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1416 Publications

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    11/13/21 | Molecular, anatomical, and functional organization of lung interoceptors
    Liu Y, Diaz de Arce AJ, Krasnow MA
    bioRxiv. 11/2021:. doi: 10.1101/2021.11.10.468116

    Interoceptors, sensory neurons that monitor internal organs and states, are essential for physiological homeostasis and generating internal perceptions. Here we describe a comprehensive transcriptomic atlas of interoceptors of the mouse lung, defining 10 molecular subtypes that differ in developmental origin, myelination, receptive fields, terminal morphologies, and cell contacts. Each subtype expresses a unique but overlapping combination of sensory receptors that detect diverse physiological and pathological stimuli, and each can signal to distinct sets of lung cells including immune cells, forming a local neuroimmune interaction network. Functional interrogation of two mechanosensory subtypes reveals exquisitely-specific homeostatic roles in breathing, one regulating inspiratory time and the other inspiratory flow. The results suggest that lung interoceptors encode diverse and dynamic sensory information rivaling that of canonical exteroceptors, and this information is used to drive myriad local cellular interactions and enable precision control of breathing, while providing only vague perceptions of organ states.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.

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    06/01/22 | Molecularly defined circuits for cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary control
    Veerakumar A, Yung AR, Liu Y, Krasnow MA
    Nature. 06/2022;606(7915):739 - 746. doi: 10.1038/s41586-022-04760-8

    The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems regulate the activities of internal organs1, but the molecular and functional diversity of their constituent neurons and circuits remains largely unknown. Here we use retrograde neuronal tracing, single-cell RNA sequencing, optogenetics and physiological experiments to dissect the cardiac parasympathetic control circuit in mice. We show that cardiac-innervating neurons in the brainstem nucleus ambiguus (Amb) are comprised of two molecularly, anatomically and functionally distinct subtypes. The first, which we call ambiguus cardiovascular (ACV) neurons (approximately 35 neurons per Amb), define the classical cardiac parasympathetic circuit. They selectively innervate a subset of cardiac parasympathetic ganglion neurons and mediate the baroreceptor reflex, slowing heart rate and atrioventricular node conduction in response to increased blood pressure. The other, ambiguus cardiopulmonary (ACP) neurons (approximately 15 neurons per Amb) innervate cardiac ganglion neurons intermingled with and functionally indistinguishable from those innervated by ACV neurons. ACP neurons also innervate most or all lung parasympathetic ganglion neurons—clonal labelling shows that individual ACP neurons innervate both organs. ACP neurons mediate the dive reflex, the simultaneous bradycardia and bronchoconstriction that follows water immersion. Thus, parasympathetic control of the heart is organized into two parallel circuits, one that selectively controls cardiac function (ACV circuit) and another that coordinates cardiac and pulmonary function (ACP circuit). This new understanding of cardiac control has implications for treating cardiac and pulmonary diseases and for elucidating the control and coordination circuits of other organs.

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    12/07/12 | Sexually Dimorphic BDNF Signaling Directs Sensory Innervation of the Mammary Gland
    Yin Liu , Michael Rutlin , Siyi Huang , Colleen A. Barrick , Fan Wang , Kevin R. Jones , Lino Tessarollo , David D. Ginty
    Science. 12/2012;338:1357-1360. doi: 10.1126/science.1228258

    Male and female mice differ in the neuronal patterns that serve the mammary glands. Yin Liu et al. (p. 1357) now describe how gonadal hormones drive development of distinct male and female sensory innervations. Although both male and female mammary glands develop their sensory innervation similarly in early embryogenesis, once the androgens take effect, the developmental trajectories diverge. By birth, the rich network of sensory neurons present in the female is absent in the male. Androgens cause a switch from expression of the full-length neurotrophin receptor TrkB to its truncated form, TrkB.T1, both of which are expressed on the neurons. In males, truncated TrkB.T1 sequesters brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) from further activity, whereas in females, full-length TrkB binds BDNF and supports neuronal development. Androgen-driven changes in receptor expression disrupt a neuronal signaling pathway and de-innervation. How neural circuits associated with sexually dimorphic organs are differentially assembled during development is unclear. Here, we report a sexually dimorphic pattern of mouse mammary gland sensory innervation and the mechanism of its formation. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), emanating from mammary mesenchyme and signaling through its receptor TrkB on sensory axons, is required for establishing mammary gland sensory innervation of both sexes at early developmental stages. Subsequently, in males, androgens promote mammary mesenchymal expression of a truncated form of TrkB, which prevents BDNF-TrkB signaling in sensory axons and leads to a rapid loss of mammary gland innervation independent of neuronal apoptosis. Thus, sex hormone regulation of a neurotrophic factor signal directs sexually dimorphic axonal growth and maintenance, resulting in generation of a sex-specific neural circuit.

