ResearchPad - neuromuscular-junctions https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[The role of the C<sub>2</sub>A domain of synaptotagmin 1 in asynchronous neurotransmitter release]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14623 Following nerve stimulation, there are two distinct phases of Ca2+-dependent neurotransmitter release: a fast, synchronous release phase, and a prolonged, asynchronous release phase. Each of these phases is tightly regulated and mediated by distinct mechanisms. Synaptotagmin 1 is the major Ca2+ sensor that triggers fast, synchronous neurotransmitter release upon Ca2+ binding by its C2A and C2B domains. It has also been implicated in the inhibition of asynchronous neurotransmitter release, as blocking Ca2+ binding by the C2A domain of synaptotagmin 1 results in increased asynchronous release. However, the mutation used to block Ca2+ binding in the previous experiments (aspartate to asparagine mutations, sytD-N) had the unintended side effect of mimicking Ca2+ binding, raising the possibility that the increase in asynchronous release was directly caused by ostensibly constitutive Ca2+ binding. Thus, rather than modulating an asynchronous sensor, sytD-N may be mimicking one. To directly test the C2A inhibition hypothesis, we utilized an alternate C2A mutation that we designed to block Ca2+ binding without mimicking it (an aspartate to glutamate mutation, sytD-E). Analysis of both the original sytD-N mutation and our alternate sytD-E mutation at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction showed differential effects on asynchronous release, as well as on synchronous release and the frequency of spontaneous release. Importantly, we found that asynchronous release is not increased in the sytD-E mutant. Thus, our work provides new mechanistic insight into synaptotagmin 1 function during Ca2+-evoked synaptic transmission and demonstrates that Ca2+ binding by the C2A domain of synaptotagmin 1 does not inhibit asynchronous neurotransmitter release in vivo.

]]>
<![CDATA[Disruption of genes associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2 lead to common behavioural, cellular and molecular defects in Caenorhabditis elegans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N5d50b5cf-e057-490e-9c44-60569e9f28d4

Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is an inherited peripheral motor and sensory neuropathy. The disease is divided into demyelinating (CMT1) and axonal (CMT2) neuropathies, and although we have gained molecular information into the details of CMT1 pathology, much less is known about CMT2. Due to its clinical and genetic heterogeneity, coupled with a lack of animal models, common underlying mechanisms remain elusive. In order to gain an understanding of the normal function of genes associated with CMT2, and to draw direct comparisons between them, we have studied the behavioural, cellular and molecular consequences of mutating nine different genes in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (lin-41/TRIM2, dyn-1/DNM2, unc-116/KIF5A, fzo-1/MFN2, osm-9/TRPV4, cua-1/ATP7A, hsp-25/HSPB1, hint-1/HINT1, nep-2/MME). We show that C. elegans defective for these genes display debilitated movement in crawling and swimming assays. Severe morphological defects in cholinergic motors neurons are also evident in two of the mutants (dyn-1 and unc-116). Furthermore, we establish methods for quantifying muscle morphology and use these to demonstrate that loss of muscle structure occurs in the majority of mutants studied. Finally, using electrophysiological recordings of neuromuscular junction (NMJ) activity, we uncover reductions in spontaneous postsynaptic current frequency in lin-41, dyn-1, unc-116 and fzo-1 mutants. By comparing the consequences of mutating numerous CMT2-related genes, this study reveals common deficits in muscle structure and function, as well as NMJ signalling when these genes are disrupted.

]]>
<![CDATA[Expression of a Mutant SEMA3A Protein with Diminished Signalling Capacity Does Not Alter ALS-Related Motor Decline, or Confer Changes in NMJ Plasticity after BotoxA-Induced Paralysis of Male Gastrocnemic Muscle]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da39ab0ee8fa60b87459

