Cu, Fe, and Zn isotope ratios in murine Alzheimer's disease models suggest specific signatures of amyloidogenesis and tauopathyAlzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by accumulation of tau and amyloid-beta in the brain, and recent evidence suggests a correlation between associated protein aggregates and trace elements, such as copper, iron, and zinc. In AD, a distorted brain redox homeostasis and complexation by amyloid-beta and hyperphosphorylated tau may alter the isotopic composition of essential mineral elements. Therefore, high-precision isotopic analysis may reveal changes in the homeostasis of these elements. We used inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (ICP-MS)-based techniques to determine the total Cu, Fe, and Zn contents in the brain, as well as their isotopic compositions in both mouse brain and serum.
The orphan receptor GPR139 signals via Gq/11 to oppose opioid effectsThe interplay between G protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs) is critical for controlling neuronal activity that shapes neuromodulatory outcomes. Recent evidence indicates that the orphan receptor GPR139 influences opioid modulation of key brain circuits by opposing the actions of the µ-opioid receptor (MOR). However, the function of GPR139 and its signaling mechanisms are poorly understood. In this study, we report that GPR139 activates multiple heterotrimeric G proteins, including members of the Gq/11 and Gi/o families.
Brain manganese and the balance between essential roles and neurotoxicityManganese (Mn) is an essential micronutrient required for the normal development of many organs, including the brain. Although its roles as a cofactor in several enzymes and in maintaining optimal physiology are well-known, the overall biological functions of Mn are rather poorly understood. Alterations in body Mn status are associated with altered neuronal physiology and cognition in humans, and either overexposure or (more rarely) insufficiency can cause neurological dysfunction. The resultant balancing act can be viewed as a hormetic U-shaped relationship for biological Mn status and optimal brain health, with changes in the brain leading to physiological effects throughout the body and vice versa.
Neuronal ER–plasma membrane junctions organized by Kv2–VAP pairing recruit Nir proteins and affect phosphoinositide homeostasisThe association of plasma membrane (PM)-localized voltage-gated potassium (Kv2) channels with endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-localized vesicle-associated membrane protein-associated proteins VAPA and VAPB defines ER–PM junctions in mammalian brain neurons. Here, we used proteomics to identify proteins associated with Kv2/VAP-containing ER–PM junctions. We found that the VAP-interacting membrane-associated phosphatidylinositol (PtdIns) transfer proteins PYK2 N-terminal domain-interacting receptor 2 (Nir2) and Nir3 specifically associate with Kv2.1 complexes.
The spatiotemporal expression pattern of microRNAs in the developing mouse nervous systemMicroRNAs (miRNAs) control various biological processes by inducing translational repression and transcript degradation of the target genes. In mammalian development, knowledge of the timing and expression pattern of each miRNA is important to determine and predict its function in vivo. So far, no systematic analyses of the spatiotemporal expression pattern of miRNAs during mammalian neurodevelopment have been performed. Here, we isolated total RNAs from the embryonic dorsal forebrain of mice at different developmental stages and subjected these RNAs to microarray analyses.
The regulation of glycogenolysis in the brainThe key regulatory enzymes of glycogenolysis are phosphorylase kinase, a hetero-oligomer with four different types of subunits, and glycogen phosphorylase, a homodimer. Both enzymes are activated by phosphorylation and small ligands, and both enzymes have distinct isoforms that are predominantly expressed in muscle, liver, or brain; however, whole-transcriptome high-throughput sequencing analyses show that in brain both of these enzymes are likely composed of subunit isoforms representing all three tissues.
Astrocytic glycogen metabolism in the healthy and diseased brainThe brain contains a fairly low amount of glycogen, mostly located in astrocytes, a fact that has prompted the suggestion that glycogen does not have a significant physiological role in the brain. However, glycogen metabolism in astrocytes is essential for several key physiological processes and is adversely affected in disease. For instance, diminished ability to break down glycogen impinges on learning, and epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and type 2 diabetes are all associated with abnormal astrocyte glycogen metabolism.
