• Amyloid, APP, and Electrical Activity of the Brain.

      Hefter, Dimitri; Ludewig, Susann; Draguhn, Andreas; Korte, Martin; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Sage Publikations, 2019-11-29)
      The Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP) is infamous for its proposed pivotal role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Much research on APP focusses on potential contributions to neurodegeneration, mostly based on mouse models with altered expression or mutated forms of APP. However, cumulative evidence from recent years indicates the indispensability of APP and its metabolites for normal brain physiology. APP contributes to the regulation of synaptic transmission, plasticity, and calcium homeostasis. It plays an important role during development and it exerts neuroprotective effects. Of particular importance is the soluble secreted fragment APPsα which mediates many of its physiological actions, often counteracting the effects of the small APP-derived peptide Aβ. Understanding the contribution of APP for normal functions of the nervous system is of high importance, both from a basic science perspective and also as a basis for generating new pathophysiological concepts and therapeutic approaches in AD. In this article, we review the physiological functions of APP and its metabolites, focusing on synaptic transmission, plasticity, calcium signaling, and neuronal network activity.
    • BDNF signaling during the lifetime of dendritic spines.

      Zagrebelsky, Marta; Tacke, Charlotte; Korte, Martin; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Sringer Nature, 2020-06-14)
      Dendritic spines are tiny membrane specialization forming the postsynaptic part of most excitatory synapses. They have been suggested to play a crucial role in regulating synaptic transmission during development and in adult learning processes. Changes in their number, size, and shape are correlated with processes of structural synaptic plasticity and learning and memory and also with neurodegenerative diseases, when spines are lost. Thus, their alterations can correlate with neuronal homeostasis, but also with dysfunction in several neurological disorders characterized by cognitive impairment. Therefore, it is important to understand how different stages in the life of a dendritic spine, including formation, maturation, and plasticity, are strictly regulated. In this context, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), belonging to the NGF-neurotrophin family, is among the most intensively investigated molecule. This review would like to report the current knowledge regarding the role of BDNF in regulating dendritic spine number, structure, and plasticity concentrating especially on its signaling via its two often functionally antagonistic receptors, TrkB and p75NTR. In addition, we point out a series of open points in which, while the role of BDNF signaling is extremely likely conclusive, evidence is still missing.
    • Fast Regulation of GABAR Diffusion Dynamics by Nogo-A Signaling.

      Fricke, Steffen; Metzdorf, Kristin; Ohm, Melanie; Haak, Stefan; Heine, Martin; Korte, Martin; Zagrebelsky, Marta; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Elsevier, 2019-10-15)
      Precisely controlling the excitatory and inhibitory balance is crucial for the stability and information-processing ability of neuronal networks. However, the molecular mechanisms maintaining this balance during ongoing sensory experiences are largely unclear. We show that Nogo-A signaling reciprocally regulates excitatory and inhibitory transmission. Loss of function for Nogo-A signaling through S1PR2 rapidly increases GABAAR diffusion, thereby decreasing their number at synaptic sites and the amplitude of GABAergic mIPSCs at CA3 hippocampal neurons. This increase in GABAAR diffusion rate is correlated with an increase in Ca2+ influx and requires the calcineurin-mediated dephosphorylation of the γ2 subunit at serine 327. These results suggest that Nogo-A signaling rapidly strengthens inhibitory GABAergic transmission by restricting the diffusion dynamics of GABAARs. Together with the observation that Nogo-A signaling regulates excitatory transmission in an opposite manner, these results suggest a crucial role for Nogo-A signaling in modulating the excitation and inhibition balance to restrict synaptic plasticity.
    • The impact of the digital revolution 
on human brain and behavior: where 
do we stand?

      Korte, Martin; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany.
      This overview will outline the current results of neuroscience research on the possible effects of digital media use on the human brain, cognition, and behavior. This is of importance due to the significant amount of time that individuals spend using digital media. Despite several positive aspects of digital media, which include the capability to effortlessly communicate with peers, even over a long distance, and their being used as training tools for students and the elderly, detrimental effects on our brains and minds have also been suggested. Neurological consequences have been observed related to internet/gaming addiction, language development, and processing of emotional signals. However, given that much of the neuroscientific research conducted up to now relies solely on self-reported parameters to assess social media usage, it is argued that neuroscientists need to include datasets with higher precision in terms of what is done on screens, for how long, and at what age.
    • Long-Term Neuroinflammation Induced by Influenza A Virus Infection and the Impact on Hippocampal Neuron Morphology and Function.

