16 research outputs found

    Accurate satellite-derived estimates of the tropospheric ozone impact on the global radiation budget

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    Estimates of the radiative forcing due to anthropogenically-produced tropospheric O3 are derived primarily from models. Here, we use tropospheric ozone and cloud data from several instruments in the A-train constellation of satellites as well as information from the GEOS-5 Data Assimilation System to accurately estimate the radiative effect of tropospheric O3 for January and July 2005. Since we cannot distinguish between natural and anthropogenic sources with the satellite data, our derived radiative effect reflects the unadjusted (instantaneous) effect of the total tropospheric O3 rather than the anthropogenic component. We improve upon previous estimates of tropospheric ozone mixing ratios from a residual approach using the NASA Earth Observing System (EOS) Aura Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) and Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) by incorporating cloud pressure information from OMI. We focus specifically on the magnitude and spatial structure of the cloud effect on both the short- and long-wave radiative budget. The estimates presented here can be used to evaluate the various aspects of model-generated radiative forcing. For example, our derived cloud impact is to reduce the radiative effect of tropospheric ozone by ~16%. This is centered within the published range of model-produced cloud effect on unadjusted ozone radiative forcing

    Emerging mechanisms underpinning neurophysiological impairments in C9ORF72 repeat expansion-mediated amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/frontotemporal dementia

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    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are characterized by degeneration of upper and lower motor neurons and neurons of the prefrontal cortex. The emergence of the C9ORF72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion mutation as the leading genetic cause of ALS and FTD has led to a progressive understanding of the multiple cellular pathways leading to neuronal degeneration. Disturbances in neuronal function represent a major subset of these mechanisms and because such functional perturbations precede degeneration, it is likely that impaired neuronal function in ALS/FTD plays an active role in pathogenesis. This is supported by the fact that ALS/FTD patients consistently present with neurophysiological impairments prior to any apparent degeneration. In this review we summarize how the discovery of the C9ORF72 repeat expansion mutation has contributed to the current understanding of neuronal dysfunction in ALS/FTD. Here, we discuss the impact of the repeat expansion on neuronal function in relation to intrinsic excitability, synaptic, network and ion channel properties, highlighting evidence of conserved and divergent pathophysiological impacts between cortical and motor neurons and the influence of non-neuronal cells. We further highlight the emerging association between these dysfunctional properties with molecular mechanisms of the C9ORF72 mutation that appear to include roles for both, haploinsufficiency of the C9ORF72 protein and aberrantly generated dipeptide repeat protein species. Finally, we suggest that relating key pathological observations in C9ORF72 repeat expansion ALS/FTD patients to the mechanistic impact of the C9ORF72 repeat expansion on neuronal function will lead to an improved understanding of how neurophysiological dysfunction impacts upon pathogenesis

    Oligodendrocyte HCN2 channels regulate myelin sheath length

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    Oligodendrocytes generate myelin sheaths vital for the formation, health and function of the central nervous system (CNS). Myelin sheath length is a key property that determines axonal conduction velocity and is known to be variable across the CNS. Myelin sheath length can be modified by neuronal activity, suggesting that dynamic regulation of sheath length might contribute to the functional plasticity of neural circuits. Although the mechanisms that establish and refine myelin sheath length are important determinants of brain function, our understanding of these remains limited. In recent years, the membranes of myelin sheaths have been increasingly recognised to contain ion channels and transporters that are associated with specific important oligodendrocyte functions, including metabolic support of axons and the regulation of ion homeostasis, but none have been shown to influence sheath architecture. In this study, we determined that hyperpolarisation-activated, cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels, typically associated with neuronal and cardiac excitability, regulate myelin sheath length. Using both in vivo and in vitro approaches, we show that oligodendrocytes abundantly express functional, predominantly HCN2 subunit-containing channels. These HCN channels retain key pharmacological and biophysical features and regulate the resting membrane potential of myelinating oligodendrocytes. Further, reduction of their function via pharmacological blockade or generation of transgenic mice with two independent oligodendrocyte-specific HCN2 knock out strategies reduced myelin sheath length. We conclude that HCN2 channels are key determinants of myelin sheath length in the CNS

    Altered network properties in C9ORF72 repeat expansion cortical neurons are due to synaptic dysfunction