Terminal Schwann cells (TSCs) are specialized cells that envelop the motor nerve terminal, and play a role in the maintenance and regeneration of neuromuscular junctions (NMJs). The chemorepulsive protein semaphorin 3A (SEMA3A) is selectively up-regulated in TSCs on fast-fatigable muscle fibers following experimental denervation of the muscle (BotoxA-induced paralysis or crush injury to the sciatic nerve) or in the motor neuron disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Re-expression of SEMA3A in this subset of TSCs is thought to play a role in the selective plasticity of nerve terminals as observed in ALS and following BotoxA-induced paralysis. Using a mouse model expressing a mutant SEMA3A with diminished signaling capacity, we studied the influence of SEMA3A signaling at the NMJ with two denervation paradigms; a motor neuron disease model (the G93A-hSOD1 ALS mouse line) and an injury model (BotoxA-induced paralysis). ALS mice that either expressed 1 or 2 mutant SEMA3A alleles demonstrated no difference in ALS-induced decline in motor behavior. We also investigated the effects of BotoxA-induced paralysis on the sprouting capacity of NMJs in the K108N-SEMA3A mutant mouse, and observed no change in the differential neuronal plasticity found at NMJs on fast-fatigable or slow muscle fibers due to the presence of the SEMA3A mutant protein. Our data may be explained by the residual repulsive activity of the mutant SEMA3A, or it may imply that SEMA3A alone is not a key component of the molecular signature affecting NMJ plasticity in ALS or BotoxA-induced paralysis. Interestingly, we did observe a sex difference in motor neuron sprouting behavior after BotoxA-induced paralysis in WT mice which we speculate may be an important factor in the sex dimorphic differences seen in ALS.

]]>
<![CDATA[Adenosine A2A Receptors Activation Facilitates Neuromuscular Transmission in the Pre-Symptomatic Phase of the SOD1(G93A) ALS Mice, but Not in the Symptomatic Phase]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da28ab0ee8fa60b815af

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease leading to motor neuron dysfunction resulting in impairment of neuromuscular transmission. A2A adenosine receptors have already been considered as a potential therapeutical target for ALS but their neuromodulatory role at the neuromuscular junction in ALS remains to be clarified. In the present work, we evaluated the effects of A2A receptors on neuromuscular transmission of an animal model of ALS: SOD1(G93A) mice either in the pre-symptomatic (4–6 weeks old) or in the symptomatic (12–14 weeks old) stage. Electrophysiological experiments were performed obtaining intracellular recordings in Mg2+ paralyzed phrenic nerve-hemidiaphragm preparations. Endplate potentials (EPPs), quantal content (q. c.) of EPPs, miniature endplate potentials (MEPPs) and giant miniature endplate potential (GMEPPs) were recorded. In the pre-symptomatic phase of the disease (4–6 weeks old mice), the selective A2A receptor agonist, CGS 21680, significantly enhanced (p<0.05 Unpaired t-test) the mean amplitude and q.c. of EPPs, and the frequency of MEPPs and GMEPPs at SOD1(G93A) neuromuscular junctions, the effect being of higher magnitude (p<0.05, Unpaired t-test) than age-matched control littermates. On the contrary, in symptomatic mice (12–14 weeks old), CGS 21680 was devoid of effect on both the amplitude and q.c. of EPPs and the frequency of MEPPs and GMEPPs (p<0.05 Paired t-test). The results herein reported clearly document that at the neuromuscular junction of SOD1(G93A) mice there is an exacerbation of A2A receptor-mediated excitatory effects at the pre-symptomatic phase, whereas in the symptomatic phase A2A receptor activation is absent. The results thus suggest that A2A receptors function changes with ALS progression.

]]>
<![CDATA[Comparison of independent screens on differentially vulnerable motor neurons reveals alpha-synuclein as a common modifier in motor neuron diseases]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db54ab0ee8fa60bdcfd2

