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Modulation of neural plasticity by the ADAMTSs (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs)

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Modulation of neural plasticity by the ADAMTSs (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs)
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English
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Hamel, Michelle Grace
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University of South Florida
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Neurite outgrowth
Dendritic spine
Proteoglycan
Extracellular matrix
Protease
Dissertations, Academic -- Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology -- Doctoral -- USF
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Abstract:
ABSTRACT: Aggregating proteoglycans (PG) bearing chondroitin sulfate (CS) side chains are well-known inhibitors of neural plasticity and associate with hyaluronan and tenascin-R to form a complex of extracellular matrix (ECM) in the central nervous system (CNS). Little is known about whether proteolytic cleavage of the core protein affects neural plasticity. Several members of the ADAMTS (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs) family of metalloproteinases are glutamyl-endopeptidases that cleave aggregating PGs. Our initial studies determined that neural cultures secrete a brevican-containing matrix, and that these neural cultures also produced ADAMTS4, a protease that cleaves brevican. Furthermore, this brevican-containing matrix in astrocytes could be modulated by treatment with transforming growth factor beta (TGFbeta) through the inhibition of the activity of the ADAMTSs.Once it was established that neural cultures produce a brevican-rich matrix, we s ought to utilize this matrix to determine whether cleavage of aggregating PGs, especially brevican, by the ADAMTSs influences neurite outgrowth in cultured neurons. Transfection of rat neurons with ADAMTS4 cDNA induced longer neurites, and interestingly, this effect proved to be independent of the proteolytic action of the ADAMTSs. Addition of recombinant ADAMTS4 or ADAMTS5 protein to immature neuronal cultures similarly enhanced neurite extension, an action dependent on the activation of extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK)1/2 (MAP kinase 42/44), resulting in the first evidence that ADAMTSs may induce intracellular signaling events. Studies of dendritic spine morphology and levels of synaptic proteins in response to ADAMTS4 treatment were also undertaken. Neuronal cultures treated with ADAMTS4 showed increased length of dendritic spines and increased percent of immature spines detected. A concurrent decrease in post-synaptic protein staining was detected on the neurites of yo ung neurons overexpressing ADAMTS4 or expressing proteolytically-inactive mutant ADAMTS4 protein. Thus, ADAMTS4 may promote plasticity in neurons in vitro by preventing the formation, maturation, and/or stabilization of synapses. Overall, these experiments provide evidence that implicate the ADAMTSs as mediators of neural plasticity, and while primarily known only as proteases, these studies demonstrate that the ADAMTSs exert actions distinct from these proteolytic properties that require the induction of intracellular signaling events.
Thesis:
Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2006.
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Includes bibliographical references.
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by Michelle Grace Hamel.
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Modulation of Neural Plasticity by the ADAMTSs (a Disintegrin and Metalloproteinase with Thrombospondin Motifs) by Michelle Grace Hamel A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement s for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Molecular P harmacology and Physiology College of Medicine University of South Florida Major Professor: Paul E. Gottschall, Ph.D. Javier Cuevas, Ph.D. Keith R. Pennypacker, Ph.D. John D. Sandy, Ph.D. Alison E. Willing, Ph.D. Date of Approval: June 30, 2006 Keywords: neurite outgrowth, dendritic spin e, proteoglycan, extracellular matrix, protease Copyright 2006, Michelle Grace Hamel

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to extend my sinceres t thanks to all who have helped with these studies. Dr. Keith Pennypacker was very kind in allowing us generous use of his Zeiss Axioskop epifluorescent upri ght microscope, and Dr. Javier Cuevas and those in his lab were very kind to assist me with calcium imaging experiments. The collabor ation with Dr. John Sandys lab was instrumental in the execution of these studi es. I would also like to thank Dr. Fengrong Zuo of Roche Biosciences (Palo Alto, CA) for generously donating the human recombinant ADAMTS4 and 5 protein used in these studies, and Dr. Carl Flannery from Wyeth Research (Cambridge, MA) for his generous gift of human recombinant ADAMTS4 that was used in preliminary experiments. Dr. Anna Plaas and Barbara Osborn were very kind in training us and allowing us use of the Leica confocal microscope. Thank you to everyone who has helped me in the past four years; you are too numerous to list her e, but I will be eternally grateful for your encouragement, ideas and kind words along the way.