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    Background Physiological disturbances in cortical network excitability and plasticity are established and widespread in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) patients, including those harbouring the C9ORF72 repeat expansion (C9ORF72RE) mutation – the most common genetic impairment causal to ALS and FTD. Noting that perturbations in cortical function are evidenced pre-symptomatically, and that the cortex is associated with widespread pathology, cortical dysfunction is thought to be an early driver of neurodegenerative disease progression. However, our understanding of how altered network function manifests at the cellular and molecular level is not clear. Methods To address this we have generated cortical neurons from patient-derived iPSCs harbouring C9ORF72RE mutations, as well as from their isogenic expansion-corrected controls. We have established a model of network activity in these neurons using multi-electrode array electrophysiology. We have then mechanistically examined the physiological processes underpinning network dysfunction using a combination of patch-clamp electrophysiology, immunocytochemistry, pharmacology and transcriptomic profiling. Results We find that C9ORF72RE causes elevated network burst activity, associated with enhanced synaptic input, yet lower burst duration, attributable to impaired pre-synaptic vesicle dynamics. We also show that the C9ORF72RE is associated with impaired synaptic plasticity. Moreover, RNA-seq analysis revealed dysregulated molecular pathways impacting on synaptic function. All molecular, cellular and network deficits are rescued by CRISPR/Cas9 correction of C9ORF72RE. Our study provides a mechanistic view of the early dysregulated processes that underpin cortical network dysfunction in ALS-FTD. Conclusion These findings suggest synaptic pathophysiology is widespread in ALS-FTD and has an early and fundamental role in driving altered network function that is thought to contribute to neurodegenerative processes in these patients. The overall importance is the identification of previously unidentified defects in pre and postsynaptic compartments affecting synaptic plasticity, synaptic vesicle stores, and network propagation, which directly impact upon cortical function

    SPG15 protein deficits are at the crossroads between lysosomal abnormalities, altered lipid metabolism and synaptic dysfunction

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    Hereditary spastic paraplegia type 15 (HSP15) is a neurodegenerative condition caused by the inability to produce SPG15 protein, which leads to lysosomal swelling. However, the link between lysosomal aberrations and neuronal death is poorly explored. To uncover the functional consequences of lysosomal aberrations in disease pathogenesis, we analyze human dermal fibroblasts from HSP15 patients as well as primary cortical neurons derived from an SPG15 knockout (KO) mouse model. We find that SPG15 protein loss induces defective anterograde transport, impaired neurite outgrowth, axonal swelling and reduced autophagic flux in association with the onset of lysosomal abnormalities. Additionally, we observe lipid accumulation within the lysosomal compartment, suggesting that distortions in cellular lipid homeostasis are intertwined with lysosomal alterations. We further demonstrate that SPG15 KO neurons exhibit synaptic dysfunction, accompanied by augmented vulnerability to glutamate-induced excitotoxicity. Overall, our study establishes an intimate link between lysosomal aberrations, lipid metabolism and electrophysiological impairments, suggesting that lysosomal defects are at the core of multiple neurodegenerative disease processes in HSP15

    Transactive response DNA-binding protein-43 proteinopathy in oligodendrocytes revealed using an induced pluripotent stem cell model

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    Oligodendrocytes are implicated in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis pathogenesis and display transactive response DNA-binding protein-43 (TDP-43) pathological inclusions. To investigate the cell autonomous consequences of TDP-43 mutations on human oligodendrocytes, we generated oligodendrocytes from patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cell lines harbouring mutations in the TARDBP gene, namely G298S and M337V. Through a combination of immunocytochemistry, electrophysiological assessment via whole-cell patch clamping, and three-dimensional cultures, no differences in oligodendrocyte differentiation, maturation or myelination were identified. Furthermore, expression analysis for monocarboxylate transporter 1 (a lactate transporter) coupled with a glycolytic stress test showed no deficit in lactate export. However, using confocal microscopy, we report TDP-43 mutation-dependent pathological mis-accumulation of TDP-43. Furthermore, using in vitro patch-clamp recordings, we identified functional Ca2+-permeable α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor dysregulation in oligodendrocytes. Together, these findings establish a platform for further interrogation of the role of oligodendrocytes and cellular autonomy in TDP-43 proteinopathy

    Genome-wide identification of the genetic basis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

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    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a complex disease that leads to motor neuron death. Despite heritability estimates of 52%, genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have discovered relatively few loci. We developed a machine learning approach called RefMap, which integrates functional genomics with GWAS summary statistics for gene discovery. With transcriptomic and epigenetic profiling of motor neurons derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), RefMap identified 690 ALS-associated genes that represent a 5-fold increase in recovered heritability. Extensive conservation, transcriptome, network, and rare variant analyses demonstrated the functional significance of candidate genes in healthy and diseased motor neurons and brain tissues. Genetic convergence between common and rare variation highlighted KANK1 as a new ALS gene. Reproducing KANK1 patient mutations in human neurons led to neurotoxicity and demonstrated that TDP-43 mislocalization, a hallmark pathology of ALS, is downstream of axonal dysfunction. RefMap can be readily applied to other complex diseases

