The medial subnucleus of the amygdala (MeA) plays a central role in processing sensory cues required for innate behaviors. However, whether there is a link between developmental programs and the emergence of inborn behaviors remains unknown. Our previous studies revealed that the telencephalic preoptic area (POA) embryonic niche is a novel source of MeA destined progenitors. Here, we show that the POA is comprised of distinct progenitor pools complementarily marked by the transcription factors Dbx1 and Foxp2. As determined by molecular and electrophysiological criteria this embryonic parcellation predicts postnatal MeA inhibitory neuronal subtype identity. We further find that Dbx1-derived and Foxp2+ cells in the MeA are differentially activated in response to innate behavioral cues in a sex-specific manner. Thus, developmental transcription factor expression is predictive of MeA neuronal identity and sex-specific neuronal responses, providing a potential developmental logic for how innate behaviors could be processed by different MeA neuronal subtypes.
- Joshua G Corbin
- Joshua G Corbin
- Joshua G Corbin
- Katie Sokolowski
- Judy Liu
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All animal procedures were approved by the Children's National Medical Center's Institutional Animal Care (Animal Welfare Assurance Number: A3338-01) and Use Committee (IACUC) protocols (#00030435) and conformed to NIH Guidelines for animal use. All surgery was performed under ketamine/xylazine cocktail anesthesia, and every effort was made to minimize suffering.
- Carol A Mason, Columbia University, United States
© 2017, Lischinsky 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.
Drosophila melanogaster reproductive behaviors are orchestrated by fruitless neurons. We performed single-cell RNA-sequencing on pupal neurons that produce sex-specifically spliced fru transcripts, the fru P1-expressing neurons. Uniform Manifold Approximation and Projection (UMAP) with clustering generates an atlas containing 113 clusters. While the male and female neurons overlap in UMAP space, more than half the clusters have sex differences in neuron number, and nearly all clusters display sex-differential expression. Based on an examination of enriched marker genes, we annotate clusters as circadian clock neurons, mushroom body Kenyon cell neurons, neurotransmitter- and/or neuropeptide-producing, and those that express doublesex. Marker gene analyses also show that genes that encode members of the immunoglobulin superfamily of cell adhesion molecules, transcription factors, neuropeptides, neuropeptide receptors, and Wnts have unique patterns of enriched expression across the clusters. In vivo spatial gene expression links to the clusters are examined. A functional analysis of fru P1 circadian neurons shows they have dimorphic roles in activity and period length. Given that most clusters are comprised of male and female neurons indicates that the sexes have fru P1 neurons with common gene expression programs. Sex-specific expression is overlaid on this program, to build the potential for vastly different sex-specific behaviors.
Infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy (INAD) is caused by recessive variants in PLA2G6 and is a lethal pediatric neurodegenerative disorder. Loss of the Drosophila homolog of PLA2G6, leads to ceramide accumulation, lysosome expansion, and mitochondrial defects. Here, we report that retromer function, ceramide metabolism, the endolysosomal pathway, and mitochondrial morphology are affected in INAD patient-derived neurons. We show that in INAD mouse models, the same features are affected in Purkinje cells, arguing that the neuropathological mechanisms are evolutionary conserved and that these features can be used as biomarkers. We tested 20 drugs that target these pathways and found that Ambroxol, Desipramine, Azoramide, and Genistein alleviate neurodegenerative phenotypes in INAD flies and INAD patient-derived neural progenitor cells. We also develop an AAV-based gene therapy approach that delays neurodegeneration and prolongs lifespan in an INAD mouse model.