Isoform-independent and -dependent phosphorylation of microtubule-associated protein tau in mouse brain during postnatal developmentTau is a microtubule (MT)-associated protein that regulates MT dynamics in the axons of neurons. Tau binds to MTs via its C-terminal MT-binding repeats. There are two types of tau, those with three (3R) or four (4R) MT-binding repeats; 4R tau has a stronger MT-stabilizing activity than 3R tau. The MT-stabilizing activity of tau is regulated by phosphorylation. Interestingly, both the isoform and phosphorylation change at the time of neuronal circuit formation during postnatal development; highly phosphorylated 3R tau is replaced with 4R tau, which is less phosphorylated.
Heat-shock protein 90 (Hsp90) promotes opioid-induced anti-nociception by an ERK mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) mechanism in mouse brainRecent advances in developing opioid treatments for pain with reduced side effects have focused on the signaling cascades of the μ-opioid receptor (MOR). However, few such signaling targets have been identified for exploitation. To address this need, we explored the role of heat-shock protein 90 (Hsp90) in opioid-induced MOR signaling and pain, which has only been studied in four previous articles. First, in four cell models of MOR signaling, we found that Hsp90 inhibition for 24 h with the inhibitor 17-N-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-AAG) had different effects on protein expression and opioid signaling in each line, suggesting that cell models may not be reliable for predicting pharmacology with this protein.
Interaction of amyloid-β (Aβ) oligomers with neurexin 2α and neuroligin 1 mediates synapse damage and memory loss in miceBrain accumulation of the amyloid-β protein (Aβ) and synapse loss are neuropathological hallmarks of Alzheimer disease (AD). Aβ oligomers (AβOs) are synaptotoxins that build up in the brains of patients and are thought to contribute to memory impairment in AD. Thus, identification of novel synaptic components that are targeted by AβOs may contribute to the elucidation of disease-relevant mechanisms. Trans-synaptic interactions between neurexins (Nrxs) and neuroligins (NLs) are essential for synapse structure, stability, and function, and reduced NL levels have been associated recently with AD.
The Translational Significance of the Neurovascular UnitThe mammalian brain is supplied with blood by specialized vasculature that is structurally and functionally distinct from that of the periphery. A defining feature of this vasculature is a physical blood-brain barrier (BBB). The BBB separates blood components from the brain microenvironment, regulating the entry and exit of ions, nutrients, macromolecules, and energy metabolites. Over the last two decades, physiological studies of cerebral blood flow dynamics have demonstrated that substantial intercellular communication occurs between cells of the vasculature and the neurons and glia that abut the vasculature.
Human Central Nervous System (CNS) ApoE Isoforms Are Increased by Age, Differentially Altered by Amyloidosis, and Relative Amounts Reversed in the CNS Compared with PlasmaThe risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is highly dependent on apolipoprotein-E (apoE) genotype. The reasons for apoE isoform-selective risk are uncertain; however, both the amounts and structure of human apoE isoforms have been hypothesized to lead to amyloidosis increasing the risk for AD. To address the hypothesis that amounts of apoE isoforms are different in the human CNS, we developed a novel isoform-specific method to accurately quantify apoE isoforms in clinically relevant samples. The method utilizes an antibody-free enrichment step and isotope-labeled physiologically relevant lipoprotein particle standards produced by immortalized astrocytes.
Stress Granule Induction after Brain Ischemia Is Independent of Eukaryotic Translation Initiation Factor (eIF) 2α Phosphorylation and Is Correlated with a Decrease in eIF4B and eIF4E ProteinsStress granules (SGs) are cytoplasmic ribonucleoprotein aggregates that are directly connected with the translation initiation arrest response to cellular stresses. Translation inhibition (TI) is observed in transient brain ischemia, a condition that induces persistent TI even after reperfusion, i.e. when blood flow is restored, and causes delayed neuronal death (DND) in selective vulnerable regions. We previously described a connection between TI and DND in the hippocampal cornu ammonis 1 (CA1) in an animal model of transient brain ischemia.