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    10/24/17 | Dual origin of enteric neurons in vagal Schwann cell precursors and the sympathetic neural crest
    Isabel Espinosa-Medina , Ben Jevans , Franck Boismoreau , Zoubida Chettouh , Hideki Enomoto , Thomas Müller , Carmen Birchmeier , Alan J. Burns , Jean-François Brunet
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 10/2017;114:11980-11985. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1710308114

    Most of the enteric nervous system derives from the “vagal” neural crest, lying at the level of somites 1–7, which invades the digestive tract rostro-caudally from the foregut to the hindgut. Little is known about the initial phase of this colonization, which brings enteric precursors into the foregut. Here we show that the “vagal crest” subsumes two populations of enteric precursors with contrasted origins, initial modes of migration, and destinations. Crest cells adjacent to somites 1 and 2 produce Schwann cell precursors that colonize the vagus nerve, which in turn guides them into the esophagus and stomach. Crest cells adjacent to somites 3–7 belong to the crest streams contributing to sympathetic chains: they migrate ventrally, seed the sympathetic chains, and colonize the entire digestive tract thence. Accordingly, enteric ganglia, like sympathetic ones, are atrophic when deprived of signaling through the tyrosine kinase receptor ErbB3, while half of the esophageal ganglia require, like parasympathetic ones, the nerve-associated form of the ErbB3 ligand, Neuregulin-1. These dependencies might bear relevance to Hirschsprung disease, with which alleles of Neuregulin-1 are associated.

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    06/12/14 | Parasympathetic ganglia derive from Schwann cell precursors
    I. Espinosa-Medina , E. Outin , C. A. Picard , Z. Chettouh , S. Dymecki , G. G. Consalez , E. Coppola , J.-F. Brunet
    Science. 06/2014;345:87-90. doi: 10.1126/science.1253286

    The parasympathetic nervous system helps regulate the functions of many tissues and organs, including the salivary glands and the esophagus. To do so, it needs to reach throughout the body, connecting central systems to peripheral ones. Dyachuk et al. and Espinosa-Medina et al. explored how these connections are established in mice (see the Perspective by Kalcheim and Rohrer). Progenitor cells that travel along with the developing nerves can give rise to both myelinforming Schwann cells and to parasympathetic neurons. That means the interacting nerves do not have to find each other. Instead, the beginnings of the connections are laid down as the nervous system develops. Science, this issue p. 82, p. 87; see also p. 32 Parasympathetic neurons are born from Schwann cell precursors located in the nerves that carry preganglionic fibers. [Also see Perspective by Kalcheim and Rohrer] Neural crest cells migrate extensively and give rise to most of the peripheral nervous system, including sympathetic, parasympathetic, enteric, and dorsal root ganglia. We studied how parasympathetic ganglia form close to visceral organs and what their precursors are. We find that many cranial nerve-associated crest cells coexpress the pan-autonomic determinant Paired-like homeodomain 2b (Phox2b) together with markers of Schwann cell precursors. Some give rise to Schwann cells after down-regulation of PHOX2b. Others form parasympathetic ganglia after being guided to the site of ganglion formation by the nerves that carry preganglionic fibers, a parsimonious way of wiring the pathway. Thus, cranial Schwann cell precursors are the source of parasympathetic neurons during normal development.

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    02/28/18 | The "sacral parasympathetic": ontogeny and anatomy of a myth.
    Espinosa-Medina I, Saha O, Boismoreau F, Brunet J
    Clin Auton Res. 2018 02;28(1):13-21. doi: 10.1007/s10286-017-0478-7

    We recently defined genetic traits that distinguish sympathetic from parasympathetic neurons, both preganglionic and ganglionic (Espinosa-Medina et al., Science 354:893-897, 2016). By this set of criteria, we found that the sacral autonomic outflow is sympathetic, not parasympathetic as has been thought for more than a century. Proposing such a belated shift in perspective begs the question why the new criterion (cell types defined by their genetic make-up and dependencies) should be favored over the anatomical, physiological and pharmacological considerations of long ago that inspired the "parasympathetic" classification. After a brief reminder of the former, we expound the weaknesses of the latter and argue that the novel genetic definition helps integrating neglected anatomical and physiological observations and clearing the path for future research.

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    11/18/16 | The sacral autonomic outflow is sympathetic
    I. Espinosa-Medina , O. Saha , F. Boismoreau , Z. Chettouh , F. Rossi , W. D. Richardson , J.-F. Brunet
    Science. 11/2016;354:893-897. doi: 10.1126/science.aah5454

