I'm a Doctoral Candidate in the Biomedical Sciences PhD program at Florida State University
Research related to GABA neurogenesis, differentiation, and migration during early brain development
Brain development is a process tightly regulated by signals from various neurotransmitters, and even small deviations in these signals can have a profound impact on overall development of the brain and behavior. A common theme underlying the etiology and patho-physiology of neurological and psychiatric disorders with developmental onset such as schizophrenia, ADHD, autism and early onset dystonia, is perturbation of the GABA neurotransmitter systems during brain development. Yet, little is known about the molecular mechanisms that underlie the pathology in these disorders.
During early embryonic corticogenesis, neurons migrate from the sites of origin near the ventricles to their final destinations via radial or tangential migratory pathways. In particular, virtually all GABA neurons of the dorsal forebrain are produced in the ganglionic eminence of the basal forebrain and migrate tangentially to regions of the dorsal forebrain.
The research in my lab aims to elucidate the mechanisms that underlie GABA migration during early brain development and to better understand how drugs of abuse can alter the GABAergic system during this both sensitive and critical period of brain development.
Abstract: The migration of cortical interneurons is characterized by extensive morphological changes that result from successive cycles of nucleokinesis and neurite branching. Their molecular bases remain elusive, and the present work describes how p27(Kip1) controls cell-cycle-unrelated signaling pathways to regulate these morphological remodelings. Live imaging reveals that interneurons lacking p27(Kip1) show delayed tangential migration resulting from defects in both nucleokinesis and dynamic branching of the leading process. At the molecular level, p27(Kip1) is a microtubule-associated protein that promotes polymerization of microtubules in extending neurites, thereby contributing to tangential migration. Furthermore, we show that p27(Kip1) controls actomyosin contractions that drive both forward translocation of the nucleus and growth cone splitting. Thus, p27(Kip1) cell-autonomously controls nucleokinesis and neurite branching by regulating both actin and microtubule cytoskeletons.
Pub.: 02 Oct '12, Pinned: 31 Aug '17
Abstract: Neuronal migration, a key event during brain development, remains largely unexplored in the mesencephalon, where dopaminergic (DA) and GABA neurons constitute two major neuronal populations. Here we study the migrational trajectories of DA and GABA neurons and show that they occupy ventral mesencephalic territory in a temporally and spatially specific manner. Our results from the Pitx3-deficient aphakia mouse suggest that pre-existing DA neurons modulate GABA neuronal migration to their final destination, providing novel insights and fresh perspectives concerning neuronal migration and connectivity in the mesencephalon in normal as well as diseased brains.
Pub.: 09 Aug '12, Pinned: 31 Aug '17
Abstract: Interneurons and projection neurons in the lumbar spinal cord of mouse and rat embryos were labeled retrogradely with fluorescent dextran amines from a distance of one segment from the segment of origin [lumbar segment (L) 2]. Six classes with specific axonal projections (ipsilateral ascending, descending, and bifurcating, and commissural ascending, descending, and bifurcating) were identified by differential labeling in both species and followed from embryonic day (E)12 to birth in the mouse. Neurons with shorter projections (intrasegmental interneurons) were not studied. We show that the four nonbifurcating neuron classes occupy characteristic, partially overlapping domains in the transverse plane, indicating a systematic pattern of migration and settlement related to axon trajectories. The number of neurons in each of the nonbifurcating classes increased steadily during development. Bifurcating neurons represented a minor fraction of the total throughout development and had relatively scattered positions within the ipsilateral and commissural neuron domains. Combination of retrograde tracing and immunohistochemistry for the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) showed that none of the spinal neurons in the six projection-specific classes was GABA positive, suggesting that all GABA-positive spinal neurons, including previously described GABA-positive commissural neurons, are unlikely to have projections exceeding one or two segments in either direction.
