(1/25163) FGF8 induces formation of an ectopic isthmic organizer and isthmocerebellar development via a repressive effect on Otx2 expression.

Beads containing recombinant FGF8 (FGF8-beads) were implanted in the prospective caudal diencephalon or midbrain of chick embryos at stages 9-12. This induced the neuroepithelium rostral and caudal to the FGF8-bead to form two ectopic, mirror-image midbrains. Furthermore, cells in direct contact with the bead formed an outgrowth that protruded laterally from the neural tube. Tissue within such lateral outgrowths developed proximally into isthmic nuclei and distally into a cerebellum-like structure. These morphogenetic effects were apparently due to FGF8-mediated changes in gene expression in the vicinity of the bead, including a repressive effect on Otx2 and an inductive effect on En1, Fgf8 and Wnt1 expression. The ectopic Fgf8 and Wnt1 expression domains formed nearly complete concentric rings around the FGF8-bead, with the Wnt1 ring outermost. These observations suggest that FGF8 induces the formation of a ring-like ectopic signaling center (organizer) in the lateral wall of the brain, similar to the one that normally encircles the neural tube at the isthmic constriction, which is located at the boundary between the prospective midbrain and hindbrain. This ectopic isthmic organizer apparently sends long-range patterning signals both rostrally and caudally, resulting in the development of the two ectopic midbrains. Interestingly, our data suggest that these inductive signals spread readily in a caudal direction, but are inhibited from spreading rostrally across diencephalic neuromere boundaries. These results provide insights into the mechanism by which FGF8 induces an ectopic organizer and suggest that a negative feedback loop between Fgf8 and Otx2 plays a key role in patterning the midbrain and anterior hindbrain.  (+info)

(2/25163) Deletion analysis of the Drosophila Inscuteable protein reveals domains for cortical localization and asymmetric localization.

The Drosophila Inscuteable protein acts as a key regulator of asymmetric cell division during the development of the nervous system [1] [2]. In neuroblasts, Inscuteable localizes into an apical cortical crescent during late interphase and most of mitosis. During mitosis, Inscuteable is required for the correct apical-basal orientation of the mitotic spindle and for the asymmetric segregation of the proteins Numb [3] [4] [5], Prospero [5] [6] [7] and Miranda [8] [9] into the basal daughter cell. When Inscuteable is ectopically expressed in epidermal cells, which normally orient their mitotic spindle parallel to the embryo surface, these cells reorient their mitotic spindle and divide perpendicularly to the surface [1]. Like the Inscuteable protein, the inscuteable RNA is asymmetrically localized [10]. We show here that inscuteable RNA localization is not required for Inscuteable protein localization. We found that a central 364 amino acid domain - the Inscuteable asymmetry domain - was necessary and sufficient for Inscuteable localization and function. Within this domain, a separate 100 amino acid region was required for asymmetric localization along the cortex, whereas a 158 amino acid region directed localization to the cell cortex. The same 158 amino acid fragment could localize asymmetrically when coexpressed with the full-length protein, however, and could bind to Inscuteable in vitro, suggesting that this domain may be involved in the self-association of Inscuteable in vivo.  (+info)

(3/25163) p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase can be involved in transforming growth factor beta superfamily signal transduction in Drosophila wing morphogenesis.

p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38) has been extensively studied as a stress-responsive kinase, but its role in development remains unknown. The fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, has two p38 genes, D-p38a and D-p38b. To elucidate the developmental function of the Drosophila p38's, we used various genetic and pharmacological manipulations to interfere with their functions: expression of a dominant-negative form of D-p38b, expression of antisense D-p38b RNA, reduction of the D-p38 gene dosage, and treatment with the p38 inhibitor SB203580. Expression of a dominant-negative D-p38b in the wing imaginal disc caused a decapentaplegic (dpp)-like phenotype and enhanced the phenotype of a dpp mutant. Dpp is a secretory ligand belonging to the transforming growth factor beta superfamily which triggers various morphogenetic processes through interaction with the receptor Thick veins (Tkv). Inhibition of D-p38b function also caused the suppression of the wing phenotype induced by constitutively active Tkv (TkvCA). Mosaic analysis revealed that D-p38b regulates the Tkv-dependent transcription of the optomotor-blind (omb) gene in non-Dpp-producing cells, indicating that the site of D-p38b action is downstream of Tkv. Furthermore, forced expression of TkvCA induced an increase in the phosphorylated active form(s) of D-p38(s). These results demonstrate that p38, in addition to its role as a transducer of emergency stress signaling, may function to modulate Dpp signaling.  (+info)

(4/25163) Conserved domains and lack of evidence for polyglutamine length polymorphism in the chicken homolog of the Machado-Joseph disease gene product ataxin-3.

Ataxin-3 is a protein of unknown function which is mutated in Machado-Joseph disease by expansion of a genetically unstable CAG repeat encoding polyglutamine. By analysis of chicken ataxin-3 we were able to identify four conserved domains of the protein and detected widespread expression in chicken tissues. In the first such analysis in a non-primate species we found that in contrast to primates, the chicken CAG repeat is short and genetically stable.  (+info)

(5/25163) A processive single-headed motor: kinesin superfamily protein KIF1A.

