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Publications in Deep Brain Stimulation by NOMIS researchers

NOMIS Researcher(s)

June 15, 2023

The progressive accumulation of insoluble aggregates of the presynaptic protein alpha-synuclein (α-Syn) is a hallmark of neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson’s disease (PD), Multiple System Atrophy, and Dementia with Lewy Bodies, commonly referred to as synucleinopathies. Despite considerable progress on the structural biology of these aggregates, the molecular mechanisms mediating their cell-to-cell transmission, propagation, and neurotoxicity remain only partially understood. Numerous studies have highlighted the stereotypical spatiotemporal spreading of pathological α-Syn aggregates across different tissues and anatomically connected brain regions over time. Experimental evidence from various cellular and animal models indicate that α-Syn transfer occurs in two defined steps: the release of pathogenic α-Syn species from infected cells, and their uptake via passive or active endocytic pathways. Once α-Syn aggregates have been internalized, little is known about what drives their toxicity or how they interact with the endogenous protein to promote its misfolding and subsequent aggregation. Similarly, unknown genetic factors modulate different cellular responses to the aggregation and accumulation of pathogenic α-Syn species. Here we discuss the current understanding of the molecular phenomena associated with the intercellular spreading of pathogenic α-Syn seeds and summarize the evidence supporting the transmission hypothesis. Understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in α-Syn aggregates transmission is essential to develop novel targeted therapeutics against PD and related synucleinopathies. © 2022 The Author(s)

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Biomedical Research, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

NOMIS Researcher(s)

Published in

April 4, 2023

Human brain organoids provide unique platforms for modeling several aspects of human brain development and pathology. However, current brain organoid systems mostly lack the resolution to recapitulate the development of finer brain structures with subregional identity, including functionally distinct nuclei in the thalamus. Here, we report a method for converting human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) into ventral thalamic organoids (vThOs) with transcriptionally diverse nuclei identities. Notably, single-cell RNA sequencing revealed previously unachieved thalamic patterning with a thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) signature, a GABAergic nucleus located in the ventral thalamus. Using vThOs, we explored the functions of TRN-specific, disease-associated genes patched domain containing 1 (PTCHD1) and receptor tyrosine-protein kinase (ERBB4) during human thalamic development. Perturbations in PTCHD1 or ERBB4 impaired neuronal functions in vThOs, albeit not affecting the overall thalamic lineage development. Together, vThOs present an experimental model for understanding nuclei-specific development and pathology in the thalamus of the human brain. © 2023 Elsevier Inc.

Research field(s)
Health Sciences