Mrj encodes a DnaJ-related co-chaperone that is essential for murine placental development. (1/5789)

We have identified a novel gene in a gene trap screen that encodes a protein related to the DnaJ co-chaperone in E. coli. The gene, named Mrj (mammalian relative of DnaJ) was expressed throughout development in both the embryo and placenta. Within the placenta, expression was particularly high in trophoblast giant cells but moderate levels were also observed in trophoblast cells of the chorion at embryonic day 8.5, and later in the labyrinth which arises from the attachment of the chorion to the allantois (a process called chorioallantoic fusion). Insertion of the ROSAbetageo gene trap vector into the Mrj gene created a null allele. Homozygous Mrj mutants died at mid-gestation due to a failure of chorioallantoic fusion at embryonic day 8.5, which precluded formation of the mature placenta. At embryonic day 8.5, the chorion in mutants was morphologically normal and expressed the cell adhesion molecule beta4 integrin that is known to be required for chorioallantoic fusion. However, expression of the chorionic trophoblast-specific transcription factor genes Err2 and Gcm1 was significantly reduced. The mutants showed no abnormal phenotypes in other trophoblast cell types or in the embryo proper. This study indicates a previously unsuspected role for chaperone proteins in placental development and represents the first genetic analysis of DnaJ-related protein function in higher eukaryotes. Based on a survey of EST databases representing different mouse tissues and embryonic stages, there are 40 or more DnaJ-related genes in mammals. In addition to Mrj, at least two of these genes are also expressed in the developing mouse placenta. The specificity of the developmental defect in Mrj mutants suggests that each of these genes may have unique tissue and cellular activities.  (+info)

Regulation of body length and male tail ray pattern formation of Caenorhabditis elegans by a member of TGF-beta family. (2/5789)

We have identified a new member of the TGF-beta superfamily, CET-1, from Caenorhabditis elegans, which is expressed in the ventral nerve cord and other neurons. cet-1 null mutants have shortened bodies and male tail abnormal phenotype resembling sma mutants, suggesting cet-1, sma-2, sma-3 and sma-4 share a common pathway. Overexpression experiments demonstrated that cet-1 function requires wild-type sma genes. Interestingly, CET-1 appears to affect body length in a dose-dependent manner. Heterozygotes for cet-1 displayed body lengths ranging between null mutant and wild type, and overexpression of CET-1 in wild-type worms elongated body length close to lon mutants. In male sensory ray patterning, lack of cet-1 function results in ray fusions. Epistasis analysis revealed that mab-21 lies downstream and is negatively regulated by the cet-1/sma pathway in the male tail. Our results show that cet-1 controls diverse biological processes during C. elegans development probably through different target genes.  (+info)

Identification of APC2, a homologue of the adenomatous polyposis coli tumour suppressor. (3/5789)

The adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) tumour-suppressor protein controls the Wnt signalling pathway by forming a complex with glycogen synthase kinase 3beta (GSK-3beta), axin/conductin and betacatenin. Complex formation induces the rapid degradation of betacatenin. In colon carcinoma cells, loss of APC leads to the accumulation of betacatenin in the nucleus, where it binds to and activates the Tcf-4 transcription factor (reviewed in [1] [2]). Here, we report the identification and genomic structure of APC homologues. Mammalian APC2, which closely resembles APC in overall domain structure, was functionally analyzed and shown to contain two SAMP domains, both of which are required for binding to conductin. Like APC, APC2 regulates the formation of active betacatenin-Tcf complexes, as demonstrated using transient transcriptional activation assays in APC -/- colon carcinoma cells. Human APC2 maps to chromosome 19p13.3. APC and APC2 may therefore have comparable functions in development and cancer.  (+info)

Deletion analysis of the Drosophila Inscuteable protein reveals domains for cortical localization and asymmetric localization. (4/5789)

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)

Differential expression of the mRNA for the vanilloid receptor subtype 1 in cells of the adult rat dorsal root and nodose ganglia and its downregulation by axotomy. (5/5789)

Sensitivity to the pungent vanilloid, capsaicin, defines a subpopulation of primary sensory neurons that are mainly polymodal nociceptors. The recently cloned vanilloid receptor subtype 1 (VR1) is activated by capsaicin and noxious heat. Using combined in situ hybridization and histochemical methods, we have characterized in sensory ganglia the expression of VR1 mRNA. We show that this receptor is almost exclusively expressed by neurofilament-negative small- and medium-sized dorsal root ganglion cells. Within this population, VR1 mRNA is detected at widely varying levels in both the NGF receptor (trkA)-positive, peptide-producing cells that elicit neurogenic inflammation and the functionally less characterized glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor-responsive cells that bind lectin Griffonia simplicifolia isolectin B4 (IB4). Cells without detectable levels of VR1 mRNA are found in both classes. A subpopulation of the IB4-binding cells that produce somatostatin has relatively low levels of VR1 mRNA. A previously uncharacterized population of very small cells that express the receptor tyrosine kinase (RET) and that do not label for trkA or IB4-binding has the highest relative levels of VR1 mRNA. The majority of small visceral sensory neurons of the nodose ganglion also express VR1 mRNA, in conjunction with the BDNF receptor trkB but not trkA. Axotomy results in the downregulation of VR1 mRNA in dorsal root ganglion cells. Our data emphasize the heterogeneity of VR1 mRNA expression by subclasses of small sensory neurons, and this may result in their differential sensitivity to chemical and noxious heat stimuli. Our results also indicate that peripherally derived trophic factors may regulate levels of VR1 mRNA.  (+info)

