Extracellular matrix-associated gene expression in adult sensory neuron populations cultured on a laminin substrate
Division of BioMedical Sciences, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL, Canada
BMC Neuroscience 2013, 14:15 doi:10.1186/1471-2202-14-15Published: 30 January 2013
In our previous investigations of the role of the extracellular matrix (ECM) in promoting neurite growth we have observed that a permissive laminin (LN) substrate stimulates differential growth responses in subpopulations of mature dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. DRG neurons expressing Trk and p75 receptors grow neurites on a LN substrate in the absence of neurotrophins, while isolectin B4-binding neurons (IB4+) do not display significant growth under the same conditions. We set out to determine whether there was an expression signature of the LN-induced neurite growth phenotype. Using a lectin binding protocol IB4+ neurons were isolated from dissociated DRG neurons, creating two groups - IB4+ and IB4-. A small-scale microarray approach was employed to screen the expression of a panel of ECM-associated genes following dissociation (t=0) and after 24 hr culture on LN (t=24LN). This was followed by qRT-PCR and immunocytochemistry of selected genes.
The microarray screen showed that 36 of the 144 genes on the arrays were consistently expressed by the neurons. The array analyses showed that six genes had lower expression in the IB4+ neurons compared to the IB4- cells at t=0 (CTSH, Icam1, Itgβ1, Lamb1, Plat, Spp1), and one gene was expressed at higher levels in the IB4+ cells (Plaur). qRT-PCR was carried out as an independent assessment of the array results. There were discrepancies between the two methods, with qRT-PCR confirming the differences in Lamb1, Plat and Plaur, and showing decreased expression of AdamTs1, FN, and Icam in the IB4+ cells at t=0. After 24 hr culture on LN, there were no significant differences detected by qRT-PCR
Our results show that 1B4+ and IB4- neurons differ in the expression of several genes that are associated with responsiveness to the ECM prior to culturing (AdamTs1, FN, Icam1, Lamb1, Plat, Plaur). The data suggest that the genes expressed at higher levels in the IB4- neurons could contribute to the initial growth response of these cells in a permissive environment and could also represent a common injury response that subsequently promotes axon regeneration. The differential expression of several extracellular matrix molecules (FN, Lamb1, Icam) may suggest that the IB4- neurons are capable of maintaining /secreting their local extracellular environment which could aid in the regenerative process. Overall, these data provide new information on potential targets that could be manipulated to enhance axonal regeneration in the mature nervous system.