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Role of the ciliopathy gene Ftm/Rpgrip1l and primary cilia in forebrain patterning and morphogenesis

Abstract : Primary cilia are essential for central nervous system development. In the mouse, they play a critical role in patterning the spinal cord and telencephalon via the regulation of Hedgehog/Gli signaling. However, despite the frequent disruption of this signaling pathway in human forebrain malformations, the role of primary cilia in forebrain morphogenesis has been little investigated outside the telencephalon. Here we studied development of the diencephalon, hypothalamus and eyes in mutant mice in which the Ftm/Rgprip1l ciliopathy gene is disrupted. At the end of gestation, Ftm-/- fetuses displayed anophthalmia, a reduction of the ventral hypothalamus and a disorganization of diencephalic nuclei and axonal tracts. In Ftm-/- embryos, we found that the ventral forebrain structures and the rostral thalamus were missing. Optic vesicles formed but lacked the optic cups. We analyzed the molecular causes of these defects. In Ftm-/- embryos, Sonic hedgehog (Shh) expression was lost in the ventral forebrain but maintained in the zona limitans intrathalamica (ZLI), the mid-diencephalic organizer. In the diencephalon, Gli activity was dampened in regions adjacent to the Shh-expressing ZLI but displayed a higher Hh-independent ground level in the other regions. Our data uncover a complex role of cilia in development of the diencephalon, hypothalamus and eyes via the region-specific control of the ratio of activator and repressor forms of the Gli transcription factors. They call for a closer examination of forebrain defects in severe ciliopathies and for a search for ciliopathy genes as modifiers in other human conditions with forebrain defects.
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Abraham Andreu Cervera. Role of the ciliopathy gene Ftm/Rpgrip1l and primary cilia in forebrain patterning and morphogenesis. Biomolecules [q-bio.BM]. Sorbonne Université, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018SORUS223⟩. ⟨tel-02483157v2⟩

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