Pub.: 27 Jan '05, Pinned: 31 Aug '17
Abstract: During development, GABA exerts depolarizing action on immature neurons and, acting in synergy with glutamate, drives giant depolarizing potentials (GDPs) in the hippocampal network. Yet, blockade of the GABA(A) receptors transforms GDPs to epileptiform discharges suggesting dual, both excitatory and inhibitory, actions of GABA in the immature hippocampal network. However, the nature of this dualism in early GABA actions is poorly understood. Here we characterized the dynamics of synaptic currents mediated by GABA(A) and glutamate receptors through an estimation of the changes in their conductance and driving forces in neonatal rat CA3 pyramidal cells during GDPs. We found that depolarizing GABAergic and glutamatergic currents act in synergy at the GDPs' onset. However, during the peak of the population discharge, the inward synaptic current was essentially mediated by glutamate receptors whereas GABA currents transiently switched their direction from depolarizing to hyperpolarizing as a result of neuronal depolarization above the GABA(A) reversal potential. Thus, the action of GABA on CA3 pyramidal cells dynamically changes during GDPs from excitatory at the GDPs' onset to inhibitory at the GDPs' peak. We propose that the dynamic changes in GABA actions occurring during GDPs enable GABAergic interneurons not only to initiate the discharge of pyramidal cells but also to control excitation in the recurrent CA3 network preventing epileptiform synchronization.During development GABA exerts a depolarizing action on immature neurons. However, at the network level the effects of GABA are complex involving both excitatory and inhibitory actions. Here we show that GABA actions critically depend on the network state. Although GABA depolarizes neurons at rest and at the onset of population bursts, it transiently becomes hyperpolarizing at the peak of the population bursts. These dynamic changes in GABA actions enable GABAergic interneurons not only to initiate the network discharge but also to control excitation to prevent epileptiform synchronization.
Pub.: 18 Sep '15, Pinned: 31 Aug '17
Abstract: Spontaneously generated network activity is a hallmark of developing neural circuits, and plays an important role in the formation of synaptic connections. In the rodent hippocampus, this activity is observed in vitro as giant depolarizing potentials (GDPs) during the first postnatal week. Interneurons importantly contribute to GDPs, due to the depolarizing actions of GABA early in development. While they are highly diverse, cortical interneurons can be segregated into two distinct groups based on their embryonic lineage from either the medial or caudal ganglionic eminences (MGE and CGE). There is evidence suggesting CGE-derived interneurons are important for GDP generation; however, their contribution relative to those from the MGE has never been directly tested. Here, we optogenetically inhibited either MGE- or CGE-derived interneurons in a region-specific manner in mouse neonatal hippocampus in vitro. In CA1, where interneurons are the primary source of recurrent excitation, we found that those from the MGE strongly and preferentially contributed to GDP generation. Furthermore, in dual whole-cell patch recordings in neonatal CA1, MGE interneurons formed synaptic connections to and from neighboring pyramidal cells at a much higher rate than those from the CGE. These MGE interneurons were commonly perisomatic targeting, in contrast to those from the CGE, which were dendrite targeting. Finally, inhibiting MGE interneurons in CA1 suppressed GDPs in CA3 and vice versa; conversely, they could also trigger GDPs in CA1 that propagated to CA3 and vice versa. Our data demonstrate a key role for MGE-derived interneurons in both generating and coordinating GDPs across the hippocampus.During nervous system development, immature circuits internally generate rhythmic patterns of electrical activity that promote the establishment of synaptic connections. Immature interneurons are excitatory rather than inhibitory and actively contribute to the generation of these spontaneous network events, referred to as giant depolarizing potentials (GDPs) in the hippocampus. Interneurons can be generally separated into two distinct groups based on their origin in the embryo from the medial or caudal ganglionic eminences (MGE and CGE). Here we show that MGE interneurons play a dominant role in generating GDPs compared with their CGE counterparts. They accomplish this due to their high synaptic connectivity within the local circuitry. Finally, they can control network activity across large regions of the developing hippocampus.
