Publications by authors named "Mahekta Gujar"

6 Publications

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Histone lysine methyltransferase Pr-set7/SETD8 promotes neural stem cell reactivation.

EMBO Rep 2021 04 10;22(4):e50994. Epub 2021 Feb 10.

Neuroscience & Behavioral Disorders Programme, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore, Singapore.

The ability of neural stem cells (NSCs) to switch between quiescence and proliferation is crucial for brain development and homeostasis. Increasing evidence suggests that variants of histone lysine methyltransferases including KMT5A are associated with neurodevelopmental disorders. However, the function of KMT5A/Pr-set7/SETD8 in the central nervous system is not well established. Here, we show that Drosophila Pr-Set7 is a novel regulator of NSC reactivation. Loss of function of pr-set7 causes a delay in NSC reactivation and loss of H4K20 monomethylation in the brain. Through NSC-specific in vivo profiling, we demonstrate that Pr-set7 binds to the promoter region of cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (cdk1) and Wnt pathway transcriptional co-activator earthbound1/jerky (ebd1). Further validation indicates that Pr-set7 is required for the expression of cdk1 and ebd1 in the brain. Similar to Pr-set7, Cdk1 and Ebd1 promote NSC reactivation. Finally, overexpression of Cdk1 and Ebd1 significantly suppressed NSC reactivation defects observed in pr-set7-depleted brains. Therefore, Pr-set7 promotes NSC reactivation by regulating Wnt signaling and cell cycle progression. Our findings may contribute to the understanding of mammalian KMT5A/PR-SET7/SETD8 during brain development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15252/embr.202050994DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8024890PMC
April 2021

RHO-1 and the Rho GEF RHGF-1 interact with UNC-6/Netrin signaling to regulate growth cone protrusion and microtubule organization in Caenorhabditis elegans.

PLoS Genet 2019 06 24;15(6):e1007960. Epub 2019 Jun 24.

Department of Molecular Biosciences, Program in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, United States of America.

UNC-6/Netrin is a conserved axon guidance cue that directs growth cone migrations in the dorsal-ventral axis of C. elegans and in the vertebrate spinal cord. UNC-6/Netrin is expressed in ventral cells, and growth cones migrate ventrally toward or dorsally away from UNC-6/Netrin. Recent studies of growth cone behavior during outgrowth in vivo in C. elegans have led to a polarity/protrusion model in directed growth cone migration away from UNC-6/Netrin. In this model, UNC-6/Netrin first polarizes the growth cone via the UNC-5 receptor, leading to dorsally biased protrusion and F-actin accumulation. UNC-6/Netrin then regulates protrusion based on this polarity. The receptor UNC-40/DCC drives protrusion dorsally, away from the UNC-6/Netrin source, and the UNC-5 receptor inhibits protrusion ventrally, near the UNC-6/Netrin source, resulting in dorsal migration. UNC-5 inhibits protrusion in part by excluding microtubules from the growth cone, which are pro-protrusive. Here we report that the RHO-1/RhoA GTPase and its activator GEF RHGF-1 inhibit growth cone protrusion and MT accumulation in growth cones, similar to UNC-5. However, growth cone polarity of protrusion and F-actin were unaffected by RHO-1 and RHGF-1. Thus, RHO-1 signaling acts specifically as a negative regulator of protrusion and MT accumulation, and not polarity. Genetic interactions are consistent with RHO-1 and RHGF-1 acting with UNC-5, as well as with a parallel pathway, to regulate protrusion. The cytoskeletal interacting molecule UNC-33/CRMP was required for RHO-1 activity to inhibit MT accumulation, suggesting that UNC-33/CRMP might act downstream of RHO-1. In sum, these studies describe a new role of RHO-1 and RHGF-1 in regulation of growth cone protrusion by UNC-6/Netrin.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1007960DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6611649PMC
June 2019

Control of Growth Cone Polarity, Microtubule Accumulation, and Protrusion by UNC-6/Netrin and Its Receptors in .

Genetics 2018 09 25;210(1):235-255. Epub 2018 Jul 25.

