The neuron specific RNA-binding proteins NOVA1 and NOVA2 are highly homologous alternative splicing regulators. NOVA proteins regulate at least 700 alternative splicing events in vivo, yet relatively little is known about the biologic consequences of NOVA action and in particular about functional differences between NOVA1 and NOVA2. Transcriptome-wide searches for isoform-specific functions, using NOVA1 and NOVA2 specific HITS-CLIP and RNA-seq data from mouse cortex lacking either NOVA isoform, reveals that NOVA2 uniquely regulates alternative splicing events of a series of axon guidance related genes during cortical development. Corresponding axonal pathfinding defects were specific to NOVA2 deficiency: Nova2-/- but not Nova1-/- mice had agenesis of the corpus callosum, and axonal outgrowth defects specific to ventral motoneuron axons and efferent innervation of the cochlea. Thus we have discovered that NOVA2 uniquely regulates alternative splicing of a coordinate set of transcripts encoding key components in cortical, brainstem and spinal axon guidance/outgrowth pathways during neural differentiation, with severe functional consequences in vivo.
Animal experimentation: This studies were performed in compliance with protocols (#14678 and #07069) approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) of the Rockefeller University or with protocols (13-185 and 15-002) approved by the Comité de déontologie de l'expérimentation sur les animaux (CDEA) of the Univeristy of Montreal.
- Huda Y Zoghbi, Baylor College of Medicine, United States
© 2016, Saito et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Even though human experience unfolds continuously in time, it is not strictly linear; instead, it entails cascading processes building hierarchical cognitive structures. For instance, during speech perception, humans transform a continuously varying acoustic signal into phonemes, words, and meaning, and these levels all have distinct but interdependent temporal structures. Time-lagged regression using temporal response functions (TRFs) has recently emerged as a promising tool for disentangling electrophysiological brain responses related to such complex models of perception. Here we introduce the Eelbrain Python toolkit, which makes this kind of analysis easy and accessible. We demonstrate its use, using continuous speech as a sample paradigm, with a freely available EEG dataset of audiobook listening. A companion GitHub repository provides the complete source code for the analysis, from raw data to group level statistics. More generally, we advocate a hypothesis-driven approach in which the experimenter specifies a hierarchy of time-continuous representations that are hypothesized to have contributed to brain responses, and uses those as predictor variables for the electrophysiological signal. This is analogous to a multiple regression problem, but with the addition of a time dimension. TRF analysis decomposes the brain signal into distinct responses associated with the different predictor variables by estimating a multivariate TRF (mTRF), quantifying the influence of each predictor on brain responses as a function of time(-lags). This allows asking two questions about the predictor variables: 1) Is there a significant neural representation corresponding to this predictor variable? And if so, 2) what are the temporal characteristics of the neural response associated with it? Thus, different predictor variables can be systematically combined and evaluated to jointly model neural processing at multiple hierarchical levels. We discuss applications of this approach, including the potential for linking algorithmic/representational theories at different cognitive levels to brain responses through computational models with appropriate linking hypotheses.
The functional complementarity of the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) and optokinetic reflex (OKR) allows for optimal combined gaze stabilization responses (CGR) in light. While sensory substitution has been reported following complete vestibular loss, the capacity of the central vestibular system to compensate for partial peripheral vestibular loss remains to be determined. Here, we first demonstrate the efficacy of a 6-week subchronic ototoxic protocol in inducing transient and partial vestibular loss which equally affects the canal- and otolith-dependent VORs. Immunostaining of hair cells in the vestibular sensory epithelia revealed that organ-specific alteration of type I, but not type II, hair cells correlates with functional impairments. The decrease in VOR performance is paralleled with an increase in the gain of the OKR occurring in a specific range of frequencies where VOR normally dominates gaze stabilization, compatible with a sensory substitution process. Comparison of unimodal OKR or VOR versus bimodal CGR revealed that visuo-vestibular interactions remain reduced despite a significant recovery in the VOR. Modeling and sweep-based analysis revealed that the differential capacity to optimally combine OKR and VOR correlates with the reproducibility of the VOR responses. Overall, these results shed light on the multisensory reweighting occurring in pathologies with fluctuating peripheral vestibular malfunction.