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Note to reader: The original of this document contains color that is necessary for understanding the data. The original dissertat ion is on file with the USF library in Tampa, Florida.

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Table of Contents List of Figures ii Abstract iv Introduction Neural Plasticity and Proteoglycans 1 Lecticans and Perineuronal Nets 5 Degradation of Extracellular Matrix 9 Chapter 1: Altered Production and Proteolytic Processing of Brevican by Transforming Growth Factor in Cultured Astrocytes 14 Chapter 2: ADAMTSs (A Disintegrin and Metalloproteinase with Thrombospondin Motifs) Enhance Neurite Outgrowth through a NonProteolytic Mechanism Mediated by Extracellular Signal-Related Kinase1/2 36 Chapter 3: ADAMTS4 (A Disintegrin and Metalloproteinase with Thrombospondin Motifs 4) Inhibits Maturation of Dendritic Spines in Neurons in vitro 78 Conclusions 108 References 126 About the Author End Page i

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List of Figures Figure 1: Protein domains of ADAMTS4 11 Figure 2: Schematic demonstrating isoforms, cleavage products, and antibody recognition sites of brevican. 16 Figure 3: Brevican, ADAMTS-cleaved brevican and ADAMTS4 expression in neural cultures. 25 Figure 4: Levels of intact brevican (145kD) and the N-terminal total cleavage product of brevican (55 kD) in medium from cytokine-treated primary astrocyte cultures. 28 Figure 5: Levels of ADAMTS cleaved brevican (55kD) in cytokine treated astrocyte cultures. 29 Figure 6: ADAMTS-4 protein levels in response to cytokine treatment. 30 Figure 7: Apparent ADAMTS activity in cytokine treated astrocyte cultures. 31 Figure 8: Lectican-tenascin-hyaluronan matrix complex in the CNS and lectican cleavage by ADAMTSs. 39 Figure 9: ADAMTS4 cDNA induces neurite outgrowth in neurons grown on astrocyte monolayers. 53 Figure 10: ADAMTS4 cDNA induces neurite outgrowth in neurons grown on a poly-L-lysine/laminin substrate. 56 Figure 11: An inactive mutant ADAMTS4 cDNA enhances neurite outgrowth. 59 Figure 12: Human recombinant ADAMTS4 induces neurite outgrowth. 63 Figure 13: Tyrosine residue phosphorylation in total protein extract from neurons after treatment with human recombinant ADAMTS4. 66 Figure 14: ERK1/2 is activated in neurons in response to treatment with human recombinant ADAMTS4. 68 ii

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Figure 15: MAP kinase inhibitors attenuate neurite outgrowth induced by human recombinant ADAMTS4 treatment. 71 Figure 16: Human recombinant ADAMTS4 increases dendritic protrusion length in young and mature neurons. 90 Figure 17: Treatment of primary neurons with ADAMTS4 increases the percentages of different spine types. 93 Figure 18: Synaptic marker proteins increase with neuronal culture age. 95 Figure 19: ADAMTS4 does not significantly alter synaptic protein levels. 97 Figure 20: Synaptic marker staining in transfected neurons. 100 Figure 21: Alterations in levels of synaptic markers on neuronal cell bodies in response to ADAMTS4. 101 Figure 22: Changes in immunoreactivity of synaptic markers on neurites of transfected neurons. 103 Figure 23: ADAMTS4 mediates neural plasticity 123 iii