Program in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Department of Molecular Biosciences, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66046

UNC-6/Netrin has a conserved role in dorsal-ventral axon guidance, but the cellular events in the growth cone regulated by UNC-6/Netrin signaling during outgrowth are incompletely understood. Previous studies showed that, in growth cones migrating away from UNC-6/Netrin, the receptor UNC-5 regulates growth cone polarity, as observed by polarized F-actin, and limits the extent of growth cone protrusion. It is unclear how UNC-5 inhibits protrusion, and how UNC-40 acts in concert with UNC-5 to regulate polarity and protrusion. New results reported here indicate that UNC-5 normally restricts microtubule (MT) + end accumulation in the growth cone. Tubulin mutant analysis and colchicine treatment suggest that stable MTs are necessary for robust growth cone protrusion. Thus, UNC-5 might inhibit protrusion in part by restricting growth cone MT accumulation. Previous studies showed that the UNC-73/Trio Rac GEF and UNC-33/CRMP act downstream of UNC-5 in protrusion. Here, we show that UNC-33/CRMP regulates both growth cone dorsal asymmetric F-actin accumulation and MT accumulation, whereas UNC-73/Trio Rac GEF activity only affects F-actin accumulation. This suggests an MT-independent mechanism used by UNC-5 to inhibit protrusion, possibly by regulating lamellipodial and filopodial actin. Furthermore, we show that UNC-6/Netrin and the receptor UNC-40/DCC are required for excess protrusion in mutants, but not for loss of F-actin asymmetry or MT + end accumulation, indicating that UNC-6/Netrin and UNC-40/DCC are required for protrusion downstream of, or in parallel to, F-actin asymmetry and MT + end entry. F-actin accumulation might represent a polarity mark in the growth cone where protrusion will occur, and not protrusive lamellipodial and filopodial actin Our data suggest a model in which UNC-6/Netrin first polarizes the growth cone via UNC-5, and then regulates protrusion based upon this polarity (the polarity/protrusion model). UNC-6/Netrin inhibits protrusion ventrally via UNC-5, and stimulates protrusion dorsally via UNC-40, resulting in dorsally-directed migration. The polarity/protrusion model represents a novel conceptual paradigm in which to understand axon guidance and growth cone migration away from UNC-6/Netrin.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1534/genetics.118.301234DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6116952PMC
September 2018

Flavin monooxygenases regulate Caenorhabditis elegans axon guidance and growth cone protrusion with UNC-6/Netrin signaling and Rac GTPases.

PLoS Genet 2017 Aug 31;13(8):e1006998. Epub 2017 Aug 31.

Department of Molecular Biosciences, Program in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, United States of America.

The guidance cue UNC-6/Netrin regulates both attractive and repulsive axon guidance. Our previous work showed that in C. elegans, the attractive UNC-6/Netrin receptor UNC-40/DCC stimulates growth cone protrusion, and that the repulsive receptor, an UNC-5:UNC-40 heterodimer, inhibits growth cone protrusion. We have also shown that inhibition of growth cone protrusion downstream of the UNC-5:UNC-40 repulsive receptor involves Rac GTPases, the Rac GTP exchange factor UNC-73/Trio, and the cytoskeletal regulator UNC-33/CRMP, which mediates Semaphorin-induced growth cone collapse in other systems. The multidomain flavoprotein monooxygenase (FMO) MICAL (Molecule Interacting with CasL) also mediates growth cone collapse in response to Semaphorin by directly oxidizing F-actin, resulting in depolymerization. The C. elegans genome does not encode a multidomain MICAL-like molecule, but does encode five flavin monooxygenases (FMO-1, -2, -3, -4, and 5) and another molecule, EHBP-1, similar to the non-FMO portion of MICAL. Here we show that FMO-1, FMO-4, FMO-5, and EHBP-1 may play a role in UNC-6/Netrin directed repulsive guidance mediated through UNC-40 and UNC-5 receptors. Mutations in fmo-1, fmo-4, fmo-5, and ehbp-1 showed VD/DD axon guidance and branching defects, and variably enhanced unc-40 and unc-5 VD/DD axon guidance defects. Developing growth cones in vivo of fmo-1, fmo-4, fmo-5, and ehbp-1 mutants displayed excessive filopodial protrusion, and transgenic expression of FMO-5 inhibited growth cone protrusion. Mutations suppressed growth cone inhibition caused by activated UNC-40 and UNC-5 signaling, and activated Rac GTPase CED-10 and MIG-2, suggesting that these molecules are required downstream of UNC-6/Netrin receptors and Rac GTPases. From these studies we conclude that FMO-1, FMO-4, FMO-5, and EHBP-1 represent new players downstream of UNC-6/Netrin receptors and Rac GTPases that inhibit growth cone filopodial protrusion in repulsive axon guidance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1006998DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5597259PMC
August 2017

