Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The developmental and evolutionary roles of isoforms of regulator of G protein signalling 3 in neuronal differentiation
Author: Fleenor, Stephen
ISNI:       0000 0004 5365 7786
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Access from Institution:
Fundamental to the complexity of the nervous system is the precise regulation in space and time of the production, maturation, and migration of neurons in the developing embryo. This is eloquently seen in the forming cranial sensory ganglia (CSG) of the peripheral nervous system. Placodes, which are transient pseudostratified neuroepithelia in the surface ectoderm of the embryo, are responsible for generating most of the neurons of the CSG. Placodal progenitors commit to the neuronal fate and delaminate from the epithelium as immature, multipolar neuroblasts. These neuroblasts reside in a staging area immediately outside the placode. Differentiation of the neuroblasts is intimately coupled to their adoption of a bipolar morphology and migration away from the staging area to the future site of the CSG. Thus the forming CSG is a highly tractable model to anatomically separate the three phases of a neuroblast’s lifetime: from neuroepithelial progenitor (in the placode), to immature neuroblast (in the staging area), to mature neuron (in the migratory stream). In this thesis, I used the forming CSG as a model to investigate the role of Regulator of G protein Signalling 3 (RGS3) in neuroblast commitment and differentiation. Promoters within introns of the RGS3 locus generate isoforms in which N-terminal sequences are sequentially truncated, but C-terminal sequences are preserved. Intriguingly, I found that expression of these isoforms in the forming CSG is temporally co-linear with their genomic orientation: longer isoforms are exclusively expressed in the progenitor placode; a medium isoform is expressed exclusively in the neuroblast staging area; and the shortest isoforms are expressed in the neuronal migratory stream. Furthermore, through loss- and gain-of-function experiments, I demonstrated that each of these isoforms plays a specific role in the differentiation state in which it is expressed: placode-expressed isoforms negatively regulate neurogenesis; the neuroblast-expressed isoform negatively regulates differentiation; and the neuron-expressed isoforms negatively regulate neuronal migration. The negative regulatory role which all isoforms play in different cell-biological contexts is intriguing in light of the fact that they all share a C-terminal RGS domain, which canonically negatively regulates G protein signalling. Through domain mutation and deletion, I showed that the RGS and N-terminal domains are important for the function of each isoform. Thus temporally co-linear expression within the RGS3 locus generates later-expressed isoforms which lack the regulatory N-terminal domains of the earlier-expressed isoforms, giving them new license to perform different biochemical functions. Lastly, I investigated the conservation and evolution of RGS3 and its isoforms. RGS3 was found to be present in all extant metazoans, and results from this thesis implicate it as the founding member of the R4 subfamily of RGS proteins. Furthermore, in the early vertebrate lineage, a critical domain was lost. This is intriguing in light of the fact that placodes in their stereotypic forms also emerged early in the vertebrate lineage. Ectopic overexpression of the full-length invertebrate RGS3 protein prevented pseudostratification of the vertebrate placode, suggesting that the domain loss in the early vertebrate lineage was important for the evolution of pseudostratified placodes and the expansion of the vertebrate nervous system. In summary, the work in this thesis has uncovered a previously unseen model of transcriptional regulation of a single locus: intragenic temporal co-linearity. Furthermore, the demonstrated functions of this regulation have profound implications on the generation and differentiation of vertebrate neurons, as well as the evolution of the vertebrate nervous system.
Supervisor: Begbie, Jo Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Development (zoology) ; Evolution (zoology) ; Biology ; Biochemistry ; Genetics (life sciences) ; Physiology and anatomy ; regulator of g protein signalling 3 ; isoform ; placode ; neurogenesis ; neuronal differentiation ; neuronal migration ; evolution and development