The term “motor neuron disease” encompasses a spectrum of disorders in which motor neurons are the primary pathological target. However, in both patients and animal models of these diseases, not all motor neurons are equally vulnerable, in that while some motor neurons are lost very early in disease, others remain comparatively intact, even at late stages. This creates a valuable system to investigate the factors that regulate motor neuron vulnerability. In this study, we aim to use this experimental paradigm to identify potential transcriptional modifiers. We have compared the transcriptome of motor neurons from healthy wild-type mice, which are differentially vulnerable in the childhood motor neuron disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), and have identified 910 transcriptional changes. We have compared this data set with published microarray data sets on other differentially vulnerable motor neurons. These neurons were differentially vulnerable in the adult onset motor neuron disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), but the screen was performed on the equivalent population of neurons from neurologically normal human, rat and mouse. This cross species comparison has generated a refined list of differentially expressed genes, including CELF5, Col5a2, PGEMN1, SNCA, Stmn1 and HOXa5, alongside a further enrichment for synaptic and axonal transcripts. As an in vivo validation, we demonstrate that the manipulation of a significant number of these transcripts can modify the neurodegenerative phenotype observed in a Drosophila line carrying an ALS causing mutation. Finally, we demonstrate that vector-mediated expression of alpha-synuclein (SNCA), a transcript decreased in selectively vulnerable motor neurons in all four screens, can extend life span, increase weight and decrease neuromuscular junction pathology in a mouse model of SMA. In summary, we have combined multiple data sets to identify transcripts, which are strong candidates for being phenotypic modifiers, and demonstrated SNCA is a modifier of pathology in motor neuron disease.

]]>
<![CDATA[Augmented quantal release of acetylcholine at the vertebrate neuromuscular junction following tdp-43 depletion]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf583

TAR DNA binding protein (TDP-43) is a 43 kD, predominately nuclear, protein involved in RNA metabolism. Of clinical significance is that the majority of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients display abnormal accumulation of misfolded TDP-43 in the cytoplasm, which is coincident with a loss of nuclear localization in the afflicted regions of the central nervous system. Little is known about defects that arise in loss-of-function models, in particular synaptic defects that arise at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ). In this report, we examined abnormalities arising at the NMJ following depletion of tdp-43 using a previously characterized mutant tardbp (encoding tdp-43) zebrafish line containing a premature stop codon (Y220X) that results in an unstable and degraded protein. Homozygous tardbpY220X/Y220X zebrafish do not produce tdp-43 but develop normally due to expression of an alternative splice variant of tardbpl (tardbp paralog). Using an antisense morpholino oligonucleotide to knockdown expression of the tardbpl in tardbpY220X/Y220X embryos, we examined locomotor defects, NMJ structural abnormalities and release of quantal synaptic vesicles at the NMJ. As in previous reports, larvae depleted of tdp-43 display reduced survival, gross morphological defects and severely impaired locomotor activity. These larvae also displayed an increased number of orphaned pre- and postsynaptic NMJ markers but surprisingly, we observed a significant increase (3.5 times) in the frequency of quantal acetylcholine release at the NMJ in larvae depleted of tdp-43. These results indicate that reduced TDP-43 levels alter quantal vesicle release at the NMJ during vertebrate development and may be relevant for understanding synaptic dysfunction in ALS.

]]>
<![CDATA[Presynaptic Aβ40 prevents synapse addition in the adult Drosophila neuromuscular junction]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5bab0ee8fa60bdfdc3

Complexity in the processing of the Amyloid Precursor Protein, which generates a mixture of βamyloid peptides, lies beneath the difficulty in understanding the etiology of Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, whether Aβ peptides have any physiological role in neurons is an unresolved question. By expressing single, defined Aβ peptides in Drosophila, specific effects can be discriminated in vivo. Here, we show that in the adult neuromuscular junction (NMJ), presynaptic expression of Aβ40 hinders the synaptic addition that normally occurs in adults, yielding NMJs with an invariable number of active zones at all ages tested. A similar trend is observed for Aβ42 at young ages, but net synaptic loss occurs at older ages in NMJs expressing this amyloid species. In contrast, Aβ42arc produces net synaptic loss at all ages tested, although age-dependent synaptic variations are maintained. Inhibition of the PI3K synaptogenic pathway may mediate some of these effects, because western analyses show that Aβ peptides block activation of this pathway, and Aβ species-specific synaptotoxic effects persists in NMJs overgrown by over-expression of PI3K. Finally, individual Aβ effects are also observed when toxicity is examined by quantifying neurodegeneration and survival. Our results suggest a physiological effect of Aβ40 in synaptic plasticity, and imply different toxic mechanisms for each peptide species.