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Modulation of Neural Plasticity by the ADAMTSs (a Disintegrin and Metalloproteinase with Thrombospondin Motifs) Michelle Hamel ABSTRACT Aggregating proteoglycans (PG) bearing chondroitin sulfate (CS) side chains are well-known inhibitors of neural plasticity and associate with hyaluronan and tenascin-R to form a complex of extracellular matrix (ECM) in the central nervous system (CNS). Little is known about whether proteolytic cleavage of the core protein affects neural plasticity. Several members of the ADAMTS (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs) family of metalloproteinases are glutamyl-endopeptidases that cleave aggregating PGs. Our initial studies determined that neural cultures secrete a brevican-containing matrix, and that these neural cultures also produced ADAMTS4, a protease that cleaves brevican. Furthermore, this brevican-containing matrix in astrocytes could be modulated by treatment with transforming growth factor (TGF) through the inhibition of the activity of the ADAMTSs. Once it was established that neural cultures produce a brevican-rich matrix, we sought to utilize this matrix to determine whether cleavage of aggregating PGs, especially brevican, by the ADAMTSs influences neurite outgrowth in cultured neurons. Transfection of rat neurons with ADAMTS4 cDNA induced longer neurites, and interestingly, this effect proved to be independent of iv

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the proteolytic action of the ADAMTSs. Addition of recombinant ADAMTS4 or ADAMTS5 protein to immature neuronal cultures similarly enhanced neurite extension, an action dependent on the activation of extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK)1/2 (MAP kinase 42/44), resulting in the first evidence that ADAMTSs may induce intracellular signaling events. Studies of dendritic spine morphology and levels of synaptic proteins in response to ADAMTS4 treatment were also undertaken. Neuronal cultures treated with ADAMTS4 showed increased length of dendritic spines and increased percent of immature spines detected. A concurrent decrease in post-synaptic protein staining was detected on the neurites of young neurons overexpressing ADAMTS4 or expressing proteolytically-inactive mutant ADAMTS4 protein. Thus, ADAMTS4 may promote plasticity in neurons in vitro by preventing the formation, maturation, and/or stabilization of synapses. Overall, these experiments provide evidence that implicate the ADAMTSs as mediators of neural plasticity, and while primarily known only as proteases, these studies demonstrate that the ADAMTSs exert actions distinct from these proteolytic properties that require the induction of intracellular signaling events. v

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Introduction Neural plasticity and proteoglycans Neural plasticity is the broad term used to describe the processes that occur in the CNS to facilitate the formation of new neural connections. This is a complex process involving proliferation and migration of cells, neuritic sprouting and synaptogenesis that occurs between the newly extended processes. Plasticity can be defined as functional changes that occur in neurons. The developing brain is highly plastic, whereas plastic changes in mature adult brain are more limited but may readily take place in certain regions including hippocampus and olfactory bulb. This is important in terms of injury to the adult brain, where a plastic response, if activated, could lead to functional recovery. Extensive neurite outgrowth occurs during the development of the CNS, and also in response to injury, although to a much greater extent in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) compared to the CNS. Sprouting neurites must traverse a circuitous route and penetrate a multifarious extracellular matrix to reach and innervate their targets. Proteoglycans (PG), more specifically those of the lectican family, are a major component of this matrix and function in pathfinding, cell adhesion and migration. It is well established that PGs are inhibitors of neurite outgrowth. Lectican expression is extensive in the brain throughout life. 1

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Early in development, PGs function in axonal pathfinding as inhibitory guidance cues and act as barriers to outgrowing neurites (Snow et al., 1991; Kubota et al., 1999; Ichijo, 2004; Kantor et al., 2004). Chondroitin sulfate (CS) chains that are covalently linked to the central domain of the PG aid in inhibiting neurite outgrowth, and removing these chains allows for increased plasticity (Pizzorusso et al., 2002), and in other cases, pathfinding errors (Brittis et al., 1992; Bernhardt and Schachner, 2000; Masuda et al., 2004). In fact, removing the glycosaminoglycan (GAG) chains from the PG caused a plastic dominance shift in the visual cortex of the adult animal undergoing monocular deprivation (Pizzorusso et al., 2002). Many studies implicate the CS moieties in the ability of the PG to inhibit neurite outgrowth since treatment of PGs with the experimental enzyme that degrades CS chains, chondroitinase ABC, increases plasticity. It should be noted, however, that chondroitinase ABC degrades hyaluronan, a large high molecular weight GAG in the ECM, and thus, this effect may play a role in the reactivation of plasticity seen in these experiments. Other studies have shown that the core protein retains a degree of inhibition, although not as great at the intact PG, after CS GAG chain removal (Schmalfeldt et al., 2000; Ughrin et al., 2003). Conversely, limited evidence indicates that PGs with little GAG chain substitution and those PGs bearing heparan sulfate (HS) chains may actually support neurite outgrowth (Hantaz-Ambroise et al., 1987; Kim et al., 2003). In vitro studies have shown that upon contacting PGs, growth cones do not collapse, but are rather redirected on another path (Snow et al., 2001). In fact, growing neurons in the presence of CS-containing PG results in increased 2

