Dysregulated neurodevelopment with altered structural and functional connectivity is believed to underlie many neuropsychiatric disorders, and 'a disease of synapses' is the major hypothesis for the biological basis of schizophrenia. Although this hypothesis has gained indirect support from human post-mortem brain analyses and genetic studies, little is known about the pathophysiology of synapses in patient neurons and how susceptibility genes for mental disorders could lead to synaptic deficits in humans. Genetics of most psychiatric disorders are extremely complex due to multiple susceptibility variants with low penetrance and variable phenotypes. Rare, multiply affected, large families in which a single genetic locus is probably responsible for conferring susceptibility have proven invaluable for the study of complex disorders. Here we generated induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from four members of a family in which a frameshift mutation of disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) co-segregated with major psychiatric disorders and we further produced different isogenic iPS cell lines via gene editing. We showed that mutant DISC1 causes synaptic vesicle release deficits in iPS-cell-derived forebrain neurons. Mutant DISC1 depletes wild-type DISC1 protein and, furthermore, dysregulates expression of many genes related to synapses and psychiatric disorders in human forebrain neurons. Our study reveals that a psychiatric disorder relevant mutation causes synapse deficits and transcriptional dysregulation in human neurons and our findings provide new insight into the molecular and synaptic etiopathology of psychiatric disorders.
Myofibroblasts secrete matrix during chronic injury, and their ablation ameliorates fibrosis. Development of new biomarkers and therapies for CKD will be aided by a detailed analysis of myofibroblast gene expression during the early stages of fibrosis. However, dissociating myofibroblasts from fibrotic kidney is challenging. We therefore adapted translational ribosome affinity purification (TRAP) to isolate and profile mRNA from myofibroblasts and their precursors during kidney fibrosis. We generated and characterized a transgenic mouse expressing an enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP)-tagged L10a ribosomal subunit protein under control of the collagen1?1 promoter. We developed a one-step procedure for isolation of polysomal RNA from collagen1?1-eGFPL10a mice subject to unilateral ureteral obstruction and analyzed and validated the resulting transcriptional profiles. Pathway analysis revealed strong gene signatures for cell proliferation, migration, and shape change. Numerous novel genes and candidate biomarkers were upregulated during fibrosis, specifically in myofibroblasts, and we validated these results by quantitative PCR, in situ, and Western blot analysis. This study provides a comprehensive analysis of early myofibroblast gene expression during kidney fibrosis and introduces a new technique for cell-specific polysomal mRNA isolation in kidney injury models that is suited for RNA-sequencing technologies.
Nuclear factor, erythroid 2-like 2 (Nrf2) is a master transcription factor for cellular defense against endogenous and exogenous stresses by regulating expression of many antioxidant and detoxification genes. Here, we show that Nrf2 acts as a key pluripotency gene and a regulator of proteasome activity in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Nrf2 expression is highly enriched in hESCs and dramatically decreases upon differentiation. Nrf2 inhibition impairs both the self-renewal ability of hESCs and re-establishment of pluripotency during cellular reprogramming. Nrf2 activation can delay differentiation. During early hESC differentiation, Nrf2 closely colocalizes with OCT4 and NANOG. As an underlying mechanism, our data show that Nrf2 regulates proteasome activity in hESCs partially through proteasome maturation protein (POMP), a proteasome chaperone, which in turn controls the proliferation of self-renewing hESCs, three germ layer differentiation and cellular reprogramming. Even modest proteasome inhibition skews the balance of early differentiation toward mesendoderm at the expense of an ectodermal fate by decreasing the protein level of cyclin D1 and delaying the degradation of OCT4 and NANOG proteins. Taken together, our findings suggest a new potential link between environmental stress and stemness with Nrf2 and the proteasome coordinately positioned as key mediators.
Whether kidney proximal tubule harbors a scattered population of epithelial stem cells is a major unsolved question. Lineage-tracing studies, histologic characterization, and ex vivo functional analysis results conflict. To address this controversy, we analyzed the lineage and clonal behavior of fully differentiated proximal tubule epithelial cells after injury. A CreER(T2) cassette was knocked into the sodium-dependent inorganic phosphate transporter SLC34a1 locus, which is expressed only in differentiated proximal tubule. Tamoxifen-dependent recombination was absolutely specific to proximal tubule. Clonal analysis after injury and repair showed that the bulk of labeled cells proliferate after injury with increased clone size after severe compared with mild injury. Injury to labeled proximal tubule epithelia induced expression of CD24, CD133, vimentin, and kidney-injury molecule-1, markers of putative epithelial stem cells in the human kidney. Similar results were observed in cultured proximal tubules, in which labeled clones proliferated and expressed dedifferentiation and injury markers. When mice with completely labeled kidneys were subject to injury and repair there was no dilution of fate marker despite substantial proliferation, indicating that unlabeled progenitors do not contribute to kidney repair. During nephrogenesis and early kidney growth, single proximal tubule clones expanded, suggesting that differentiated cells also contribute to tubule elongation. These findings provide no evidence for an intratubular stem-cell population, but rather indicate that terminally differentiated epithelia reexpress apparent stem-cell markers during injury-induced dedifferentiation and repair.
Identifying genes that modify the age at onset (AAO) of Alzheimer disease and targeting them pharmacologically represent a potential treatment strategy. In this exploratory study, we sequenced the complete genomes of six individuals with familial Alzheimer disease due to the autosomal dominant mutation p.Glu280Ala in PSEN1 (MIM# 104311; NM_000021.3:c.839A>C). The disease and its AAO are highly heritable, motivating our search for genetic variants that modulate AAO. The median AAO of dementia in carriers of the mutant allele is 49 years. Extreme phenotypic outliers for AAO in this genetically isolated population with limited environmental variance are likely to harbor onset modifying genetic variants. A narrow distribution of AAO in this kindred suggests large effect sizes of genetic determinants of AAO in these outliers. Identity by descent (IBD) analysis and a combination of bioinformatics filters have suggested several candidate variants for AAO modifiers. Future work and replication studies on these variants may provide mechanistic insights into the etiopathology of Alzheimer disease.
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