Pub.: 05 Mar '16, Pinned: 31 Aug '17
Abstract: A core component to corticolimbic circuitry is the GABAergic interneuron. Neuroanatomic studies conducted over the past century have demonstrated several subtypes of interneuron defined by characteristic morphological appearances in Golgi-stained preparations. More recently, both cytochemical and electrophysiological techniques have defined various subtypes of GABA neuron according to synaptic connections, electrophysiological properties and neuropeptide content. These cells provide both inhibitory and disinhibitory modulation of cortical and hippocampal circuits and contribute to the generation of oscillatory rhythms, discriminative information processing and gating of sensory information within the corticolimbic system. All of these functions are abnormal in schizophrenia. Recent postmortem studies have provided consistent evidence that a defect of GABAergic neurotransmission probably plays a role in both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Many now believe that such a disturbance may be related to a perturbation of early development, one that may result in a disturbance of cell migration and the formation of normal lamination. The ingrowth of extrinsic afferents, such as the mesocortical dopamine projections, may "trigger" the appearance of a defective GABA system, particularly under stressful conditions when the modulation of the dopamine system is likely to be altered. Based on the regional and subregional distribution of changes in GABA cells in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, it has been postulated that the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala may contribute to these abnormalities through an increased flow of excitatory activity. By using "partial" modeling, changes in the GABA system remarkably similar to those seen in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have been induced in rat hippocampus. In the years to come, continued investigations of the GABA system in rodent, primate and human brain and the characterization of changes in specific phenotypic subclasses of interneurons in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder will undoubtedly provide important new insights into how the integration of this transmitter system may be altered in neuropsychiatric disease.
Pub.: 30 May '01, Pinned: 04 Aug '17
Abstract: Recurrent exposure of the developing fetus to cocaine produces persistent alterations in structure and function of the cerebral cortex. Neurons of the cerebral cortex are derived from two sources: projection neurons from the neuroepithelium of the dorsal pallium and interneurons from the ganglionic eminence of the basal telencephalon. The interneurons are GABAergic and reach the cerebral cortex via a tangential migratory pathway. We found that recurrent, transplacental exposure of mouse embryos to cocaine from embryonic day 8 to 15 decreases tangential neuronal migration and results in deficits in GABAergic neuronal populations in the embryonic cerebral wall. GABAergic neurons of the olfactory bulb, which are derived from the ganglionic eminence via the rostral migratory pathway, are not affected by the cocaine exposure suggesting a degree of specificity in the effects of cocaine on neuronal migration. Thus, one mechanism by which prenatal cocaine exposure exerts deleterious effects on cerebral cortical development may be by decreasing GABAergic neuronal migration from the ganglionic eminence to the cerebral wall. The decreased GABA neuron migration may contribute to persistent structural and functional deficits observed in the exposed offspring.
Pub.: 01 Apr '04, Pinned: 04 Aug '17
Abstract: Cortical maturation is associated with a series of developmental programs encompassing neuronal and network-driven patterns. Thus, voltage-gated and synapse-driven ionic currents are very different in immature and adult neurons with slower kinetics in the former than in the latter. These features are neuron and developmental stage dependent. GABA, which is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in adult brain, depolarizes and excites immature neurons and its actions are thought to exert a trophic role in developmental processes. Networks follow a parallel sequence with voltage-gated calcium currents followed by calcium plateaux and synapse-driven patterns in vitro. In vivo, early activity exhibits discontinuous temporal organization with alternating bursts. Early cortical patterns are driven by sensory input from the periphery providing a basis for activity-dependent modulation of the cortical networks formation. These features and notably the excitatory GABA underlie the high susceptibility of immature neurons to seizures. Alterations of these sequences play a central role in developmental malformations, notably migration disorders and associated neurological sequelae.
Pub.: 30 Apr '13, Pinned: 04 Aug '17
Abstract: Neurons using gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) as their neurotransmitter are the main inhibitory neurons in the mature central nervous system (CNS) and show great variation in their form and function. GABAergic neurons are produced in all of the main domains of the CNS, where they develop from discrete regions of the neuroepithelium. Here, we review the gene expression and regulatory mechanisms controlling the main steps of GABAergic neuron development: early patterning of the proliferative neuroepithelium, production of postmitotic neural precursors, establishment of their identity and migration. By comparing the molecular regulation of these events across CNS, we broadly identify three regions utilizing distinct molecular toolkits for GABAergic fate determination: telencephalon-anterior diencephalon (DLX2 type), posterior diencephalon-midbrain (GATA2 type) and hindbrain-spinal cord (PTF1A and TAL1 types). Similarities and differences in the molecular regulatory mechanisms reveal the core determinants of a GABAergic neuron as well as provide insights into generation of the vast diversity of these neurons.
