128 research outputs found

    Genetic mosaic dissection of candidate genes in mice using mosaic analysis with double markers

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    Mosaic analysis with double markers (MADM) technology enables the generation of genetic mosaic tissue in mice. MADM enables concomitant fluorescent cell labeling and introduction of a mutation of a gene of interest with single-cell resolution. This protocol highlights major steps for the generation of genetic mosaic tissue and the isolation and processing of respective tissues for downstream histological analysis. For complete details on the use and execution of this protocol, please refer to Contreras et al. (2021)

    Mechanisms of radial glia progenitor cell lineage progression

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    The mammalian cerebral cortex is responsible for higher cognitive functions such as perception, consciousness, and acquiring and processing information. The neocortex is organized into six distinct laminae, each composed of a rich diversity of cell types which assemble into highly complex cortical circuits. Radial glia progenitors (RGPs) are responsible for producing all neocortical neurons and certain glia lineages. Here, we discuss recent discoveries emerging from clonal lineage analysis at the single RGP cell level that provide us with an inaugural quantitative framework of RGP lineage progression. We further discuss the importance of the relative contribution of intrinsic gene functions and non-cell-autonomous or community effects in regulating RGP proliferation behavior and lineage progression

    Non-cell-autonomous mechanisms in radial projection neuron migration in the developing cerebral cortex

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    Concerted radial migration of newly born cortical projection neurons, from their birthplace to their final target lamina, is a key step in the assembly of the cerebral cortex. The cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating the specific sequential steps of radial neuronal migration in vivo are however still unclear, let alone the effects and interactions with the extracellular environment. In any in vivo context, cells will always be exposed to a complex extracellular environment consisting of (1) secreted factors acting as potential signaling cues, (2) the extracellular matrix, and (3) other cells providing cell–cell interaction through receptors and/or direct physical stimuli. Most studies so far have described and focused mainly on intrinsic cell-autonomous gene functions in neuronal migration but there is accumulating evidence that non-cell-autonomous-, local-, systemic-, and/or whole tissue-wide effects substantially contribute to the regulation of radial neuronal migration. These non-cell-autonomous effects may differentially affect cortical neuron migration in distinct cellular environments. However, the cellular and molecular natures of such non-cell-autonomous mechanisms are mostly unknown. Furthermore, physical forces due to collective migration and/or community effects (i.e., interactions with surrounding cells) may play important roles in neocortical projection neuron migration. In this concise review, we first outline distinct models of non-cell-autonomous interactions of cortical projection neurons along their radial migration trajectory during development. We then summarize experimental assays and platforms that can be utilized to visualize and potentially probe non-cell-autonomous mechanisms. Lastly, we define key questions to address in the future

    Monitoring neurogenesis in the cerebral cortex: an update

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    The cerebral cortex, the seat of our cognitive abilities, is composed of an intricate network of billions of excitatory projection and inhibitory interneurons. Postmitotic cortical neurons are generated by a diverse set of neural stem cell progenitors within dedicated zones and defined periods of neurogenesis during embryonic development. Disruptions in neurogenesis can lead to alterations in the neuronal cytoarchitecture, which is thought to represent a major underlying cause for several neurological disorders, including microcephaly, autism and epilepsy. Although a number of signaling pathways regulating neurogenesis have been described, the precise cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating the functional neural stem cell properties in cortical neurogenesis remain unclear. Here, we discuss the most up-to-date strategies to monitor the fundamental mechanistic parameters of neuronal progenitor proliferation, and recent advances deciphering the logic and dynamics of neurogenesis

    Epigenetic cues modulating the generation of cell type diversity in the cerebral cortex

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    The cerebral cortex is composed of a large variety of distinct cell-types including projection neurons, interneurons and glial cells which emerge from distinct neural stem cell (NSC) lineages. The vast majority of cortical projection neurons and certain classes of glial cells are generated by radial glial progenitor cells (RGPs) in a highly orchestrated manner. Recent studies employing single cell analysis and clonal lineage tracing suggest that NSC and RGP lineage progression are regulated in a profound deterministic manner. In this review we focus on recent advances based mainly on correlative phenotypic data emerging from functional genetic studies in mice. We establish hypotheses to test in future research and outline a conceptual framework how epigenetic cues modulate the generation of cell-type diversity during cortical development. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

    SCOPES: Sparking curiosity through Open-Source platforms in education and science

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    Scientific research is to date largely restricted to wealthy laboratories in developed nations due to the necessity of complex and expensive equipment. This inequality limits the capacity of science to be used as a diplomatic channel. Maker movements use open-source technologies including additive manufacturing (3D printing) and laser cutting, together with low-cost computers for developing novel products. This movement is setting the groundwork for a revolution, allowing scientific equipment to be sourced at a fraction of the cost and has the potential to increase the availability of equipment for scientists around the world. Science education is increasingly recognized as another channel for science diplomacy. In this perspective, we introduce the idea that the Maker movement and open-source technologies have the potential to revolutionize science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education worldwide. We present an open-source STEM didactic tool called SCOPES (Sparking Curiosity through Open-source Platforms in Education and Science). SCOPES is self-contained, independent of local resources, and cost-effective. SCOPES can be adapted to communicate complex subjects from genetics to neurobiology, perform real-world biological experiments and explore digitized scientific samples. We envision such platforms will enhance science diplomacy by providing a means for scientists to share their findings with classrooms and for educators to incorporate didactic concepts into STEM lessons. By providing students the opportunity to design, perform, and share scientific experiments, students also experience firsthand the benefits of a multinational scientific community. We provide instructions on how to build and use SCOPES on our webpage: http://scopeseducation.org

