were defective in their hypoxia escape response-a rapid cessation of feeding and withdrawal from their food. This response required cGMP and the cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channel, cng, but did not appear to be dependent on either of the cGMP-dependent protein kinases, dg1 and dg2. Specific activation of the Gyc-89Da neurons using channel rhodopsin showed that activation of these neurons was sufficient to trigger the escape behavior. The hypoxia escape response was restored by reintroducing either Gyc-89Da or Gyc-89Db into either Gyc-89Da or Gyc-89Db neurons in either mutation. This suggests that neurons that co-express both Gyc-89Da and Gyc-89Db subunits are primarily responsible for activating this behavior. These include sensory neurons that innervate the terminal sensory cones. Although the roles of Gyc-89Da and Gyc-89Db in the hypoxia escape behavior appeared to be identical, we also showed that changes in larval crawling behavior in response to either hypoxia or hyperoxia differed in their requirements for these two atypical sGCs, with responses to 15% oxygen requiring Gyc-89Da and responses to 19 and 25% requiring Gyc-89Db. For this behavior, the identity of the neurons appeared to be critical in determining the ability to respond appropriately.
Pde1c is a calcium/calmodulin-regulated, dual-specificity cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase. We have used a transposon insertion line to investigate the physiological function of Pde1c in Drosophila melanogaster and to show that the insertion leads to male sterility and male mating behavior defects that include reduced copulation rates. Sterility appears to be primarily due to elimination of sperm from the female reproductive system. The male mating behavior defects were fully rescued by expression of exogenous Pde1c under the control of either a Pde1c or a pan-neuronal promoter, whereas the sterility could be only partially rescued by expression of exogenous Pde1c under the control of these promoters. We also show that Pde1c has a male-specific expression pattern in the CNS with an increased number of Pde1c-expressing neurons in the abdominal ganglion in males.
Hypertension leads to structural and functional changes at baroreceptor synapses in the medial nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS), but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unknown. Our previous studies show that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is abundantly expressed by rat nodose ganglion (NG) neurons, including baroreceptor afferents and their central terminals in the medial NTS. We hypothesized that hypertension leads to upregulation of BDNF expression in NG neurons. To test this hypothesis, we used two mechanistically distinct models of hypertension, the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) and the deoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA)-salt rat. Young adult SHRs, whose blood pressure was significantly elevated compared with age-matched Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) control rats, exhibited dramatic upregulation of BDNF mRNA and protein in the NG. BDNF transcripts from exon 4, known to be regulated by activity, and exon 9 (protein-coding region) showed the largest increases. Electrical stimulation of dispersed NG neurons with patterns that mimic baroreceptor activity during blood pressure elevations led to increases in BDNF mRNA that were also mediated through promoter 4. The increase in BDNF content of the NG in vivo was associated with a significant increase in the percentage of BDNF-immunoreactive NG neurons. Moreover, upregulation of BDNF in cell bodies of NG neurons was accompanied by a significant increase in BDNF in the NTS region, the primary central target of NG afferents. A dramatic increase in BDNF in the NG was also detected in DOCA-salt hypertensive rats. Together, our study identifies BDNF as a candidate molecular mediator of activity-dependent changes at baroafferent synapses during hypertension.
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