LIM homeodomain transcription factors are critical regulators of early development in multiple systems but have yet to be examined for a role in circuit formation. The LIM homeobox gene Lhx2 is expressed in cortical progenitors during development and also in the superficial layers of the neocortex in maturity. However, analysis of Lhx2 function at later stages of cortical development has been hampered by severe phenotypes associated with early loss of function. We identified a particular Cre-recombinase line that acts in the cortical primordium after its specification is complete, permitting an analysis of Lhx2 function in neocortical lamination, regionalization, and circuit formation by selective elimination of Lhx2 in the dorsal telencephalon. We report a profound disruption of cortical neuroanatomical and molecular features upon loss of Lhx2 in the cortex from embryonic day 11.5. A unique feature of cortical circuitry, the somatosensory barrels, is undetectable, and molecular patterning of cortical regions appears disrupted. Surprisingly, thalamocortical afferents innervate the mutant cortex with apparently normal regional specificity. Electrophysiological recordings reveal a loss of responses evoked by stimulation of individual whiskers, but responses to simultaneous stimulation of multiple whiskers were present, suggesting that thalamic afferents are unable to organize the neurocircuitry for barrel formation because of a cortex-specific requirement of Lhx2. We report that Lhx2 is required for the expression of transcription factor paired box gene 6, axon guidance molecule Ephrin A5, and the receptor NMDA receptor 1. These genes may mediate Lhx2 function in the formation of specialized neurocircuitry necessary for neocortical function.
The sequential production of neurons and astrocytes from neuroepithelial precursors is a fundamental feature of central nervous system development. We report that LIM-homeodomain (LIM-HD) transcription factor Lhx2 regulates this transition in the developing hippocampus. Disrupting Lhx2 function in the embryonic hippocampus by in utero electroporation and in organotypic slice culture caused the premature production of astrocytes at stages when neurons are normally generated. Lhx2 function is therefore necessary to suppress astrogliogenesis during the neurogenic period. Furthermore, Lhx2 overexpression was sufficient to suppress astrogliogenesis and prolong the neurogenic period. We provide evidence that Lhx2 overexpression can counteract the instructive astrogliogenic effect of Notch activation. Lhx2 overexpression was also able to override and suppress the activation of the GFAP promoter by Nfia, a Notch-regulated transcription factor that is required for gliogenesis. Thus, Lhx2 appears to act as a "brake" on Notch/Nfia-mediated astrogliogenesis. This critical role for Lhx2 is spatially restricted to the hippocampus, because loss of Lhx2 function in the neocortex did not result in premature astrogliogenesis at the expense of neurogenesis. Our results therefore place Lhx2 as a central regulator of the neuron-glia cell fate decision in the hippocampus and reveal a striking regional specificity of this fundamental function within the dorsal telencephalon.
Insulin is the key regulator of glucose homeostasis in mammals, and glucose-stimulated insulin biosynthesis is essential for maintaining glucose levels in a narrow range in mammals. Glucose specifically promotes the translation of insulin in pancreatic ?-islet, and the untranslated regions of insulin mRNA play a role in such regulation. Specific factors in the ?-islets bind to the insulin 5 UTR and regulate its translation. In the present study we identify protein-disulfide isomerase (PDI) as a key regulator of glucose-stimulated insulin biosynthesis. We show that both in vitro and in vivo PDI can specifically associate with the 5 UTR of insulin mRNA. Immunodepletion of PDI from the islet extract results in loss of glucose-stimulated translation indicating a critical role for PDI in insulin biosynthesis. Similarly, transient overexpression of PDI resulted in specific translation activation by glucose. We show that the RNA binding activity of PDI is mediated through PABP. PDI catalyzes the reduction of the PABP disulfide bond resulting in specific binding of PABP to the insulin 5 UTR. We also show that glucose stimulation of the islets results in activation of a specific kinase that can phosphorylate PDI. These findings identify PDI and PABP as important players in glucose homeostasis.
Insulin is a secreted peptide that controls glucose homeostasis in mammals, and insulin biosynthesis is regulated by glucose at many levels. Rodent insulin is encoded by two non-allelic genes. We have identified a novel splice variant of the insulin2 gene in mice that constitutes about 75% of total insulin2 mRNA. The alternate splicing does not alter the ORF but reduces the 5UTR by 12 bases. A reporter gene containing the novel short 5UTR, is more efficiently expressed in cells, suggesting that alternative splicing of insulin mRNA in mice could result in an additional level of regulation in insulin biosynthesis.
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