• 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.
    • Neuroligin-1 mediates presynaptic maturation through brain-derived neurotrophic factor signaling.

      Petkova-Tuffy, Andonia; Gödecke, Nina; Viotti, Julio; Korte, Martin; Dresbach, Thomas; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (BMC, 2021-09-27)
      Background: Maturation is a process that allows synapses to acquire full functionality, optimizing their activity to diverse neural circuits, and defects in synaptic maturation may contribute to neurodevelopmental disorders. Neuroligin-1 (NL1) is a postsynaptic cell adhesion molecule essential for synapse maturation, a role typically attributed to binding to pre-synaptic ligands, the neurexins. However, the pathways underlying the action of NL1 in synaptic maturation are incompletely understood, and some of its previously observed effects seem reminiscent of those described for the neurotrophin brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Here, we show that maturational increases in active zone stability and synaptic vesicle recycling rely on the joint action of NL1 and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Results: Applying BDNF to hippocampal neurons in primary cultures or organotypical slice cultures mimicked the effects of overexpressing NL1 on both structural and functional maturation. Overexpressing a NL1 mutant deficient in neurexin binding still induced presynaptic maturation. Like NL1, BDNF increased synaptic vesicle recycling and the augmentation of transmitter release by phorbol esters, both hallmarks of presynaptic maturation. Mimicking the effects of NL1, BDNF also increased the half-life of the active zone marker bassoon at synapses, reflecting increased active zone stability. Overexpressing NL1 increased the expression and synaptic accumulation of BDNF. Inhibiting BDNF signaling pharmacologically or genetically prevented the effects of NL1 on presynaptic maturation. Applying BDNF to NL1-knockout mouse cultures rescued defective presynaptic maturation, indicating that BDNF acts downstream of NL1 and can restore presynaptic maturation at late stages of network development. Conclusions: Our data introduce BDNF as a novel and essential component in a transsynaptic pathway linking NL1-mediated cell adhesion, neurotrophin action, and presynaptic maturation. Our findings connect synaptic cell adhesion and neurotrophin signaling and may provide a therapeutic approach to neurodevelopmental disorders by targeting synapse maturation.
    • 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.
    • NLRP3 is activated in Alzheimer's disease and contributes to pathology in APP/PS1 mice.

      Heneka, Michael T; Kummer, Markus P; Stutz, Andrea; Delekate, Andrea; Schwartz, Stephanie; Vieira-Saecker, Ana; Griep, Angelika; Axt, Daisy; Remus, Anita; Tzeng, Te-Chen; et al. (2013-01-31)
      Alzheimer's disease is the world's most common dementing illness. Deposition of amyloid-β peptide drives cerebral neuroinflammation by activating microglia. Indeed, amyloid-β activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome in microglia is fundamental for interleukin-1β maturation and subsequent inflammatory events. However, it remains unknown whether NLRP3 activation contributes to Alzheimer's disease in vivo. Here we demonstrate strongly enhanced active caspase-1 expression in human mild cognitive impairment and brains with Alzheimer's disease, suggesting a role for the inflammasome in this neurodegenerative disease. Nlrp3(-/-) or Casp1(-/-) mice carrying mutations associated with familial Alzheimer's disease were largely protected from loss of spatial memory and other sequelae associated with Alzheimer's disease, and demonstrated reduced brain caspase-1 and interleukin-1β activation as well as enhanced amyloid-β clearance. Furthermore, NLRP3 inflammasome deficiency skewed microglial cells to an M2 phenotype and resulted in the decreased deposition of amyloid-β in the APP/PS1 model of Alzheimer's disease. These results show an important role for the NLRP3/caspase-1 axis in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease, and suggest that NLRP3 inflammasome inhibition represents a new therapeutic intervention for the disease.
    • Novel Insights into the Physiological Function of the APP (Gene) Family and Its Proteolytic Fragments in Synaptic Plasticity.

      Ludewig, Susann; Korte, Martin; Hemholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016)
      The amyloid precursor protein (APP) is well known to be involved in the pathophysiology of Alzheimer's disease (AD) via its cleavage product amyloid ß (Aß). However, the physiological role of APP, its various proteolytic products and the amyloid precursor-like proteins 1 and 2 (APLP1/2) are still not fully clarified. Interestingly, it has been shown that learning and memory processes represented by functional and structural changes at synapses are altered in different APP and APLP1/2 mouse mutants. In addition, APP and its fragments are implicated in regulating synaptic strength further reinforcing their modulatory role at the synapse. While APLP2 and APP are functionally redundant, the exclusively CNS expressed APLP1, might have individual roles within the synaptic network. The proteolytic product of non-amyloidogenic APP processing, APPsα, emerged as a neurotrophic peptide that facilitates long-term potentiation (LTP) and restores impairments occurring with age. Interestingly, the newly discovered η-secretase cleavage product, An-α acts in the opposite direction, namely decreasing LTP. In this review we summarize recent findings with emphasis on the physiological role of the APP gene family and its proteolytic products on synaptic function and plasticity, especially during processes of hippocampal LTP. Therefore, we focus on literature that provide electrophysiological data by using different mutant mouse strains either lacking full-length or parts of the APP proteins or that utilized secretase inhibitors as well as secreted APP fragments.
    • Respiratory viral infections and associated neurological manifestations

      Hosseini, Shirin; Michaelsen-Preusse, Kristin; Korte, Martin; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Walter de Gruyter GmbH, 2021-03-29)
      Respiratory viruses as a major threat to human and animal health today are still a leading cause of worldwide severe pandemics. Although the primary target tissue of these viruses is the lung, they can induce immediate or delayed neuropathological manifestations in humans and animals. Already after the Spanish flu (1918/20) evidence accumulated that neurological diseases can be induced by respiratory viral infections as some patients showed parkinsonism, seizures, or dementia. In the recent outbreak of COVID-19 as well patients suffered from headache, dizziness, nausea, or reduced sense of smell and taste suggesting that SARS-CoV2 may affect the central nervous system (CNS). It was shown that different respiratory viral infections can lead to deleterious complications in the CNS by a direct invasion of the virus into the brain and/or indirect pathways via proinflammatory cytokine expression. Therefore, we will discuss in this review mechanisms how the most prevalent respiratory viruses including influenza and coronaviruses in humans can exert long-lasting detrimental effects on the CNS and possible links to the development of neurodegenerative diseases as an enduring consequence.
    • 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.
    • Two-Photon Correlation Spectroscopy in Single Dendritic Spines Reveals Fast Actin Filament Reorganization during Activity-Dependent Growth.

      Chen, Jian-Hua; Kellner, Yves; Zagrebelsky, Marta; Grunwald, Matthias; Korte, Martin; Walla, Peter Jomo; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015)
      Two-photon fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (2P-FCS) within single dendritic spines of living hippocampal pyramidal neurons was used to resolve various subpopulations of mobile F-actin during activity-dependent structural changes such as potentiation induced spine head growth. Two major classes of mobile F-actin were discovered: very dynamic and about a hundred times less dynamic F-actin. Spine head enlargement upon application of Tetraethylammonium (TEA), a protocol previously used for the chemical induction of long-term potentiation (cLTP) strictly correlated to changes in the dynamics and filament numbers in the different actin filament fractions. Our observations suggest that spine enlargement is governed by a mechanism in which longer filaments are first cut into smaller filaments that cooperate with the second, increasingly dynamic shorter actin filament population to quickly reorganize and expand the actin cytoskeleton within the spine head. This process would allow a fast and efficient spine head enlargement using a major fraction of the actin filament population that was already present before spine head growth.
    • 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.