    Probing spatial and subunit-dependent signalling by the NMDA receptor

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    NMDARs are ligand-gated cation channels which are activated by the neurotransmitter glutamate. NMDARs are essential in coupling electrical activity to biochemical signalling as a consequence of their high Ca2+ permeability. This Ca2+ influx acts as a secondary messenger to mediate neurodevelopment, synaptic plasticity, neuroprotection and neurodegeneration. The biological outcome of NMDAR activation is determined by a complicated interrelationship between the concentration of Ca2+ influx, NMDAR location (synaptic vs. extrasynaptic) as well as the subtype of the GluN2 subunit. Despite the recognition that NMDAR mediated physiology is multifaceted, tools used to study subunit and location dependent signalling are poorly characterized and in other cases, non-existent. Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to address this issue. Firstly, I assessed the current pharmacological approach used to selectively activate extrasynaptic NMDARs. Here, synaptic NMDARs are first blocked with MK-801 during phasic activation and then extrasynaptic NMDARs are tonically activated. This approach relies on the continual irreversible blockade of synaptic NMDARs by MK-801 yet contrary to the current dogma, I demonstrate this blockade is unstable during tonic agonist exposure and even more so when physiologically relevant concentrations of Mg2+ are present. This confines a temporal limit in which selective activation of extrasynaptic NMDARs can occur with significant consequences for studying synaptic vs. extrasynaptic NMDAR signalling. Dissecting subunit-dependent signalling mediated by the two major GluN2 subunits in the forebrain, GluN2A and GluN2B, has been advanced significantly by selective GluN2B antagonism yet a reciprocal GluN2A selective antagonist has been lacking. Utilizing novel GluN2A-specific antagonists, I demonstrate a developmental upregulation of GluN2A-mediated NMDA currents which concurrently dilutes the contribution of GluN2B-mediated currents. Moreover, I tested the hypothesis that the Cterminus of GluN2A and GluN2B are essential in controlling the developmental switch of GluN2 subunits utilizing knock-in mice whereby the C-terminus of GluN2A is replaced with that of GluN2B. Surprisingly, the exchange of the C-terminus does not impede the developmental switch in subunits nor the proportion of NMDARs at synaptic vs extrasynaptic sites. However, replacing the C-terminus of GluN2A with that of GluN2B induces a greater neuronal vulnerability to NMDA-dependent excitotoxicity. Collectively, this work enhances our understanding of the complex physiology mediated by the NMDAR by determining how pharmacological tools are best utilized to study the roles of NMDAR location and subunit composition in addition to revealing the importance of the GluN2 C-terminus in development and excitotoxicity

    Influence of GluN2 subunit identity on NMDA receptor function

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    AbstractN-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) are ligand-gated ion channels (‘ionotropic’ receptors) activated by the major excitatory neurotransmitter, l-glutamate. While the term ‘the NMDAR’ is often used it obscures the fact that this class of receptor contains within it members whose properties are as different as they are similar. This heterogeneity was evident from early electrophysiological, pharmacological and biochemical assessments of the functional properties of NMDARs and while the molecular basis of this heterogeneity has taken many years to elucidate, it indicated from the outset that the diversity of NMDAR phenotypes could allow this receptor family to subserve a variety of functions in the mammalian central nervous system. In this review we highlight some recent studies that have identified structural elements within GluN2 subunits that contribute to the heterogeneous biophysical properties of NMDARs, consider why some recently described novel pharmacological tools may permit better identification of native NMDAR subtypes, examine the evidence that NMDAR subtypes differentially contribute to the induction of long-term potentiation and long-term depression and discuss how through the use of chimeric proteins additional insights have been obtained that account for NMDAR subtype-dependency of physiological and pathophysiological signalling.This article is part of the Special Issue entitled ‘Glutamate Receptor-Dependent Synaptic Plasticity’

    Importin 13-dependent axon diameter growth regulates conduction speeds along myelinated CNS axons

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    Axon diameter influences the conduction properties of myelinated axons, both directly, and indirectly through effects on myelin. However, we have limited understanding of mechanisms controlling axon diameter growth in the central nervous system, preventing systematic dissection of how manipulating diameter affects myelination and conduction along individual axons. Here we establish zebrafish to study axon diameter. We find that importin 13b is required for axon diameter growth, but does not affect cell body size or axon length. Using neuron-specific ipo13b mutants, we assess how reduced axon diameter affects myelination and conduction, and find no changes to myelin thickness, precision of action potential propagation, or ability to sustain high frequency firing. However, increases in conduction speed that occur along single myelinated axons with development are tightly linked to their growth in diameter. This suggests that axon diameter growth is a major driver of increases in conduction speeds along myelinated axons over time