Disruption of glycine receptors to study embryonic development and brain function

December 17, 2019

Glycine receptors are one of the most widely distributed inhibitory receptors in the central nervous system and have important roles in a variety of physiological processes. Researchers from Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI), University of Toyama, Yamagata University, Cairo University, RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences and Setsunan University joined forces to further study glycine receptors, particularly glycine receptor alpha-4 (Glra4), during development. In a recent publication in the journal Reproduction, they demonstrated that Glra4 is not a brain exclusive gene, as was believed, but on the contrary, it facilitates the early embryonic development in mice.

Hirofumi Nishizono first author of this publication and research associate of Yasuda Lab, explained that in order to fully understand the function of a specific gene, it is necessary to study a condition where this gene is deleted. By applying in vitro fertilization in combination with CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system to mouse embryos, the team generated a genetically modified mouse in which the Glra4 gene has been disrupted. One of the remarkable results show that Glra4 plays a critical role in the early development of fertilized eggs, facilitating the development of the blastocyst, a structure formed in the early development of mammals, maintaining embryo quality and litter size in mice. Interestingly, they have also shown that different types of glycine receptors are expressed not only in mouse fertilized eggs but also in fertilized eggs of humans and bovine, suggesting that the role of these receptors in early embryonic development is conserved across species. Moreover, while Glra4 is a pseudogene in humans, they use a different type of glycine receptors (GLRA2), which are active in humans, for this process.

Nishizono is currently investigating the effects of the disruption of glycine receptors in the brain. He is conducting behavioral tests to evaluate if the deletion of Glra4 affects brain function of mice. Some preliminary data indicate that the deletion of Glra4 is associated with phenotypes related to psychiatric disorders. Yasuda Lab will continue to produce genetically modified mice to investigate the role of different molecules involved in learning and memory as well as various brain disorders.

Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience

Related Brain Articles from Brightsurf:

Glioblastoma nanomedicine crosses into brain in mice, eradicates recurring brain cancer
A new synthetic protein nanoparticle capable of slipping past the nearly impermeable blood-brain barrier in mice could deliver cancer-killing drugs directly to malignant brain tumors, new research from the University of Michigan shows.

Children with asymptomatic brain bleeds as newborns show normal brain development at age 2
A study by UNC researchers finds that neurodevelopmental scores and gray matter volumes at age two years did not differ between children who had MRI-confirmed asymptomatic subdural hemorrhages when they were neonates, compared to children with no history of subdural hemorrhage.

New model of human brain 'conversations' could inform research on brain disease, cognition
A team of Indiana University neuroscientists has built a new model of human brain networks that sheds light on how the brain functions.

Human brain size gene triggers bigger brain in monkeys
Dresden and Japanese researchers show that a human-specific gene causes a larger neocortex in the common marmoset, a non-human primate.

Unique insight into development of the human brain: Model of the early embryonic brain
Stem cell researchers from the University of Copenhagen have designed a model of an early embryonic brain.

An optical brain-to-brain interface supports information exchange for locomotion control
Chinese researchers established an optical BtBI that supports rapid information transmission for precise locomotion control, thus providing a proof-of-principle demonstration of fast BtBI for real-time behavioral control.

Transplanting human nerve cells into a mouse brain reveals how they wire into brain circuits
A team of researchers led by Pierre Vanderhaeghen and Vincent Bonin (VIB-KU Leuven, Université libre de Bruxelles and NERF) showed how human nerve cells can develop at their own pace, and form highly precise connections with the surrounding mouse brain cells.

Brain scans reveal how the human brain compensates when one hemisphere is removed
Researchers studying six adults who had one of their brain hemispheres removed during childhood to reduce epileptic seizures found that the remaining half of the brain formed unusually strong connections between different functional brain networks, which potentially help the body to function as if the brain were intact.

Alcohol byproduct contributes to brain chemistry changes in specific brain regions
Study of mouse models provides clear implications for new targets to treat alcohol use disorder and fetal alcohol syndrome.

Scientists predict the areas of the brain to stimulate transitions between different brain states
Using a computer model of the brain, Gustavo Deco, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, and Josephine Cruzat, a member of his team, together with a group of international collaborators, have developed an innovative method published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Sept.

Read More: Brain News and Brain Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.