Illuminating the role of Cul3 in autism spectrum disorder pathogenesis

By: Morandell, Jasmin
Material type: TextTextPublisher: IST Austria 2020Online resources: Click here to access online
Contents:
Abstract
Acknowledgments
About the Author
List of Publications
List of Figures
List of Supplementary Tables
List of Symbols/Abbreviations
1 Introduction
2 Autism as neurodevelopmental disorder
3 Convergence in ASD and implications for treatment
4 Illuminating the role of Cul3 in ASD pathogens
5 Concluding remarks and perspectives
6 Supplementary information
References
Summary: The development of the human brain occurs through a tightly regulated series of dynamic and adaptive processes during prenatal and postnatal life. A disruption of this strictly orchestrated series of events can lead to a number of neurodevelopmental conditions, including Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). ASDs are a very common, etiologically and phenotypically heterogeneous group of disorders sharing the core symptoms of social interaction and communication deficits and restrictive and repetitive interests and behaviors. They are estimated to affect one in 59 individuals in the U.S. and, over the last three decades, mutations in more than a hundred genetic loci have been convincingly linked to ASD pathogenesis. Yet, for the vast majority of these ASD-risk genes their role during brain development and precise molecular function still remain elusive. De novo loss of function mutations in the ubiquitin ligase-encoding gene Cullin 3 (CUL3) lead to ASD. In the study described here, we used Cul3 mouse models to evaluate the consequences of Cul3 mutations in vivo. Our results show that Cul3 heterozygous knockout mice exhibit deficits in motor coordination as well as ASD-relevant social and cognitive impairments. Cul3+/-, Cul3+/fl Emx1-Cre and Cul3fl/fl Emx1-Cre mutant brains display cortical lamination abnormalities due to defective migration of post-mitotic excitatory neurons, as well as reduced numbers of excitatory and inhibitory neurons. In line with the observed abnormal cortical organization, Cul3 heterozygous deletion is associated with decreased spontaneous excitatory and inhibitory activity in the cortex. At the molecular level we show that Cul3 regulates cytoskeletal and adhesion protein abundance in the mouse embryonic cortex. Abnormal regulation of cytoskeletal proteins in Cul3 mutant neural cells results in atypical organization of the actin mesh at the cell leading edge. Of note, heterozygous deletion of Cul3 in adult mice does not induce the majority of the behavioral defects observed in constitutive Cul3 haploinsufficient animals, pointing to a critical time-window for Cul3 deficiency. In conclusion, our data indicate that Cul3 plays a critical role in the regulation of cytoskeletal proteins and neuronal migration. ASD-associated defects and behavioral abnormalities are primarily due to dosage sensitive Cul3 functions at early brain developmental stages.
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Thesis

Abstract

Acknowledgments

About the Author

List of Publications

List of Figures

List of Supplementary Tables

List of Symbols/Abbreviations

1 Introduction

2 Autism as neurodevelopmental disorder

3 Convergence in ASD and implications for treatment

4 Illuminating the role of Cul3 in ASD pathogens

5 Concluding remarks and perspectives

6 Supplementary information

References

The development of the human brain occurs through a tightly regulated series of dynamic and adaptive processes during prenatal and postnatal life. A disruption of this strictly orchestrated series of events can lead to a number of neurodevelopmental conditions, including Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). ASDs are a very common, etiologically and phenotypically heterogeneous group of disorders sharing the core symptoms of social interaction and communication deficits and restrictive and repetitive interests and behaviors. They are estimated to affect one in 59 individuals in the U.S. and, over the last three decades, mutations in more than a hundred genetic loci have been convincingly linked to ASD pathogenesis. Yet, for the vast majority of these ASD-risk genes their role during brain development and precise molecular function still remain elusive. De novo loss of function mutations in the ubiquitin ligase-encoding gene Cullin 3 (CUL3) lead to ASD. In the study described here, we used Cul3 mouse models to evaluate the consequences of Cul3 mutations in vivo. Our results show that Cul3 heterozygous knockout mice exhibit deficits in motor coordination as well as ASD-relevant social and cognitive impairments. Cul3+/-, Cul3+/fl Emx1-Cre and Cul3fl/fl Emx1-Cre mutant brains display cortical lamination abnormalities due to defective migration of post-mitotic excitatory neurons, as well as reduced numbers of excitatory and inhibitory neurons. In line with the observed abnormal cortical organization, Cul3 heterozygous deletion is associated with decreased spontaneous excitatory and inhibitory activity in the cortex. At the molecular level we show that Cul3 regulates cytoskeletal and adhesion protein abundance in the mouse embryonic cortex. Abnormal regulation of cytoskeletal proteins in Cul3 mutant neural cells results in atypical organization of the actin mesh at the cell leading edge. Of note, heterozygous deletion of Cul3 in adult mice does not induce the majority of the behavioral defects observed in constitutive Cul3 haploinsufficient animals, pointing to a critical time-window for Cul3 deficiency. In conclusion, our data indicate that Cul3 plays a critical role in the regulation of cytoskeletal proteins and neuronal migration. ASD-associated defects and behavioral abnormalities are primarily due to dosage sensitive Cul3 functions at early brain developmental stages.

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