Pub.: 08 Nov '13, Pinned: 04 Aug '17
Abstract: Neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutiric acid (GABA) through ionotropic GABAA and metabotropic GABAB receptors plays key roles in modulating the development, plasticity and function of neuronal networks. GABA is inhibitory in mature neurons but excitatory in immature neurons, neuroblasts and neural stem/progenitor cells (NSCs/NPCs). The switch from excitatory to inhibitory occurs following the development of glutamatergic synaptic input and results from the dynamic changes in the expression of Na(+)/K(+)/2Cl(-) co-transporter NKCC1 driving Cl(-) influx and neuron-specific K(+)/Cl(-) co-transporter KCC2 driving Cl(-) efflux. The developmental transition of KCC2 expression is regulated by Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling. The excitatory GABA signaling during early neurogenesis is important to the activity/experience-induced regulation of NSC quiescence, NPC proliferation, neuroblast migration and newborn neuronal maturation/functional integration. The inhibitory GABA signaling allows for the sparse and static functional networking essential for learning/memory development and maintenance.
Pub.: 29 Nov '13, Pinned: 04 Aug '17
Abstract: The development of the neocortex requires the synergic action of several secreted molecules to achieve the right amount of proliferation, differentiation and migration of neural cells. Neurons are well known to release neurotransmitters (NTs) in adult and a growing body of evidences describes the presence of NTs already in the embryonic brain, long before the generation of synapses. NTs are classified as inhibitory or excitatory based on the physiological responses of the target neuron. However, this view is challenged by the fact that glycine and GABA NTs are excitatory during development. Many reviews have described the role of non-hyperpolarizing GABA at this stage. Nevertheless, a global consideration of the inhibitory neurotransmitters and their downstream signalling during the embryonic cortical development is still needed. For example taurine, the most abundant neurotransmitter during development is poorly studied regarding its role during cortical development. In the light of recent discoveries, we will discuss the functions of glycine, GABA and taurine during embryonic cortical development with an emphasis on their downstream signalling. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Pub.: 10 Mar '17, Pinned: 04 Aug '17
Abstract: In the immature brain, GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is excitatory, and GABA-releasing synapses are formed before glutamatergic contacts in a wide range of species and structures. GABA becomes inhibitory by the delayed expression of a chloride exporter, leading to a negative shift in the reversal potential for choride ions. I propose that this mechanism provides a solution to the problem of how to excite developing neurons to promote growth and synapse formation while avoiding the potentially toxic effects of a mismatch between GABA-mediated inhibition and glutamatergic excitation. As key elements of this cascade are activity dependent, the formation of inhibition adds an element of nurture to the construction of cortical networks.
Pub.: 05 Sep '02, Pinned: 21 Jul '17
Abstract: Several lines of evidence suggest that the transient subplate zone of the embryonic mammalian telencephalon could influence cortical development through synaptic or trophic interactions with growing cortical afferents and migrating neurons. Since such interactions may involve neurotransmitters and their receptor molecules, we have examined the expression of GABA and subunits of the GABAA/benzodiazepine receptor complex in the occipital lobe of embryonic rhesus monkeys by immunochemistry and in situ hybridization. We found that during the second half of gestation, when the subplate zone reaches peak maturity in this species, many neurons can be immunolabeled with both GABA antisera and monoclonal antibodies against GABAA receptor subunits. The most robust labeling occurs at approximately embryonic day (E)125 (birth is at E165). Electron microscopic observations of receptor subunit-immunolabeled material confirmed that subunits of the GABAA receptor are localized in the subplate neurons and their dendritic processes. In many instances the reaction product is associated with the plasma membranes of labeled processes, some of which form symmetrical synapses with small unlabeled axon terminals. The results of in situ hybridization are in accord with the results of receptor subunit immunochemistry. From E80 to E141, hybridization signal for GABAA receptor subunit mRNA occurs in the subplate zone and increases steadily to peak levels between E125 and E141. The present results reveal that all the elements necessary for the formation of functional GABAergic synaptic circuitry are present in the subplate zone. Further, the ages showing the most pronounced receptor and transmitter expression in this primate coincide with the ingrowth of major cortical afferent systems. Taken together, these findings suggest that GABAergic local neuronal circuits in the subplate may be involved in the development of long tract connections stationed in this zone prior to their transfer to the overlying cortical plate.