      Hosseini, Shirin; Wilk, Esther; Michaelsen-Preusse, Kristin; Gerhauser, Ingo; Baumgärtner, Wolfgang; Geffers, Robert; Schughart, Klaus; Korte, Martin; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Society for Neuroscience, 2018-02-27)
      Acute influenza infection has been reported to be associated with neurological symptoms. However, the long-term consequences of an infection with neurotropic and non-neurotropic influenza A virus (IAV) variants for the CNS remain elusive. We can show that spine loss in the hippocampus after infection with neurotropic H7N7 (rSC35M) and non-neurotropic H3N2 (maHK68) in female C57BL/6 mice persists well beyond the acute phase of the disease. Although spine number was significantly reduced at 30 d postinfection (dpi) with H7N7 or H3N2, full recovery could only be observed much later at 120 dpi. Infection with H1N1 virus, which was shown previously to affect spine number and hippocampus-dependent learning acutely, had no significant long-term effects. Spine loss was associated with an increase in the number of activated microglia, reduced long-term potentiation in the hippocampus, and impairment in spatial memory formation, indicating that IAV-associated inflammation induced functional and structural alterations in hippocampal networks. Transcriptome analyses revealed regulation of many inflammatory and neuron- and glia-specific genes in H3N2- and H7N7-infected mice at day 18 and in H7N7-infected mice at day 30 pi that related to the structural and functional alterations. Our data provide evidence that neuroinflammation induced by neurotropic H7N7 and infection of the lung with a non-neurotropic H3N2 IAV result in long-term impairments in the CNS. IAV infection in humans may therefore not only lead to short-term responses in infected organs, but may also trigger neuroinflammation and associated chronic alterations in the CNS.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT In the acute phase of influenza infection, neuroinflammation can lead to alterations in hippocampal neuronal morphology and cognitive deficits. The results of this study now also provide evidence that neuroinflammation induced by influenza A virus (IAV) infection can induce longer-lasting, virus-specific alterations in neuronal connectivity that are still detectable 1 month after infection and are associated with impairments in spatial memory formation. IAV infection in humans may therefore not only lead to short-term responses in infected organs, but may also trigger neuroinflammation and associated chronic alterations in the CNS.
    • Modeling Neurodegenerative Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 13 in Zebrafish Using a Purkinje Neuron Specific Tunable Coexpression System.

      Namikawa, Kazuhiko; Dorigo, Alessandro; Zagrebelsky, Marta; Russo, Giulio; Kirmann, Toni; Fahr, Wieland; Dübel, Stefan; Korte, Martin; Köster, Reinhard W; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Society of Neuroscience, 2019-05-15)
      Purkinje cells (PCs) are primarily affected in neurodegenerative spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs). For generating animal models for SCAs, genetic regulatory elements specifically targeting PCs are required, thereby linking pathological molecular effects with impaired function and organismic behavior. Because cerebellar anatomy and function are evolutionary conserved, zebrafish represent an excellent model to study SCAs in vivo We have isolated a 258 bp cross-species PC-specific enhancer element that can be used in a bidirectional manner for bioimaging of transgene-expressing PCs in zebrafish (both sexes) with variable copy numbers for tuning expression strength. Emerging ectopic expression at high copy numbers can be further eliminated by repurposing microRNA-mediated posttranslational mRNA regulation.Subsequently, we generated a transgenic SCA type 13 (SCA13) model, using a zebrafish-variant mimicking a human pathological SCA13R420H mutation, resulting in cell-autonomous progressive PC degeneration linked to cerebellum-driven eye-movement deficits as observed in SCA patients. This underscores that investigating PC-specific cerebellar neuropathologies in zebrafish allows for interconnecting bioimaging of disease mechanisms with behavioral analysis suitable for therapeutic compound testing.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT SCA13 patients carrying a KCNC3R420H allele have been shown to display mid-onset progressive cerebellar atrophy, but genetic modeling of SCA13 by expressing this pathogenic mutant in different animal models has not resulted in neuronal degeneration so far; likely because the transgene was expressed in heterologous cell types. We developed a genetic system for tunable PC-specific coexpression of several transgenes to manipulate and simultaneously monitor cerebellar PCs. We modeled a SCA13 zebrafish accessible for bioimaging to investigate disease progression, revealing robust PC degeneration, resulting in impaired eye movement. Our transgenic zebrafish mimicking both neuropathological and behavioral changes manifested in SCA-affected patients will be suitable for investigating causes of cerebellar diseases in vivo from the molecular to the behavioral level.
    • Neural stem cell lineage-specific cannabinoid type-1 receptor regulates neurogenesis and plasticity in the adult mouse hippocampus.

      Zimmermann, Tina; Maroso, Mattia; Beer, Annika; Baddenhausen, Sarah; Ludewig, Susann; Fan, Wenqiang; Vennin, Constance; Loch, Sebastian; Berninger, Benedikt; Hofmann, Clementine; et al. (Oxford University Publishing, 2018-10-11)
      Neural stem cells (NSCs) in the adult mouse hippocampus occur in a specific neurogenic niche, where a multitude of extracellular signaling molecules converges to regulate NSC proliferation as well as fate and functional integration. However, the underlying mechanisms how NSCs react to extrinsic signals and convert them to intracellular responses still remains elusive. NSCs contain a functional endocannabinoid system, including the cannabinoid type-1 receptor (CB1). To decipher whether CB1 regulates adult neurogenesis directly or indirectly in vivo, we performed NSC-specific conditional inactivation of CB1 by using triple-transgenic mice. Here, we show that lack of CB1 in NSCs is sufficient to decrease proliferation of the stem cell pool, which consequently leads to a reduction in the number of newborn neurons. Furthermore, neuronal differentiation was compromised at the level of dendritic maturation pointing towards a postsynaptic role of CB1 in vivo. Deteriorated neurogenesis in NSC-specific CB1 knock-outs additionally resulted in reduced long-term potentiation in the hippocampal formation. The observed cellular and physiological alterations led to decreased short-term spatial memory and increased depression-like behavior. These results demonstrate that CB1 expressed in NSCs and their progeny controls neurogenesis in adult mice to regulate the NSC stem cell pool, dendritic morphology, activity-dependent plasticity, and behavior.
    • The NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitor OLT1177 rescues cognitive impairment in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.

