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See detailThe Parkinson's Disease-Associated LRRK2 Mutation R1441G Inhibits Neuronal Differentiation of Neural Stem Cells.
Bahnassawy, Lamia A; Nicklas, Sarah; Palm, Thomas et al

in Stem Cells & Development (2013)

Mutations in the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) gene cause familial as well as sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD) that is characterized by an age-dependent degeneration of dopaminergic neurons. LRRK2 ... [more ▼]

Mutations in the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) gene cause familial as well as sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD) that is characterized by an age-dependent degeneration of dopaminergic neurons. LRRK2 is strongly expressed in neural stem cells (NSCs), but still the exact molecular function of LRRK2 in these cells remains unknown. By performing a systemic analysis of the gene expression profile of LRRK2-deficient NSCs, we found that the expression of several PD-associated genes, such as oxidation and reduction in mitochondria, are deregulated on LRRK2 absence. Our data, indeed, indicate that LRRK2 regulates the level of cellular oxidative stress and thereby influences the survival of NSCs. Furthermore, the lack of LRRK2 leads to an up-regulation of neuronal differentiation-inducing processes, including the Let-7a pathway. On the other hand, the constitutive mutant of LRRK2(R1441G), known to cause PD, leads to down-regulation of the same pathway. In agreement with the function of Let-7a during neuronal differentiation, LRRK2-deficient NSCs differentiate faster than wild-type cells, while LRRK2(R1441G)-expressing NSCs show impaired neuronal differentiation. These results might help better characterize the molecular mechanisms underlying the role of LRRK2 in NSCs and would further improve potential cell-replacement strategies as well as drug discovery approaches. [less ▲]

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See detailJAM-C is an apical surface marker for neural stem cells.
Stelzer, Sandra; Worlitzer, Maik M. A.; Bahnassawy, Lamia A et al

in Stem Cells & Development (2012), 21(5), 757-66

Junctional adhesion molecule-C (JAM-C) is an adhesive cell surface protein expressed in various cell types. JAM-C localizes to the apically localized tight junctions (TJs) between contacting endothelial ... [more ▼]

Junctional adhesion molecule-C (JAM-C) is an adhesive cell surface protein expressed in various cell types. JAM-C localizes to the apically localized tight junctions (TJs) between contacting endothelial and epithelial cells, where it contributes to cell-cell adhesions. Just as those epithelial cells, also neural stem cells are highly polarized along their apical-basal axis. The defining feature of all stem cells, including neural stem cells (NSCs) is their ability to self renew. This self-renewal depends on the tight control of symmetric and asymmetric cell divisions. In NSCs, the decision whether a division is symmetric or asymmetric largely depends on the distribution of the apical membrane and cell fate determinants on the basal pole of the cell. In this study we demonstrate that JAM-C is expressed on neural progenitor cells and neural stem cells in the embryonic as well as the adult mouse brain. Furthermore, we demonstrate that in vivo JAM-C shows enrichment at the apical surface and therefore is asymmetrically distributed during cell divisions. These results define JAM-C as a novel surface marker for neural stem cells. [less ▲]

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