]]>
<![CDATA[FIJI Macro 3D ART VeSElecT: 3D Automated Reconstruction Tool for Vesicle Structures of Electron Tomograms]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db54ab0ee8fa60bdd106

Automatic image reconstruction is critical to cope with steadily increasing data from advanced microscopy. We describe here the Fiji macro 3D ART VeSElecT which we developed to study synaptic vesicles in electron tomograms. We apply this tool to quantify vesicle properties (i) in embryonic Danio rerio 4 and 8 days past fertilization (dpf) and (ii) to compare Caenorhabditis elegans N2 neuromuscular junctions (NMJ) wild-type and its septin mutant (unc-59(e261)). We demonstrate development-specific and mutant-specific changes in synaptic vesicle pools in both models. We confirm the functionality of our macro by applying our 3D ART VeSElecT on zebrafish NMJ showing smaller vesicles in 8 dpf embryos then 4 dpf, which was validated by manual reconstruction of the vesicle pool. Furthermore, we analyze the impact of C. elegans septin mutant unc-59(e261) on vesicle pool formation and vesicle size. Automated vesicle registration and characterization was implemented in Fiji as two macros (registration and measurement). This flexible arrangement allows in particular reducing false positives by an optional manual revision step. Preprocessing and contrast enhancement work on image-stacks of 1nm/pixel in x and y direction. Semi-automated cell selection was integrated. 3D ART VeSElecT removes interfering components, detects vesicles by 3D segmentation and calculates vesicle volume and diameter (spherical approximation, inner/outer diameter). Results are collected in color using the RoiManager plugin including the possibility of manual removal of non-matching confounder vesicles. Detailed evaluation considered performance (detected vesicles) and specificity (true vesicles) as well as precision and recall. We furthermore show gain in segmentation and morphological filtering compared to learning based methods and a large time gain compared to manual segmentation. 3D ART VeSElecT shows small error rates and its speed gain can be up to 68 times faster in comparison to manual annotation. Both automatic and semi-automatic modes are explained including a tutorial.

]]>
<![CDATA[Unbiased Rare Event Sampling in Spatial Stochastic Systems Biology Models Using a Weighted Ensemble of Trajectories]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db2fab0ee8fa60bd1dd6

The long-term goal of connecting scales in biological simulation can be facilitated by scale-agnostic methods. We demonstrate that the weighted ensemble (WE) strategy, initially developed for molecular simulations, applies effectively to spatially resolved cell-scale simulations. The WE approach runs an ensemble of parallel trajectories with assigned weights and uses a statistical resampling strategy of replicating and pruning trajectories to focus computational effort on difficult-to-sample regions. The method can also generate unbiased estimates of non-equilibrium and equilibrium observables, sometimes with significantly less aggregate computing time than would be possible using standard parallelization. Here, we use WE to orchestrate particle-based kinetic Monte Carlo simulations, which include spatial geometry (e.g., of organelles, plasma membrane) and biochemical interactions among mobile molecular species. We study a series of models exhibiting spatial, temporal and biochemical complexity and show that although WE has important limitations, it can achieve performance significantly exceeding standard parallel simulation—by orders of magnitude for some observables.

]]>
<![CDATA[A Ca2+ channel differentially regulates Clathrin-mediated and activity-dependent bulk endocytosis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf331

Clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) and activity-dependent bulk endocytosis (ADBE) are two predominant forms of synaptic vesicle (SV) endocytosis, elicited by moderate and strong stimuli, respectively. They are tightly coupled with exocytosis for sustained neurotransmission. However, the underlying mechanisms are ill defined. We previously reported that the Flower (Fwe) Ca2+ channel present in SVs is incorporated into the periactive zone upon SV fusion, where it triggers CME, thus coupling exocytosis to CME. Here, we show that Fwe also promotes ADBE. Intriguingly, the effects of Fwe on CME and ADBE depend on the strength of the stimulus. Upon mild stimulation, Fwe controls CME independently of Ca2+ channeling. However, upon strong stimulation, Fwe triggers a Ca2+ influx that initiates ADBE. Moreover, knockout of rodent fwe in cultured rat hippocampal neurons impairs but does not completely abolish CME, similar to the loss of Drosophila fwe at the neuromuscular junction, suggesting that Fwe plays a regulatory role in regulating CME across species. In addition, the function of Fwe in ADBE is conserved at mammalian central synapses. Hence, Fwe exerts different effects in response to different stimulus strengths to control two major modes of endocytosis.

]]>