    The autonomic nervous system regulates the function of internal organs such as the gut. The parasympathetic and sympathetic arms of this system tend to operate antagonistically. Espinosa-Medina et al. used anatomical and molecular analyses to reevaluate the assignment of neurons in the sacral autonomic nervous system (see the Perspective by Adameyko). Previously categorized as parasympathetic, these neurons are now identified as sympathetic. The results resolve a persistent confusion about how the two systems developed and open the avenue to more predictable outcomes in developing treatments targeted to the pelvic autonomic nervous system. Science, this issue p. 893; see also p. 833 Contrary to a century-old dogma, the pelvic nerves and ganglia do not belong to the parasympathetic nervous system but to the sympathetic one. A kinship between cranial and pelvic visceral nerves of vertebrates has been accepted for a century. Accordingly, sacral preganglionic neurons are considered parasympathetic, as are their targets in the pelvic ganglia that prominently control rectal, bladder, and genital functions. Here, we uncover 15 phenotypic and ontogenetic features that distinguish pre- and postganglionic neurons of the cranial parasympathetic outflow from those of the thoracolumbar sympathetic outflow in mice. By every single one, the sacral outflow is indistinguishable from the thoracolumbar outflow. Thus, the parasympathetic nervous system receives input from cranial nerves exclusively and the sympathetic nervous system from spinal nerves, thoracic to sacral inclusively. This simplified, bipartite architecture offers a new framework to understand pelvic neurophysiology as well as development and evolution of the autonomic nervous system.

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    09/01/22 | Leveraging the model-experiment loop: Examples from cellular slime mold chemotaxis.
    Zhu X, Hager ER, Huyan C, Sgro AE
    Exp Cell Res. 09/2022;418(1):113218. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2022.113218

    Interplay between models and experimental data advances discovery and understanding in biology, particularly when models generate predictions that allow well-designed experiments to distinguish between alternative mechanisms. To illustrate how this feedback between models and experiments can lead to key insights into biological mechanisms, we explore three examples from cellular slime mold chemotaxis. These examples include studies that identified chemotaxis as the primary mechanism behind slime mold aggregation, discovered that cells likely measure chemoattractant gradients by sensing concentration differences across cell length, and tested the role of cell-associated chemoattractant degradation in shaping chemotactic fields. Although each study used a different model class appropriate to their hypotheses - qualitative, mathematical, or simulation-based - these examples all highlight the utility of modeling to formalize assumptions and generate testable predictions. A central element of this framework is the iterative use of models and experiments, specifically: matching experimental designs to the models, revising models based on mismatches with experimental data, and validating critical model assumptions and predictions with experiments. We advocate for continued use of this interplay between models and experiments to advance biological discovery.

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    09/01/22 | Post-gastrulation synthetic embryos generated ex utero from mouse naive ESCs
    Shadi Tarazi , Alejandro Aguilera-Castrejon , Carine Joubran , Nadir Ghanem , Shahd Ashouokhi , Francesco Roncato , Emilie Wildschutz , Montaser Haddad , Bernardo Oldak , Elidet Gomez-Cesar , Nir Livnat , Sergey Viukov , Dmitry Lokshtanov , Segev Naveh-Tassa , Max Rose , Suhair Hanna , Calanit Raanan , Ori Brenner , Merav Kedmi , Hadas Keren-Shaul , Tsvee Lapidot , Itay Maza , Noa Novershtern , Jacob H. Hanna
    Cell. 09/2022;185:3290-3306.e25. doi:

    Summary In vitro cultured stem cells with distinct developmental capacities can contribute to embryonic or extraembryonic tissues after microinjection into pre-implantation mammalian embryos. However, whether cultured stem cells can independently give rise to entire gastrulating embryo-like structures with embryonic and extraembryonic compartments remains unknown. Here, we adapt a recently established platform for prolonged ex utero growth of natural embryos to generate mouse post-gastrulation synthetic whole embryo models (sEmbryos), with both embryonic and extraembryonic compartments, starting solely from naive ESCs. This was achieved by co-aggregating non-transduced ESCs, with naive ESCs transiently expressing Cdx2 or Gata4 to promote their priming toward trophectoderm and primitive endoderm lineages, respectively. sEmbryos adequately accomplish gastrulation, advance through key developmental milestones, and develop organ progenitors within complex extraembryonic compartments similar to E8.5 stage mouse embryos. Our findings highlight the plastic potential of naive pluripotent cells to self-organize and functionally reconstitute and model the entire mammalian embryo beyond gastrulation.

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    07/22/22 | A viral toolbox for conditional and transneuronal gene expression in zebrafish
    Satou C, Neve RL, Oyibo HK, Zmarz P, Huang K, Arn Bouldoires E, Mori T, Higashijima S, Keller GB, Friedrich RW, Bagnall MW, Stainier DY, Jin L
    eLife. 07/2022;11:e77153. doi: 10.7554/eLife.77153

    The zebrafish is an important model in systems neuroscience but viral tools to dissect the structure and function of neuronal circuitry are not established. We developed methods for efficient gene transfer and retrograde tracing in adult and larval zebrafish by herpes simplex viruses (HSV1). HSV1 was combined with the Gal4/UAS system to target cell types with high spatial, temporal, and molecular specificity. We also established methods for efficient transneuronal tracing by modified rabies viruses in zebrafish. We demonstrate that HSV1 and rabies viruses can be used to visualize and manipulate genetically or anatomically identified neurons within and across different brain areas of adult and larval zebrafish. An expandable library of viruses is provided to express fluorescent proteins, calcium indicators, optogenetic probes, toxins and other molecular tools. This toolbox creates new opportunities to interrogate neuronal circuits in zebrafish through combinations of genetic and viral approaches.

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