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See detailNormal and Pathological NRF2 Signalling in the Central Nervous System
Heurtaux, Tony UL; Bouvier, David S; Benani, Alexandre et al

in Antioxidants (2022), 11(8), 1426

The nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) was originally described as a master regulator of antioxidant cellular response, but in the time since, numerous important biological functions ... [more ▼]

The nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) was originally described as a master regulator of antioxidant cellular response, but in the time since, numerous important biological functions linked to cell survival, cellular detoxification, metabolism, autophagy, proteostasis, inflammation, immunity, and differentiation have been attributed to this pleiotropic transcription factor that regulates hundreds of genes. After 40 years of in-depth research and key discoveries, NRF2 is now at the center of a vast regulatory network, revealing NRF2 signalling as increasingly complex. It is widely recognized that reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a key role in human physiological and pathological processes such as ageing, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. The high oxygen consumption associated with high levels of free iron and oxidizable unsaturated lipids make the brain particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress. A good stability of NRF2 activity is thus crucial to maintain the redox balance and therefore brain homeostasis. In this review, we have gathered recent data about the contribution of the NRF2 pathway in the healthy brain as well as during metabolic diseases, cancer, ageing, and ageing-related neurodegenerative diseases. We also discuss promising therapeutic strategies and the need for better understanding of cell-type-specific functions of NRF2 in these different fields. [less ▲]

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See detailQuantitative trait locus mapping identifies a locus linked to striatal dopamine and points to collagen IV alpha-6 chain as a novel regulator of striatal axonal branching in mice
Thomas, Melanie UL; Gui, Yujuan; Garcia, Pierre UL et al

in Genes, Brain, and Behavior (2021)

Dopaminergic neurons (DA neurons) are controlled by multiple factors, many involved in neurological disease. Parkinson's disease motor symptoms are caused by the demise of nigral DA neurons, leading to ... [more ▼]

Dopaminergic neurons (DA neurons) are controlled by multiple factors, many involved in neurological disease. Parkinson's disease motor symptoms are caused by the demise of nigral DA neurons, leading to loss of striatal dopamine (DA). Here, we measured DA concentration in the dorsal striatum of 32 members of Collaborative Cross (CC) family and their eight founder strains. Striatal DA varied greatly in founders, and differences were highly heritable in the inbred CC progeny. We identified a locus, containing 164 genes, linked to DA concentration in the dorsal striatum on chromosome X. We used RNAseq profiling of the ventral midbrain of two founders with substantial difference in striatal DA–C56BL/6 J and A/J—to highlight potential protein-coding candidates modulating this trait. Among the five differentially expressed genes within the locus, we found that the gene coding for the collagen IV alpha 6 chain (Col4a6) was expressed nine times less in A/J than in C57BL/6J. Using single cell RNA-seq data from developing human midbrain, we found that COL4A6 is highly expressed in radial glia-like cells and neuronal progenitors, indicating a role in neuronal development. Collagen IV alpha-6 chain (COL4A6) controls axogenesis in simple model organisms. Consistent with these findings, A/J mice had less striatal axonal branching than C57BL/6J mice. We tentatively conclude that DA concentration and axonal branching in dorsal striatum are modulated by COL4A6, possibly during development. Our study shows that genetic mapping based on an easily measured Central Nervous System (CNS) trait, using the CC population, combined with follow-up observations, can parse heritability of such a trait, and nominate novel functions for commonly expressed proteins. [less ▲]

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