The Caenorhabditis elegans NF2/Merlin Molecule NFM-1 Nonautonomously Regulates Neuroblast Migration and Interacts Genetically with the Guidance Cue SLT-1/Slit.

Genetics 2017 02 2;205(2):737-748. Epub 2016 Dec 2.

Department of Molecular Biosciences, Program in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66046

During nervous system development, neurons and their progenitors migrate to their final destinations. In Caenorhabditis elegans, the bilateral Q neuroblasts and their descendants migrate long distances in opposite directions, despite being born in the same posterior region. QR on the right migrates anteriorly and generates the AQR neuron positioned near the head, and QL on the left migrates posteriorly, giving rise to the PQR neuron positioned near the tail. In a screen for genes required for AQR and PQR migration, we identified an allele of nfm-1, which encodes a molecule similar to vertebrate NF2/Merlin, an important tumor suppressor in humans. Mutations in NF2 lead to neurofibromatosis type II, characterized by benign tumors of glial tissues. Here we demonstrate that in C. elegans, nfm-1 is required for the ability of Q cells and their descendants to extend protrusions and to migrate, but is not required for direction of migration. Using a combination of mosaic analysis and cell-specific expression, we show that NFM-1 is required nonautonomously, possibly in muscles, to promote Q lineage migrations. We also show a genetic interaction between nfm-1 and the C. elegans Slit homolog slt-1, which encodes a conserved secreted guidance cue. Our results suggest that NFM-1 might be involved in the generation of an extracellular cue that promotes Q neuroblast protrusion and migration that acts with or in parallel to SLT-1 In vertebrates, NF2 and Slit2 interact in axon pathfinding, suggesting a conserved interaction of NF2 and Slit2 in regulating migratory events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1534/genetics.116.191957DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5289848PMC
February 2017

Functional transcriptomic analysis of the role of MAB-5/Hox in Q neuroblast migration in Caenorhabditis elegans.

BMC Genomics 2013 May 4;14:304. Epub 2013 May 4.

Department of Molecular Biosciences, Programs in Genetics and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, The University of Kansas, 1200 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, KS 66045, USA.

Background: Directed cell migration is a fundamental process in normal development and in tumor metastasis. In C. elegans the MAB-5/Hox transcription factor is a determinant of posterior migration of the Q neuroblast descendants. In this work, mab-5 transcriptional targets that control Q descendant migration are identified by comparing RNA-seq profiles in wild type and mab-5 mutant backgrounds.

Results: Transcriptome profiling is a widely-used and potent tool to identify genes involved in developmental and pathological processes, and is most informative when RNA can be isolated from individual cell or tissue types. Cell-specific RNA samples can be difficult to obtain from invertebrate model organisms such as Drosophila and C. elegans. Here we test the utility of combining a whole organism RNA-seq approach with mab-5 loss and gain-of-function mutants and functional validation using RNAi to identify genes regulated by MAB-5 to control Q descendant migration. We identified 22 genes whose expression was controlled by mab-5 and that controlled Q descendant migration. Genes regulated by mab-5 were enriched for secreted and transmembrane molecules involved in basement membrane interaction and modification, and some affected Q descendant migration.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that a whole-organism RNA-seq approach, when combined with mutant analysis and functional validation, can be a powerful method to identify genes involved in a specific developmental process, in this case Q descendant posterior migration. These genes could act either autonomously in the Q cells, or non-autonomously in other cells that express MAB-5. The identities of the genes regulated by MAB-5 indicate that MAB-5 acts by modifying interactions with the basement membrane, resulting in posterior versus anterior migration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2164-14-304DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3651406PMC
May 2013