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axonal fasciculation (Snow et al., 2003). Since the core protein does retain the ability to attenuate neurite outgrowth, attempts have been made to implicate this portion of the molecule in this function as increased neuritic growth is observed after core protein cleavage (Zuo et al., 1998). To date, there is no unifying theory as to how PGs inhibit neurite outgrowth, and in fact, several possible mechanisms have been proposed to explain the ability of the CS-containing PG to attenuate neurite outgrowth so exquisitely. These proposed mechanisms range from receptor mediated processes to sequestering growth factors. There may be an unknown receptor that binds PGs to activate neuritic growth inhibiting processes (Carulli et al., 2005). Another theory is that CSPGs bind growth-supporting molecules to sequester these factors (Bovolenta and Fernaud-Espinosa, 2000; Deepa et al., 2002; Carulli et al., 2005), or block the receptors for growth factors (Snow and Letourneau, 1992; Smith-Thomas et al., 1994; McKeon et al., 1995; Carulli et al., 2005). Instead of blocking growth promoting processes, it may be that PGs aid growth inhibitory processes. PGs may direct inhibitory molecules to their site of action (Emerling and Lander, 1996; Carulli et al., 2005) or may even bind receptors that activate cell signals to block neurite outgrowth (Carulli et al., 2005). There are many possible mechanisms but no convincing data to this date to determine the mechanism of action of the PG in inhibiting neurite outgrowth. While PGs are important in pathfinding and development, they are also highly expressed in the glial scar, the accumulation of reactive astrocytes and deposition of ECM components that occurs in response to injury to restrict the 3

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growth of axons into a damaged area of the CNS. The CNS responds to injury by recruiting cell types like microglia and oligodendrocyte precursors to the injury site. These cells work in concert with reactive astrocytes to express several growth-restricting molecules, one of the most highly expressed being lecticans (Tang et al., 2003). Several other inhibitory components are expressed as well, like the glycoprotein tenascin and the myelin-associated inhibitor Nogo-A (Asher et al., 2001). The application of chondroitinase ABC to degrade the CS chains of PGs expressed in response to injury such as nigrostriatal tract axotomy or spinal cord lesion results in increased axonal regeneration (Moon et al., 2001; Bradbury et al., 2002). Therefore, due to their expression pattern and well known role in restricting neuritic growth, the modulation of PGs is promising as a means to activate plasticity in the adult CNS. When attempting to enhance plasticity in the CNS, neurite outgrowth is important, but insignificant if these new axons do not form functional connections. Currently, interest is increasing as to how ECM components influence changes in the morphology of synapses, rather than changes in the conductance of the neuron. Dendritic spines, the site for excitatory neurotransmission in the CNS, are a very common method to measure alterations in synaptic morphology since these protrusions show some degree of morphological plasticity in adult CNS. An array of various proteins is important in regulating the formation and alteration of dendritic spines, which are highly enriched in actin and thus highly motile structures. Lecticans surround dendritic spines except at the synapse, however, 4