Modulation of Acid-sensing Ion Channel 1a by Intracellular pH and Its Role in Ischemic StrokeAn important contributor to brain ischemia is known to be extracellular acidosis, which activates acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs), a family of proton-gated sodium channels. Lines of evidence suggest that targeting ASICs may lead to novel therapeutic strategies for stroke. Investigations of the role of ASICs in ischemic brain injury have naturally focused on the role of extracellular pH in ASIC activation. By contrast, intracellular pH (pHi) has received little attention. This is a significant gap in our understanding because the ASIC response to extracellular pH is modulated by pHi, and activation of ASICs by extracellular protons is paradoxically enhanced by intracellular alkalosis.
Capillary Isoelectric Focusing of Akt Isoforms Identifies Highly Dynamic Phosphorylation in Neuronal Cells and Brain TissueThe PI3K/PTEN/Akt pathway has been established as a core signaling pathway that is crucial for the integration of neurons into neuronal circuits and the maintenance of the architecture and function of neurons in the adult brain. Akt1–3 kinases are specifically activated by two phosphorylation events on residues Thr308 and Ser473 upon growth factor signaling, which subsequently phosphorylate a vast cohort of downstream targets. However, we still lack a clear understanding of the complexity and regulation of isoform specificity within the PI3K/PTEN/Akt pathway.
Fasting and Systemic Insulin Signaling Regulate Phosphorylation of Brain Proteins That Modulate Cell Morphology and Link to Neurological DisordersDiabetes is strongly associated with cognitive decline, but the molecular reasons are unknown. We found that fasting and peripheral insulin promote phosphorylation and dephosphorylation, respectively, of specific residues on brain proteins including cytoskeletal regulators such as slit-robo GTPase-activating protein 3 (srGAP3) and microtubule affinity-regulating protein kinases (MARKs), in which deficiency or dysregulation is linked to neurological disorders. Fasting activates protein kinase A (PKA) but not PKB/Akt signaling in the brain, and PKA can phosphorylate the purified srGAP3.
Thematic Minireview Series: Molecular Mechanisms of Synaptic PlasticityThe human brain contains ∼86 billion neurons, which are precisely organized in specific brain regions and nuclei. High fidelity synaptic communication between subsets of neurons in specific circuits is required for most human behaviors, and is often disrupted in neuropsychiatric disorders. The presynaptic axon terminals of one neuron release neurotransmitters that activate receptors on multiple postsynaptic neuron targets to induce electrical and chemical responses. Typically, postsynaptic neurons integrate signals from multiple presynaptic neurons at thousands of synaptic inputs to control downstream communication to the next neuron in the circuit.
Effect of Cholesterol Reduction on Receptor Signaling in NeuronsBackground: Cholesterol synthesis is decreased in the brain in diabetes.Results: Cholesterol depletion in neuron-derived cells results in impaired insulin/IGF-1 and neurotrophin signaling and altered apoptosis.Conclusion: Reduction of cellular cholesterol in diabetes causes defects in signal transduction and function in neuron-derived cells.Significance: Reduced brain cholesterol could contribute to the higher prevalence of cognitive dysfunction and Alzheimer disease in diabetes.
TGFβ-activated Kinase 1 (TAK1) Inhibition by 5Z-7-Oxozeaenol Attenuates Early Brain Injury after Experimental Subarachnoid HemorrhageBackground: Role of TGFβ-activated kinase 1 (TAK1) in the pathogenesis of early brain injury after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) has not been reported.Results: TAK1 inhibition attenuates early brain injury and improves neurological deficits after SAH.Conclusion: TAK1 inhibition exhibits neuro-protective effects possibly through anti-apoptotic function.Significance: These results provide a novel target for SAH treatment.