Our bodies are in constant motion and so are the neurons that invade each tissue. Motion-induced neuron deformation and damage are associated with several neurodegenerative conditions. Here, we investigated the question of how the neuronal cytoskeleton protects axons and dendrites from mechanical stress, exploiting mutations in UNC-70 β-spectrin, PTL-1 tau/MAP2-like and MEC-7 β-tubulin proteins in Caenorhabditis elegans. We found that mechanical stress induces supercoils and plectonemes in the sensory axons of spectrin and tau double mutants. Biophysical measurements, super-resolution and electron microscopy, as well as numerical simulations of neurons as discrete, elastic rods provide evidence that a balance of torque, tension, and elasticity stabilizes neurons against mechanical deformation. We conclude that the spectrin and microtubule cytoskeletons work in combination to protect axons and dendrites from mechanical stress, and propose that defects in -spectrin and tau may sensitize neurons to damage.
- Alexander R Dunn
- Miriam B Goodman
- Michael Krieg
- Kang Shen
- Alexander R Dunn
- Jan Stühmer
- Daniel Cremers
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Anna Akhmanova, Utrecht University, Netherlands
© 2017, Krieg 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.
The GNOM (GN) Guanine nucleotide Exchange Factor for ARF small GTPases (ARF-GEF) is among the best studied trafficking regulators in plants, playing crucial and unique developmental roles in patterning and polarity. The current models place GN at the Golgi apparatus (GA), where it mediates secretion/recycling, and at the plasma membrane (PM) presumably contributing to clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME). The mechanistic basis of the developmental function of GN, distinct from the other ARF-GEFs including its closest homologue GNOM-LIKE1 (GNL1), remains elusive. Insights from this study largely extend the current notions of GN function. We show that GN, but not GNL1, localizes to the cell periphery at long-lived structures distinct from clathrin-coated pits, while CME and secretion proceed normally in gn knockouts. The functional GN mutant variant GNfewerroots, absent from the GA, suggests that the cell periphery is the major site of GN action responsible for its developmental function. Following inhibition by Brefeldin A, GN, but not GNL1, relocates to the PM likely on exocytic vesicles, suggesting selective molecular associations en route to the cell periphery. A study of GN-GNL1 chimeric ARF-GEFs indicates that all GN domains contribute to the specific GN function in a partially redundant manner. Together, this study offers significant steps toward the elucidation of the mechanism underlying unique cellular and development functions of GNOM.
Glucocorticoid-induced osteonecrosis of the femoral head (GONFH) is a common refractory joint disease characterized by bone damage and the collapse of femoral head structure. However, the exact pathological mechanisms of GONFH remain unknown. Here, we observed abnormal osteogenesis and adipogenesis associated with decreased β-catenin in the necrotic femoral head of GONFH patients. In vivo and in vitro studies further revealed that glucocorticoid exposure disrupted osteogenic/adipogenic differentiation of bone marrow mesenchymal cells (BMSCs) by inhibiting β-catenin signaling in glucocorticoid-induced GONFH rats. Col2+ lineage largely contributes to BMSCs and was found an osteogenic commitment in the femoral head through 9 mo of lineage trace. Specific deletion of β-catenin gene (Ctnnb1) in Col2+ cells shifted their commitment from osteoblasts to adipocytes, leading to a full spectrum of disease phenotype of GONFH in adult mice. Overall, we uncover that β-catenin inhibition disrupting the homeostasis of osteogenic/adipogenic differentiation contributes to the development of GONFH and identify an ideal genetic-modified mouse model of GONFH.