    Inducible uniparental chromosome disomy to probe genomic imprinting at single-cell level in brain and beyond

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    Genomic imprinting is an epigenetic mechanism that results in parental allele-specific expression of ~1% of all genes in mouse and human. Imprinted genes are key developmental regulators and play pivotal roles in many biological processes such as nutrient transfer from the mother to offspring and neuronal development. Imprinted genes are also involved in human disease, including neurodevelopmental disorders, and often occur in clusters that are regulated by a common imprint control region (ICR). In extra-embryonic tissues ICRs can act over large distances, with the largest surrounding Igf2r spanning over 10 million base-pairs. Besides classical imprinted expression that shows near exclusive maternal or paternal expression, widespread biased imprinted expression has been identified mainly in brain. In this review we discuss recent developments mapping cell type specific imprinted expression in extra-embryonic tissues and neocortex in the mouse. We highlight the advantages of using an inducible uniparental chromosome disomy (UPD) system to generate cells carrying either two maternal or two paternal copies of a specific chromosome to analyze the functional consequences of genomic imprinting. Mosaic Analysis with Double Markers (MADM) allows fluorescent labeling and concomitant induction of UPD sparsely in specific cell types, and thus to over-express or suppress all imprinted genes on that chromosome. To illustrate the utility of this technique, we explain how MADM-induced UPD revealed new insights about the function of the well-studied Cdkn1c imprinted gene, and how MADM-induced UPDs led to identification of highly cell type specific phenotypes related to perturbed imprinted expression in the mouse neocortex. Finally, we give an outlook on how MADM could be used to probe cell type specific imprinted expression in other tissues in mouse, particularly in extra-embryonic tissues

    Generation and isolation of single cells from mouse brain with mosaic analysis with double markers-induced uniparental chromosome disomy

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    Mosaic analysis with double markers (MADM) technology enables concomitant fluorescent cell labeling and induction of uniparental chromosome disomy (UPD) with single-cell resolution. In UPD, imprinted genes are either overexpressed 2-fold or are not expressed. Here, the MADM platform is utilized to probe imprinting phenotypes at the transcriptional level. This protocol highlights major steps for the generation and isolation of projection neurons and astrocytes with MADM-induced UPD from mouse cerebral cortex for downstream single-cell and low-input sample RNA-sequencing experiments. For complete details on the use and execution of this protocol, please refer to Laukoter et al. (2020b)

    Ret and Etv4 Promote Directed Movements of Progenitor Cells during Renal Branching Morphogenesis

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    Branching morphogenesis of the epithelial ureteric bud forms the renal collecting duct system and is critical for normal nephron number, while low nephron number is implicated in hypertension and renal disease. Ureteric bud growth and branching requires GDNF signaling from the surrounding mesenchyme to cells at the ureteric bud tips, via the Ret receptor tyrosine kinase and coreceptor Gfrα1; Ret signaling up-regulates transcription factors Etv4 and Etv5, which are also critical for branching. Despite extensive knowledge of the genetic control of these events, it is not understood, at the cellular level, how renal branching morphogenesis is achieved or how Ret signaling influences epithelial cell behaviors to promote this process. Analysis of chimeric embryos previously suggested a role for Ret signaling in promoting cell rearrangements in the nephric duct, but this method was unsuited to study individual cell behaviors during ureteric bud branching. Here, we use Mosaic Analysis with Double Markers (MADM), combined with organ culture and time-lapse imaging, to trace the movements and divisions of individual ureteric bud tip cells. We first examine wild-type clones and then Ret or Etv4 mutant/wild-type clones in which the mutant and wild-type sister cells are differentially and heritably marked by green and red fluorescent proteins. We find that, in normal kidneys, most individual tip cells behave as self-renewing progenitors, some of whose progeny remain at the tips while others populate the growing UB trunks. In Ret or Etv4 MADM clones, the wild-type cells generated at a UB tip are much more likely to remain at, or move to, the new tips during branching and elongation, while their Ret−/− or Etv4−/− sister cells tend to lag behind and contribute only to the trunks. By tracking successive mitoses in a cell lineage, we find that Ret signaling has little effect on proliferation, in contrast to its effects on cell movement. Our results show that Ret/Etv4 signaling promotes directed cell movements in the ureteric bud tips, and suggest a model in which these cell movements mediate branching morphogenesis

    Cell polarity in cerebral cortex development - cellular architecture shaped by biochemical networks

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    The human cerebral cortex is the seat of our cognitive abilities and composed of an extraordinary number of neurons, organized in six distinct layers. The establishment of specific morphological and physiological features in individual neurons needs to be regulated with high precision. Impairments in the sequential developmental programs instructing corticogenesis lead to alterations in the cortical cytoarchitecture which is thought to represent the major underlying cause for several neurological disorders including neurodevelopmental and psychiatric diseases. In this review we discuss the role of cell polarity at sequential stages during cortex development. We first provide an overview of morphological cell polarity features in cortical neural stem cells and newly-born postmitotic neurons. We then synthesize a conceptual molecular and biochemical framework how cell polarity is established at the cellular level through a break in symmetry in nascent cortical projection neurons. Lastly we provide a perspective how the molecular mechanisms applying to single cells could be probed and integrated in an in vivo and tissue-wide context
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