Publications by authors named "Constanze Burkhardt"

4 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Synapse loss in cortex of agrin-deficient mice after genetic rescue of perinatal death.

J Neurosci 2007 Jul;27(27):7183-95

Biozentrum, University of Basel, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland.

Agrin-deficient mice die at birth because of aberrant development of the neuromuscular junctions. Here, we examined the role of agrin at brain synapses. We show that agrin is associated with excitatory but not inhibitory synapses in the cerebral cortex. Most importantly, we examined the brains of agrin-deficient mice whose perinatal death was prevented by the selective expression of agrin in motor neurons. We find that the number of presynaptic and postsynaptic specializations is strongly reduced in the cortex of 5- to 7-week-old mice. Consistent with a reduction in the number of synapses, the frequency of miniature postsynaptic currents was greatly decreased. In accordance with the synaptic localization of agrin to excitatory synapses, changes in the frequency were only detected for excitatory but not inhibitory synapses. Moreover, we find that the muscle-specific receptor tyrosine kinase MuSK, which is known to be an essential component of agrin-induced signaling at the neuromuscular junction, is also localized to a subset of excitatory synapses. Finally, some components of the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase pathway, which has been shown to be activated by agrin in cultured neurons, are deregulated in agrin-deficient mice. In summary, our results provide strong evidence that agrin plays an important role in the formation and/or the maintenance of excitatory synapses in the brain, and we provide evidence that this function involves MAP kinase signaling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1609-07.2007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6794585PMC
July 2007

Semaphorin 4B interacts with the post-synaptic density protein PSD-95/SAP90 and is recruited to synapses through a C-terminal PDZ-binding motif.

FEBS Lett 2005 Jul;579(17):3821-8

Abt. Molekularbiologie, Institut für Allgemeine Zoologie und Genetik, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Schlossplatz 5, D-48149 Münster, Germany.

The semaphorins are a large family of proteins that act as guidance signals for axons and dendrites. The class 4 semaphorins are integral membrane proteins that are widely expressed throughout the nervous system. Here, we show that a subclass of these semaphorins is characterized by a PDZ-binding motif at their carboxy-terminus. This sequence mediates the interaction with the post-synaptic density protein PSD-95/SAP90. Co-expression of Sema4B with PSD-95 in COS 7 cells results in the clustering of Sema4B. Sema4B co-localizes with PSD-95 at synaptic contacts between cultured hippocampal neurons. This synaptic localization depends on the presence of the PDZ-binding motif.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.febslet.2005.05.079DOI Listing
July 2005

Semaphorin 3A-mediated axon guidance regulates convergence and targeting of P2 odorant receptor axons.

Eur J Neurosci 2004 Apr;19(7):1800-10

The Shriver Center, 200 Trapelo Road, Waltham, MA 02452, USA.

Semaphorins are known to play an important role in axon guidance of vertebrate olfactory sensory neurons to their targets in specific glomeruli of the olfactory bulb (OB). However, it is not clear how semaphorin-mediated guidance contributes to a systematic hierarchy of cues that govern the organization of this system. Because of the putative role that odorant receptor molecules such as P2 could play in establishing appropriate glomerular destinations for growing olfactory axons, we have also determined the spatial organization of P2 glomeruli in semaphorin 3A (Sema3A) mutant mice. First, in the postnatal OB of control and Sema3A(-/-) mice, we analysed the trajectories of olfactory axons that express the Sema3A receptor, neuropilin-1 (npn-1) and the positions of npn-1(+) glomeruli. Sema3A at the ventral OB midline guides npn-1(+) axons to targets in the lateral and medial OB. Absence of Sema3A permits many npn-1 axons to terminate aberrantly in the rostral and ventral OB. Second, in Sema3A(-/-) mice, many P2 axons are abnormally distributed throughout the ventral OB nerve layer and converge in atypical locations compared with littermate controls where P2 axons converge on stereotypically located lateral and medial glomeruli. In addition to their radically altered spatial distribution, P2 glomeruli in Sema3A(-/-) mice are significantly smaller and more numerous than in heterozygote littermates. These data show that Sema3A is an important repulsive olfactory guidance cue that establishes restricted npn-1(+) subcompartments in the olfactory bulb. Furthermore, Sema3A plays a key role in the convergence of axons expressing the odorant receptor P2 onto their appropriate targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-9568.2004.03304.xDOI Listing
April 2004

Class 3 semaphorins control vascular morphogenesis by inhibiting integrin function.

Nature 2003 Jul;424(6947):391-7

Division of Molecular Angiogenesis, IRCC, Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment, and Department of Oncological Sciences, University of Torino School of Medicine, 10060 Candiolo, TO, Italy.

The motility and morphogenesis of endothelial cells is controlled by spatio-temporally regulated activation of integrin adhesion receptors, and integrin activation is stimulated by major determinants of vascular remodelling. In order for endothelial cells to be responsive to changes in activator gradients, the adhesiveness of these cells to the extracellular matrix must be dynamic, and negative regulators of integrins could be required. Here we show that during vascular development and experimental angiogenesis, endothelial cells generate autocrine chemorepulsive signals of class 3 semaphorins (SEMA3 proteins) that localize at nascent adhesive sites in spreading endothelial cells. Disrupting endogenous SEMA3 function in endothelial cells stimulates integrin-mediated adhesion and migration to extracellular matrices, whereas exogenous SEMA3 proteins antagonize integrin activation. Misexpression of dominant negative SEMA3 receptors in chick embryo endothelial cells locks integrins in an active conformation, and severely impairs vascular remodelling. Sema3a null mice show vascular defects as well. Thus during angiogenesis endothelial SEMA3 proteins endow the vascular system with the plasticity required for its reshaping by controlling integrin function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature01784DOI Listing
July 2003