Pub.: 01 Mar '92, Pinned: 14 Jul '17
Abstract: Dopamine receptors are the principal targets of drugs used in the treatment of schizophrenia. Among the five mammalian dopamine-receptor subtypes, the D4 subtype is of particular interest because of its high affinity for the atypical neuroleptic clozapine. Interest in clozapine stems from its effectiveness in reducing positive and negative symptoms in acutely psychotic and treatment-resistant schizophrenic patients without eliciting extrapyramidal side effects. We have produced a subtype-specific antibody against the D4 receptor and localized it within specific cellular elements and synaptic circuits of the central nervous system. The D4-receptor antibody labelled GABAergic neurons in the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, thalamic reticular nucleus, globus pallidus and the substantia nigra (pars reticulata). Labelling was also observed in a subset of cortical pyramidal cells. Our findings suggest that clozapine's beneficial effects in schizophrenia may be achieved, in part, through D4-mediated GABA modulation, possibly implicating disinhibition of excitatory transmission in intrinsic cortical, thalamocortical and extrapyramidal pathways.
Pub.: 16 May '96, Pinned: 14 Jul '17
Abstract: The mammalian neocortex contains two major classes of neurons, projection and local circuit neurons. Projection neurons contain the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate, while local circuit neurons are inhibitory, containing GABA. The complex function of neocortical circuitry depends on the number and diversity of GABAergic (gamma-aminobutyric-acid-releasing) local circuit neurons. Using retroviral labelling in organotypic slice cultures of the embryonic human forebrain, we demonstrate the existence of two distinct lineages of neocortical GABAergic neurons. One lineage expresses Dlx1/2 and Mash1 transcription factors, represents 65% of neocortical GABAergic neurons in humans, and originates from Mash1-expressing progenitors of the neocortical ventricular and subventricular zone of the dorsal forebrain. The second lineage, characterized by the expression of Dlx1/2 but not Mash1, forms around 35% of the GABAergic neurons and originates from the ganglionic eminence of the ventral forebrain. We suggest that modifications in the expression pattern of transcription factors in the forebrain may underlie species-specific programmes for the generation of neocortical local circuit neurons and that distinct lineages of cortical interneurons may be differentially affected in genetic and acquired diseases of the human brain.
Pub.: 07 Jun '02, Pinned: 14 Jul '17
Abstract: Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic interneurons play a vital role in modulating the activity of the cerebral cortex, and disruptions to their function have been linked to neurological disorders such as schizophrenia and epilepsy. These cells originate in the ganglionic eminences (GE) of the ventral telencephalon and undergo tangential migration to enter the cortex. Currently, little is known about the signaling mechanisms that regulate interneuron migration. We therefore performed a microarray analysis comparing the changes in gene expression between the GABAergic interneurons that are actively migrating into the cortex with those in the GE. We were able to isolate pure populations of GABAergic cells by fluorescence-activated cell sorting of cortex and GE from embryonic brains of glutamate decarboxylase 67 (GAD67)-green fluorescent protein (GFP) transgenic mice. Our microarray analysis identified a number of novel genes that were upregulated in migrating cortical interneurons at both E13.5 and E15.5. Many of these genes have previously been shown to play a role in cell migration of both neuronal and non-neuronal cell types. In addition, several of the genes identified are involved in the regulation of migratory processes, such as neurite outgrowth, cell adhesion, and remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton and microtubule network. Moreover, quantitative polymerase chain reaction and in situ hybridization analyses confirmed that the expression of some of these genes is restricted to cortical interneurons. These data therefore provide a framework for future studies aimed at elucidating the complexities of interneuron migration and, in turn, may reveal important genes that are related to the development of specific neurological disorders.
Pub.: 13 Feb '10, Pinned: 14 Jul '17