Doctor of Philosophy, Tel-Aviv University (2017)
To gain unfettered insight into one of the scourges of our aging societies, Mathys and colleagues in Nature (Mathys etal., 2019) illuminate the brain transcriptome of Alzheimer's disease at single-cell resolution. Their findings implicate oligodendrocytes, a cell type largely neglected in Alzheimer's disease research, and sex in the disease in intriguing ways.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.immuni.2019.05.016
View details for PubMedID 31216459
Microglia maintain homeostasis in the central nervous system through phagocytic clearance of protein aggregates and cellular debris. This function deteriorates during ageing and neurodegenerative disease, concomitant with cognitive decline. However, the mechanisms of impaired microglial homeostatic function and the cognitive effects of restoring this function remain unknown. We combined CRISPR-Cas9 knockout screens with RNAsequencing analysis to discover age-related genetic modifiers of microglial phagocytosis. These screens identified CD22, a canonical Bcell receptor, as a negative regulator of phagocytosis that is upregulated on aged microglia. CD22 mediates the anti-phagocytic effect of alpha2,6-linked sialic acid, and inhibition of CD22 promotes the clearance of myelin debris, amyloid-beta oligomers and alpha-synuclein fibrils in vivo. Long-term central nervous system delivery of an antibody that blocks CD22 function reprograms microglia towards a homeostatic transcriptional state and improves cognitive function in aged mice. These findings elucidate a mechanism of age-related microglial impairment and a strategy to restore homeostasis in the ageing brain.
View details for PubMedID 30944478
Focusing on microtubule heterogeneity and brain specificity allowed for initial discoveries of multiple tubulin isotypes four decades ago. Methods evolved from using radioactive labelling and single cell cultures to monoclonal antibodies recognizing discrete forms of tubulin in single neurons. With the advantage of molecular cloning and fluorescent protein tagging, essential components for microtubule dynamics/stability and function were identified, including activity-dependent neuroprotective protein, ADNP and its peptide snippet, NAP (drug candidate, davunetide/CP201). ADNP/NAP through the SxIP motif interact with microtubule end binding proteins EB1 and EB3 to increase microtubule dynamics, axonal transport and dendritic spine formation. Recent transcriptomic analysis of the young mouse brain at the single cell level enabled characterization of cell-type specific cytoskeleton related gene signatures (e.g., tubulin transcripts, microtubule-associated protein Tau, Mapt and microtubule end binding protein, EB3, Mapre3) at unprecedented detail. Here, we review these findings with a methodological perspective to highlight how cutting-edge techniques have allowed us to disentangle cytoskeleton dynamics in health and disease.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2019.05.014
View details for PubMedID 31150696
Here we present a compendium of single-cell transcriptomic data from the model organism Mus musculus that comprises more than 100,000 cells from 20 organs and tissues. These data represent a new resource for cell biology, reveal gene expression in poorly characterized cell populations and enable the direct and controlled comparison of gene expression in cell types that are shared between tissues, such as T lymphocytes and endothelial cells from different anatomical locations. Two distinct technical approaches were used for most organs: one approach, microfluidic droplet-based 3'-end counting, enabled the survey of thousands of cells at relatively low coverage, whereas the other, full-length transcript analysis based on fluorescence-activated cell sorting, enabled the characterization of cell types with high sensitivity and coverage. The cumulative data provide the foundation for an atlas of transcriptomic cell biology.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-018-0590-4
View details for PubMedID 30283141
Axon pruning during development is essential for proper wiring of the mature nervous system, but its regulation remains poorly understood. We have identified an immunoglobulin superfamily (IgSF) transmembrane protein, Plum, that is cell autonomously required for axon pruning of mushroom body (MB) γ neurons and for ectopic synapse refinement at the developing neuromuscular junction in Drosophila. Plum promotes MB γ neuron axon pruning by regulating the expression of Ecdysone Receptor-B1, a key initiator of axon pruning. Genetic analyses indicate that Plum acts to facilitate signaling of Myoglianin, a glial-derived TGF-β, on MB γ neurons upstream of the type-I TGF-β receptor Baboon. Myoglianin, Baboon, and Ecdysone Receptor-B1 are also required for neuromuscular junction ectopic synapse refinement. Our study highlights both IgSF proteins and TGF-β facilitation as key promoters of developmental axon elimination and demonstrates a mechanistic conservation between MB axon pruning during metamorphosis and the refinement of ectopic larval neuromuscular connections.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.03.004
View details for PubMedID 23664613