A single kinesin molecule can move "processively" along a microtubule for more than 1 micrometer before detaching from it. The prevailing explanation for this processive movement is the "walking model," which envisions that each of two motor domains (heads) of the kinesin molecule binds coordinately to the microtubule. This implies that each kinesin molecule must have two heads to "walk" and that a single-headed kinesin could not move processively. Here, a motor-domain construct of KIF1A, a single-headed kinesin superfamily protein, was shown to move processively along the microtubule for more than 1 micrometer. The movement along the microtubules was stochastic and fitted a biased Brownian-movement model.  (+info)

(6/25163) A concise promoter region of the heart fatty acid-binding protein gene dictates tissue-appropriate expression.

The heart fatty acid-binding protein (HFABP) is a member of a family of binding proteins with distinct tissue distributions and diverse roles in fatty acid metabolism, trafficking, and signaling. Other members of this family have been shown to possess concise promoter regions that direct appropriate tissue-specific expression. The basis for the specific expression of the HFABP has not been previously evaluated, and the mechanisms governing expression of metabolic genes in the heart are not completely understood. We used transient and permanent transfections in ventricular myocytes, skeletal myocytes, and nonmyocytic cells to map regulatory elements in the HFABP promoter, and audited results in transgenic mice. Appropriate tissue-specific expression in cell culture and in transgenic mice was dictated by 1.2 kb of the 5'-flanking sequence of FABP3, the HFABP gene. Comparison of orthologous murine and human genomic sequences demonstrated multiple regions of near-identity within this promoter region, including a CArG-like element close to the TATA box. Binding and transactivation studies demonstrated that this element can function as an atypical myocyte enhancer-binding factor 2 site. Interactions with adjacent sites are likely to be necessary for fully appropriate, tissue-specific, developmental and metabolic regulation.  (+info)

(7/25163) Induction of serotonin transporter by hypoxia in pulmonary vascular smooth muscle cells. Relationship with the mitogenic action of serotonin.

-The increased delivery of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) to the lung aggravates the development of hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension in rats, possibly through stimulation of the proliferation of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PA-SMCs). In cultured rat PA-SMCs, 5-HT (10(-8) to 10(-6) mol/L) induced DNA synthesis and potentiated the mitogenic effect of platelet-derived growth factor-BB (10 ng/mL). This effect was dependent on the 5-HT transporter (5-HTT), since it was prevented by the 5-HTT inhibitors fluoxetine (10(-6) mol/L) and paroxetine (10(-7) mol/L), but it was unaltered by ketanserin (10(-6) mol/L), a 5-HT2A receptor antagonist. In PA-SMCs exposed to hypoxia, the levels of 5-HTT mRNA (measured by competitive reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction) increased by 240% within 2 hours, followed by a 3-fold increase in the uptake of [3H]5-HT at 24 hours. Cotransfection of the cells with a construct of human 5-HTT promoter-luciferase gene reporter and of pCMV-beta-galactosidase gene allowed the demonstration that exposure of cells to hypoxia produced a 5.5-fold increase in luciferase activity, with no change in beta-galactosidase activity. The increased expression of 5-HTT in hypoxic cells was associated with a greater mitogenic response to 5-HT (10(-8) to 10(-6) mol/L) in the absence as well as in the presence of platelet-derived growth factor-BB. 5-HTT expression assessed by quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and in situ hybridization in the lungs was found to predominate in the media of pulmonary artery, in which a marked increase was noted in rats that had been exposed to hypoxia for 15 days. These data show that in vitro and in vivo exposure to hypoxia induces, via a transcriptional mechanism, 5-HTT expression in PA-SMCs, and that this effect contributes to the stimulatory action of 5-HT on PA-SMC proliferation. In vivo expression of 5-HTT by PA-SMC may play a key role in serotonin-mediated pulmonary vascular remodeling.  (+info)

(8/25163) Functional consequences of mutations in the human alpha1A calcium channel subunit linked to familial hemiplegic migraine.

Mutations in alpha1A, the pore-forming subunit of P/Q-type calcium channels, are linked to several human diseases, including familial hemiplegic migraine (FHM). We introduced the four missense mutations linked to FHM into human alpha1A-2 subunits and investigated their functional consequences after expression in human embryonic kidney 293 cells. By combining single-channel and whole-cell patch-clamp recordings, we show that all four mutations affect both the biophysical properties and the density of functional channels. Mutation R192Q in the S4 segment of domain I increased the density of functional P/Q-type channels and their open probability. Mutation T666M in the pore loop of domain II decreased both the density of functional channels and their unitary conductance (from 20 to 11 pS). Mutations V714A and I1815L in the S6 segments of domains II and IV shifted the voltage range of activation toward more negative voltages, increased both the open probability and the rate of recovery from inactivation, and decreased the density of functional channels. Mutation V714A decreased the single-channel conductance to 16 pS. Strikingly, the reduction in single-channel conductance induced by mutations T666M and V714A was not observed in some patches or periods of activity, suggesting that the abnormal channel may switch on and off, perhaps depending on some unknown factor. Our data show that the FHM mutations can lead to both gain- and loss-of-function of human P/Q-type calcium channels.  (+info)