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their function in synaptic modulation has been speculated to be important, and is supported by indirect evidence. Lecticans and perineuronal nets Perineuronal nets (PNN), which ensheathe certain neurons to form an isolated microenvironment, are thought to be important in the regulation of synaptic plasticity. Neurons and glia secrete the components of the PNN (Celio and Blumcke, 1994). In the brain, ECM localizes to the intracellular spaces between neurons and glia and also coats the neuronal surface, and is deposited in neuropil and white matter. The four proteoglycans of the lectican family, aggrecan, neurocan, versican and brevican share significant homology and are the chief components in brain ECM of neuropil and PNNs. The four lecticans share homologous structural motifs, namely the G1 globular domain located at the N-terminus, and the G3 globular domain located at the C-terminus. There is also a non-homologous central domain that contains varying numbers of attachment sites for CS chains. The lecticans differ mainly in their lengths, degree of CS attachment and expression pattern in the brain. The G1 domain contains binding motifs for hyaluronan and the G3 domain binds tenascin, both of which are found in PNNs (Yamaguchi, 2000). Several studies have demonstrated binding as well as co-localization of the lecticans with hyaluronan and tenascin, and hyaluronan and tenascin are part of PNNs (Aspberg et al., 1997; Hagihara et al., 1999). Thus, it is thought that the binding of these three components form the contents of the PNN. The tightness of the lattice can be altered by substituting lecticans of differing lengths or by proteolytic cleavage of 5

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the lectican (Yamaguchi, 2000). Indeed, lectican protein fragments of similar size are detected in many tissues, including the brain, suggesting that there is a conserved sequence at which extracellular proteolytic cleavage occurs. Lecticans are detected as components of PNNs and in region-specific staining patterns in the neuropil (Bignami et al., 1993; Bertolotto et al., 1996). PNNs typically envelope GABAergic interneurons, although PNNs are not limited to these neurons. Staining of lecticans on PNNs and in the neuropil correlate with staining of hyaluronan and tenascin in the mouse hippocampus, lending further credence to the idea that these components interact to form a lattice in the ECM (Bruckner et al., 2003). Evidence indicates that the lectican/tenascin/hyaluronan complex does have functional relevance in the brain. Mice deficient in tenascin-R expression results in abnormal distribution of ECM components, including brevican, although there is no structural change in the synapse. There is altered long term potentiation (LTP) in tenascin-R deficient mice, and this is similar to changes that occur in a brevican knock-out mouse (Saghatelyan et al., 2001; Brakebusch et al., 2002). The C-terminal G3 domain of the lecticans contain attachment sites for carbohydrate moieties like tenascin and sulfoglucuronyl glycolipids. This binding with non GAG chain-containing brevican promotes neuronal adhesion and neurite outgrowth (Miura et al., 2001), and hyaluronan associated adhesive cues influence positioning of entorhinal fibers in the hippocampus (Forster et al., 2001). Thus, PGs and ECM cues may be important in neural plasticity in the adult brain. 6

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The lecticans brevican, versican V2 and aggrecan are expressed after the dendritic pruning critical period and levels remain high in the adult when synapses are cemented. Additionally, lecticans are deposited around synapses, and these facts taken together offer evidence that lecticans may be important in synaptic stabilization. Lectican expression is developmentally regulated with neurocan and versican V1 being expressed at high levels in the young animal, while brevican, versican V2 and aggrecan are expressed beginning at postnatal day 10 in the rat with levels peaking at postnatal day 100. These high levels persist throughout life (Milev et al., 1998). Brevican in particular is highly expressed in the neuropil of adult brain and localizes perisynaptically, leading to the hypothesis that brevican is important in the stabilization of synapses (Hockfield et al., 1990; Koppe et al., 1997; Yamaguchi, 2000; Mayer et al., 2005). The presence of brevican is thought to render a synapse more static and resistant to plasticity, and may even inhibit the formation of new synapses. Brevican is a unique member of the lectican family of PGs, and exists as a part-time proteoglycan, and in fact, about 50% of the brevican in the brain exists without any CS or other sugars (Yamada et al., 1994). Additionally, brevican is alternatively spliced to produce a GPI signal sequence that results in the protein covalently tethered to the membrane (Seidenbecher et al., 1995), although the cell type producing GPI brevican remains unclear (Seidenbecher et al., 1998; Jaworski et al., 1999). The GPI and secreted forms of brevican are concentrated in synaptic fractions and associate with lipid rafts (Seidenbecher et al., 2002). Interestingly, brevican knock-out mice show no obvious deficits in behavior or 7