Reproducibility studies with 11C-DTBZ, a monoamine vesicular transporter inhibitor in healthy human subjects. (6/5789)

The reproducibility of (+/-)-alpha-[11C] dihydrotetrabenazine (DTBZ) measures in PET was studied in 10 healthy human subjects, aged 22-76 y. METHODS: The scan-to-scan variation of several measures used in PET data analysis was determined, including the radioactivity ratio (target-to-reference), plasma-input Logan total distribution volume (DV), plasma-input Logan Bmax/Kd and tissue-input Logan Bmax/Kd values. RESULTS: The radioactivity ratios, plasma-input Bmax/Kd and tissue-input Bmax/Kd all have higher reliability than plasma-input total DV values. In addition, measures using the occipital cortex as the reference region have higher reliability than the same measures using the cerebellum as the reference region. CONCLUSION: Our results show that DTBZ is a reliable PET tracer that provides reproducible in vivo measurement of striatal vesicular monoamine transporter density. In the selection of reference regions for DTBZ PET data analysis, caution must be exercised in circumstances when DTBZ binding in the occipital cortex or the cerebellum may be altered.  (+info)

Interaction of NE-dlg/SAP102, a neuronal and endocrine tissue-specific membrane-associated guanylate kinase protein, with calmodulin and PSD-95/SAP90. A possible regulatory role in molecular clustering at synaptic sites. (7/5789)

NE-dlg/SAP102, a neuronal and endocrine tissue-specific membrane-associated guanylate kinase family protein, is known to bind to C-terminal ends of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor 2B (NR2B) through its PDZ (PSD-95/Dlg/ZO-1) domains. NE-dlg/SAP102 and NR2B colocalize at synaptic sites in cultured rat hippocampal neurons, and their expressions increase in parallel with the onset of synaptogenesis. We have identified that NE-dlg/SAP102 interacts with calmodulin in a Ca2+-dependent manner. The binding site for calmodulin has been determined to lie at the putative basic alpha-helix region located around the src homology 3 (SH3) domain of NE-dlg/SAP102. Using a surface plasmon resonance measurement system, we detected specific binding of recombinant NE-dlg/SAP102 to the immobilized calmodulin with a Kd value of 44 nM. However, the binding of Ca2+/calmodulin to NE-dlg/SAP102 did not modulate the interaction between PDZ domains of NE-dlg/SAP102 and the C-terminal end of rat NR2B. We have also identified that the region near the calmodulin binding site of NE-dlg/SAP102 interacts with the GUK-like domain of PSD-95/SAP90 by two-hybrid screening. Pull down assay revealed that NE-dlg/SAP102 can interact with PSD-95/SAP90 in the presence of both Ca2+ and calmodulin. These findings suggest that the Ca2+/calmodulin modulates interaction of neuronal membrane-associated guanylate kinase proteins and regulates clustering of neurotransmitter receptors at central synapses.  (+info)

Actions of a pair of identified cerebral-buccal interneurons (CBI-8/9) in Aplysia that contain the peptide myomodulin. (8/5789)

A combination of biocytin back-fills of the cerebral-buccal connectives and immunocytochemistry of the cerebral ganglion demonstrated that of the 13 bilateral pairs of cerebral-buccal interneurons in the cerebral ganglion, a subpopulation of 3 are immunopositive for the peptide myomodulin. The present paper describes the properties of two of these cells, which we have termed CBI-8 and CBI-9. CBI-8 and CBI-9 were found to be dye coupled and electrically coupled. The cells have virtually identical properties, and consequently we consider them to be "twin" pairs and refer to them as CBI-8/9. CBI-8/9 were identified by electrophysiological criteria and then labeled with dye. Labeled cells were found to be immunopositive for myomodulin, and, using high pressure liquid chromatography, the cells were shown to contain authentic myomodulin. CBI-8/9 were found to receive synaptic input after mechanical stimulation of the tentacles. They also received excitatory input from C-PR, a neuron involved in neck lengthening, and received a slow inhibitory input from CC5, a cell involved in neck shortening, suggesting that CBI-8/9 may be active during forward movements of the head or buccal mass. Firing of CBI-8 or CBI-9 resulted in the activation of a relatively small number of buccal neurons as evidenced by extracellular recordings from buccal nerves. Firing also produced local movements of the buccal mass, in particular a strong contraction of the I7 muscle, which mediates radula opening. CBI-8/9 were found to produce a slow depolarization and rhythmic activity of B48, the motor neuron for the I7 muscle. The data provide continuing evidence that the small population of cerebral buccal interneurons is composed of neurons that are highly diverse in their functional roles. CBI-8/9 may function as a type of premotor neuron, or perhaps as a peptidergic modulatory neuron, the functions of which are dependent on the coactivity of other neurons.  (+info)