Publications by authors named "Luke W Wenger"

4 Publications

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SPECC1L-deficient primary mouse embryonic palatal mesenchyme cells show speed and directionality defects.

Sci Rep 2021 Jan 14;11(1):1452. Epub 2021 Jan 14.

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Kansas Medical Center, 3901 Rainbow Blvd., Kansas City, KS, 66160, USA.

Cleft lip and/or palate (CL/P) are common anomalies occurring in 1/800 live-births. Pathogenic SPECC1L variants have been identified in patients with CL/P, which signifies a primary role for SPECC1L in craniofacial development. Specc1l mutant mouse embryos exhibit delayed palatal shelf elevation accompanied by epithelial defects. We now posit that the process of palate elevation is itself abnormal in Specc1l mutants, due to defective remodeling of palatal mesenchyme. To characterize the underlying cellular defect, we studied the movement of primary mouse embryonic palatal mesenchyme (MEPM) cells using live-imaging of wound-repair assays. SPECC1L-deficient MEPM cells exhibited delayed wound-repair, however, reduced cell speed only partially accounted for this delay. Interestingly, mutant MEPM cells were also defective in coordinated cell movement. Therefore, we used open-field 2D cultures of wildtype MEPM cells to show that they indeed formed cell streams at high density, which is an important attribute of collective movement. Furthermore, activation of the PI3K-AKT pathway rescued both cell speed and guidance defects in Specc1l mutant MEPM cells. Thus, we show that live-imaging of primary MEPM cells can be used to assess mesenchymal remodeling defects during palatal shelf elevation, and identify a novel role for SPECC1L in collective movement through modulation of PI3K-AKT signaling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-81123-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7809270PMC
January 2021

SPECC1L regulates palate development downstream of IRF6.

Hum Mol Genet 2020 03;29(5):845-858

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA.

SPECC1L mutations have been identified in patients with rare atypical orofacial clefts and with syndromic cleft lip and/or palate (CL/P). These mutations cluster in the second coiled-coil and calponin homology domains of SPECC1L and severely affect the ability of SPECC1L to associate with microtubules. We previously showed that gene-trap knockout of Specc1l in mouse results in early embryonic lethality. We now present a truncation mutant mouse allele, Specc1lΔC510, that results in perinatal lethality. Specc1lΔC510/ΔC510 homozygotes showed abnormal palate rugae but did not show cleft palate. However, when crossed with a gene-trap allele, Specc1lcGT/ΔC510 compound heterozygotes showed a palate elevation delay with incompletely penetrant cleft palate. Specc1lcGT/ΔC510 embryos exhibit transient oral epithelial adhesions at E13.5, which may delay shelf elevation. Consistent with oral adhesions, we show periderm layer abnormalities, including ectopic apical expression of adherens junction markers, similar to Irf6 hypomorphic mutants and Arhgap29 heterozygotes. Indeed, SPECC1L expression is drastically reduced in Irf6 mutant palatal shelves. Finally, we wanted to determine if SPECC1L deficiency also contributed to non-syndromic (ns) CL/P. We sequenced 62 Caucasian, 89 Filipino, 90 Ethiopian, 90 Nigerian and 95 Japanese patients with nsCL/P and identified three rare coding variants (p.Ala86Thr, p.Met91Iso and p.Arg546Gln) in six individuals. These variants reside outside of SPECC1L coiled-coil domains and result in milder functional defects than variants associated with syndromic clefting. Together, our data indicate that palate elevation is sensitive to deficiency of SPECC1L dosage and function and that SPECC1L cytoskeletal protein functions downstream of IRF6 in palatogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddaa002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7104672PMC
March 2020

Inhibition of dicer activity in lepidopteran and dipteran cells by baculovirus-mediated expression of Flock House virus B2.

Sci Rep 2019 10 10;9(1):14494. Epub 2019 Oct 10.

Kansas State University, Division of Biology, Manhattan, KS, 66506, USA.

Prior studies have suggested that insect DNA viruses are negatively affected by dicer-2-mediated RNA interference (RNAi). To examine this further, we utilized an in vitro assay to measure dicer activity in lepidopteran and dipteran cells, combined with baculoviruses expressing the RNAi suppressor B2 from Flock House virus or Aedes aegypti dicer-2 (Aedicer-2) using a constitutive heat shock promoter. Addition of cell lysates containing baculovirus-expressed B2 to lysates from dipteran (S2, Aag2) or lepidopteran (Sf9) cells inhibited endogenous dicer activity in a dose-dependent manner, while expression of Aedicer-2 restored siRNA production in Ae. albopictus C6/36 cells, which are dicer-2 defective. However, B2 expression from the constitutive heat shock promoter had no impact on baculovirus replication or virulence in cell lines or larvae that were either highly permissive (Trichoplusia ni) or less susceptible (Spodoptera frugiperda) to infection. We determined that this constitutive level of B2 expression had little to no ability to suppress dicer activity in cell lysates, but higher expression of B2, following heat shock treatment, inhibited dicer activity in all cells tested. Thus, we cannot rule out the possibility that optimized expression of B2 or other RNAi suppressors may increase baculovirus replication and expression of heterologous proteins by baculoviruses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-50851-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6787241PMC
October 2019

Ewing sarcoma ewsa protein regulates chondrogenesis of Meckel's cartilage through modulation of Sox9 in zebrafish.

PLoS One 2015 24;10(1):e0116627. Epub 2015 Jan 24.

Molecular Biosciences, University of Kansas, 7031 Haworth, 1200 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, KS 66045, United States of America.

Ewing sarcoma is the second most common skeletal (bone and cartilage) cancer in adolescents, and it is characterized by the expression of the aberrant chimeric fusion gene EWS/FLI1. Wild-type EWS has been proposed to play a role in mitosis, splicing and transcription. We have previously shown that EWS/FLI1 interacts with EWS, and it inhibits EWS activity in a dominant manner. Ewing sarcoma is a cancer that specifically develops in skeletal tissues, and although the above data suggests the significance of EWS, its role in chondrogenesis/skeletogenesis is not understood. To elucidate the function of EWS in skeletal development, we generated and analyzed a maternal zygotic (MZ) ewsa/ewsa line because the ewsa/wt and ewsa/ewsa zebrafish appeared to be normal and fertile. Compared with wt/wt, the Meckel's cartilage of MZ ewsa/ewsa mutants had a higher number of craniofacial prehypertrophic chondrocytes that failed to mature into hypertrophic chondrocytes at 4 days post-fertilization (dpf). Ewsa interacted with Sox9, which is the master transcription factor for chondrogenesis. Sox9 target genes were either upregulated (ctgfa, ctgfb, col2a1a, and col2a1b) or downregulated (sox5, nog1, nog2, and bmp4) in MZ ewsa/ewsa embryos compared with the wt/wt zebrafish embryos. Among these Sox9 target genes, the chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) experiment demonstrated that Ewsa directly binds to ctgfa and ctgfb loci. Consistently, immunohistochemistry showed that the Ctgf protein is upregulated in the Meckel's cartilage of MZ ewsa/ewsa mutants. Together, we propose that Ewsa promotes the differentiation from prehypertrophic chondrocytes to hypertrophic chondrocytes of Meckel's cartilage through inhibiting Sox9 binding site of the ctgf gene promoter. Because Ewing sarcoma specifically develops in skeletal tissue that is originating from chondrocytes, this new role of EWS may provide a potential molecular basis of its pathogenesis.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0116627PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4305327PMC
February 2016