Regulation of the neuron-glia cell-fate switch is a critical step in the development of the CNS. Previously, we demonstrated that Lhx2 is a necessary and sufficient regulator of this process in the mouse hippocampal primordium, such that Lhx2 overexpression promotes neurogenesis and suppresses gliogenesis, whereas loss of Lhx2 has the opposite effect. We tested a series of transcription factors for their ability to mimic Lhx2 overexpression and suppress baseline gliogenesis, and also to compensate for loss of Lhx2 and suppress the resulting enhanced level of gliogenesis in the hippocampus. Here, we demonstrate a novel function of Dmrt5/Dmrta2 as a neurogenic factor in the developing hippocampus. We show that Dmrt5, as well as known neurogenic factors Neurog2 and Pax6, can each not only mimic Lhx2 overexpression, but also can compensate for loss of Lhx2 to different extents. We further uncover a reciprocal regulatory relationship between Dmrt5 and Lhx2, such that each can compensate for loss of the other. Dmrt5 and Lhx2 also have opposing regulatory control on Pax6 and Neurog2, indicating a complex bidirectionally regulated network that controls the neuron-glia cell-fate switch.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT We identify Dmrt5 as a novel regulator of the neuron-glia cell-fate switch in the developing hippocampus. We demonstrate Dmrt5 to be neurogenic, and reciprocally regulated by Lhx2: loss of either factor promotes gliogenesis; overexpression of either factor suppresses gliogenesis and promotes neurogenesis; each can substitute for loss of the other. Furthermore, each factor has opposing effects on established neurogenic genes Neurog2 and Pax6 Dmrt5 is known to suppress their expression, and we show that Lhx2 is required to maintain it. Our study reveals a complex regulatory network with bidirectional control of a fundamental feature of CNS development, the control of the production of neurons versus astroglia in the developing hippocampus.Finally, we confirm that Lhx2 binds a highly conserved putative enhancer of Dmrt5, suggesting an evolutionarily conserved regulatory relationship between these factors. Our findings uncover a complex network that involves Lhx2, Dmrt5, Neurog2, and Pax6, and that ensures the appropriate amount and timing of neurogenesis and gliogenesis in the developing hippocampus.
Neuropathological and genetic findings suggest that the presynaptic protein α-synuclein (aSyn) is involved in the pathogenesis of synucleinopathy disorders, including Parkinson's disease (PD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and multiple system atrophy. Evidence suggests that the self-assembly of aSyn conformers bound to phospholipid membranes in an aggregation-prone state plays a key role in aSyn neurotoxicity. Accordingly, we hypothesized that protein binding partners of lipid-associated aSyn could inhibit the formation of toxic aSyn oligomers at membrane surfaces. To address this hypothesis, we characterized the protein endosulfine-alpha (ENSA), previously shown to interact selectively with membrane-bound aSyn, in terms of its effects on the membrane-induced aggregation and neurotoxicity of two familial aSyn mutants, A30P and G51D. We found that wild-type ENSA, but not the non-aSyn-binding S109E variant, interfered with membrane-induced aSyn self-assembly, aSyn-mediated vesicle disruption and aSyn neurotoxicity. Immunoblotting analyses revealed that ENSA was down-regulated in the brains of synucleinopathy patients versus non-diseased individuals. Collectively, these results suggest that ENSA can alleviate neurotoxic effects of membrane-bound aSyn via an apparent chaperone-like activity at the membrane surface, and a decrease in ENSA expression may contribute to aSyn neuropathology in synucleinopathy disorders. More generally, our findings suggest that promoting interactions between lipid-bound, amyloidogenic proteins and their binding partners is a viable strategy to alleviate cytotoxicity in a range of protein misfolding disorders.
Cytoplasmic polyadenylation element binding protein 2 (CPEB2) is an RNA-binding protein and translational regulator. To understand the physiological function of CPEB2, we generated CPEB2 knock-out (KO) mice and found that most died within 3 d after birth. CPEB2 is highly expressed in the brainstem, which controls vital functions, such as breathing. Whole-body plethysmography revealed that KO neonates had aberrant respiration with frequent apnea. Nevertheless, the morphology and function of the respiratory rhythm generator and diaphragm neuromuscular junctions appeared normal. We found that upregulated translation of choline acetyltransferase in the CPEB2 KO dorsal motor nucleus of vagus resulted in hyperactivation of parasympathetic signaling-induced bronchoconstriction, as evidenced by increased pulmonary acetylcholine and phosphorylated myosin light chain 2 in bronchial smooth muscles. Specific deletion of CPEB2 in cholinergic neurons sufficiently caused increased apnea in neonatal pups and airway hyper-reactivity in adult mice. Moreover, inhalation of an anticholinergic bronchodilator reduced apnea episodes in global and cholinergic CPEB2-KO mice. Together, the elevated airway constriction induced by cholinergic transmission in KO neonates may account for the respiratory defect and mortality. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: This study first generated and characterized cpeb2 gene-deficient mice. CPEB2-knock-out (KO) mice are born alive but most die within 3 d after birth showing no overt defects in anatomy. We found that the KO neonates showed severe apnea and altered respiratory pattern. Such respiratory defects could be recapitulated in mice with pan-neuron-specific or cholinergic neuron-specific ablation of the cpeb2 gene. Further investigation revealed that cholinergic transmission in the KO dorsal motor nucleus of vagus was overactivated because KO mice lack CPEB2-suppressed translation of the rate-limiting enzyme in the production of acetylcholine (i.e., choline acetyltransferase). Consequently, increased parasympathetic signaling leads to hyperactivated bronchoconstriction and abnormal respiration in the KO neonates.