      Lonnemann, Niklas; Hosseini, Shirin; Marchetti, Carlo; Skouras, Damaris B; Stefanoni, Davide; D'Alessandro, Angelo; Dinarello, Charles A; Korte, Martin; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (National Academy of Sciences, 2020-11-30)
      Numerous studies demonstrate that neuroinflammation is a key player in the progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Interleukin (IL)-1β is a main inducer of inflammation and therefore a prime target for therapeutic options. The inactive IL-1β precursor requires processing by the the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor family, pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome into a mature and active form. Studies have shown that IL-1β is up-regulated in brains of patients with AD, and that genetic inactivation of the NLRP3 inflammasome improves behavioral tests and synaptic plasticity phenotypes in a murine model of the disease. In the present study, we analyzed the effect of pharmacological inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome using dapansutrile (OLT1177), an oral NLRP3-specific inhibitor that is safe in humans. Six-month-old WT and APP/PS1 mice were fed with standard mouse chow or OLT1177-enriched chow for 3 mo. The Morris water maze test revealed an impaired learning and memory ability of 9-mo-old APP/PS1 mice (P = 0.001), which was completely rescued by OLT1177 fed to mice (P = 0.008 to untreated APP/PS1). Furthermore, our findings revealed that 3 mo of OLT1177 diet can rescue synaptic plasticity in this mouse model of AD (P = 0.007 to untreated APP/PS1). In addition, microglia were less activated (P = 0.07) and the number of plaques was reduced in the cortex (P = 0.03) following NLRP3 inhibition with OLT1177 administration. We also observed an OLT1177 dose-dependent normalization of plasma metabolic markers of AD to those of WT mice. This study suggests the therapeutic potential of treating neuroinflammation with an oral inhibitor of the NLRP3 inflammasome.
    • Signaling via the p75 neurotrophin receptor facilitates amyloid-β-induced dendritic spine pathology.

      Patnaik, Abhisarika; Zagrebelsky, Marta; Korte, Martin; Holz, Andreas; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (NPG, 2020-08-07)
      Synapse and dendritic spine loss induced by amyloid-β oligomers is one of the main hallmarks of the early phases of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and is directly correlated with the cognitive decline typical of this pathology. The p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) binds amyloid-β oligomers in the nM range. While it was shown that µM concentrations of amyloid-β mediate cell death, the role and intracellular signaling of p75NTR for dendritic spine pathology induced by sublethal concentrations of amyloid-β has not been analyzed. We describe here p75NTR as a crucial binding partner in mediating effects of soluble amyloid-β oligomers on dendritic spine density and structure in non-apoptotic hippocampal neurons. Removing or over-expressing p75NTR in neurons rescues or exacerbates the typical loss of dendritic spines and their structural alterations observed upon treatment with nM concentrations of amyloid-β oligomers. Moreover, we show that binding of amyloid-β oligomers to p75NTR activates the RhoA/ROCK signaling cascade resulting in the fast stabilization of the actin spinoskeleton. Our results describe a role for p75NTR and downstream signaling events triggered by binding of amyloid-β oligomers and causing dendritic spine pathology. These observations further our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying one of the main early neuropathological hallmarks of AD.
    • Type I Interferon Receptor Signaling in Astrocytes Regulates Hippocampal Synaptic Plasticity and Cognitive Function of the Healthy CNS.

      Hosseini, Shirin; Michaelsen-Preusse, Kristin; Grigoryan, Gayane; Chhatbar, Chintan; Kalinke, Ulrich; Korte, Martin; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany.
      Type I interferon receptor (IFNAR) signaling is a hallmark of viral control and host protection. Here, we show that, in the hippocampus of healthy IFNAR-deficient mice, synapse number and synaptic plasticity, as well as spatial learning, are impaired. This is also the case for IFN-β-deficient animals. Moreover, antibody-mediated IFNAR blocking acutely interferes with neuronal plasticity, whereas a low-dose application of IFN-β has a positive effect on dendritic spine structure. Interfering with IFNAR signaling in different cell types shows a role for cognitive function and synaptic plasticity specifically mediated by astrocytes. Intriguingly, levels of the astrocytic glutamate-aspartate transporter (GLAST) are reduced significantly upon IFN-β treatment and increase following inhibition of IFNAR signaling. These results indicate that, besides the prominent role for host defense, IFNAR is important for synaptic plasticity as well as cognitive function. Astrocytes are at the center stage of this so-far-unknown signaling cascade.