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learning, but have a phenotype of impaired LTP. It has not been examined, however, whether a compensatory increase in other lectican family members resulted from deficiencies in brevican and may explain why these mice have little neurological phenotype. Similarly, LTP can be impaired by infusing anti-brevican antibodies into the brains of wild-type mice (Brakebusch et al., 2002). At any rate, impaired LTP certainly demonstrates that brevican is important for the formation of new memories at the molecular level. A quadruple knockout mouse was created recently lacking expression of brevican, neurocan, tenascin-R and tenascin-C. The only abnormality displayed by this mouse is increased fibulin expression that assumedly is compensating for the loss of tenascin (Rauch et al., 2005), but further characterization of these animals is necessary to fully understand the phenotype. Other PG families demonstrate a role in synaptogenesis, suggesting that molecules similar to PGs with CS side chains may also modulate synapse formation. Enzymatically degrading the HS chains in neuronal cultures disrupts the action of neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) to activate synaptogenesis (Dityatev et al., 2004). Overexpressing the HSPG syndecan-2 induces mature dendritic spine formation in immature neuronal cultures presumably by interacting with Eph receptors (Ethell and Yamaguchi, 1999). In the PNS, agrin, a HSPG, is essential for proper development and function of the neuromuscular junction (Werle and VanSaun, 2003). Since the mechanism of HS in synaptic function is unclear, it is difficult to speculate whether CSPGs could act in a similar fashion, although it is reasonable to believe that they may. 8

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Degradation of extracellular matrix In addition to a role for GAG side chains, perhaps modulating the inhibitory ECM by cleavage of the PG core protein through endogenous proteases could lead to altered synaptic plasticity. Proteolytic cleavage and degradation of ECM occurs through proteases of three major families: the matrix metalloproteinases (MMP), the plasminogen activator-plasmin system and the ADAMTSs. The MMPs are Ca ++ and Zn ++ dependent proteases that cleave ECM and are latent pro-proteases. As degradation of the matrix needs to be tightly controlled, their regulation occurs through several mechanisms. There are controls in gene expression, activation of the pro-protease and inhibition of the protease with the tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMP). Furthermore, MMPs, as well as ADAMTSs and ADAMs are maintained in their inactive state by a Zn ++ non-covalently bound to an unpaired cysteine residue, known as a cysteine switch in the pro-domain of the protease. In vitro, autocatalysis occurs when the Zn ++ -cysteine interaction is disturbed by free radicals, organomercurial compounds or proteolysis, resulting in an activated protease. Many studies have revealed changes in MMP expression in CNS injury and pathology models (Yong et al., 2001), and mounting evidence indicates both a detrimental and beneficial role for the MMPs. The ADAMTSs are the most recently cloned family of ECM-degrading proteases. They are similar in structure to the ADAM family of proteases and cell surface adhesion proteins. The ADAMTSs cleave PGs, including aggrecan (Tortorella et al., 1999), brevican (Matthews et al., 2000); and versican V2 9

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(Westling et al., 2004). Currently, there are 19 members described that belong to this family of proteins with widespread expression, and several members are expressed and proteolytically active in brain. Certain ADAMTSs are secreted as latent pro-proteases and activated by cleavage at a furin-like site in the pro-domain of the molecule. ADAMTSs are secreted and anchor to the cell surface or ECM by their C-terminal spacer domain or thrombospondin (TSP) repeats, which bind GAG chains on HS or glycolipids (Nagase and Kashiwagi, 2003). The TSP motifs, along with the spacer region, mediate lectican (and presumably other substrates) binding to protease (Kashiwagi et al., 2004, Fig. 1). Figure. 1: Protein Domains of ADAMTS4. ADAMTS family members contain several conserved protein domains important in protease functionality. These domains include an N-terminal pro-domain that is cleaved by a furin-like protease upon secretion to aid in activation of the enzyme, a catalytic domain that is responsible for proteolytic capacity, a disintegrin domain that is similar to snake venom reprolysins (Dis), a Thrombospondin type I motif (Tsp), cysteine rich region (Cys) and a C-terminal spacer domain that is successively cleaved to reveal lower molecular weight isoforms of ADAMTS4. 10

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Figure. 1: Protein Domains of ADAMTS4. 11 ADAMTSs cleave aggrecan, versican and brevican at a conserved sequence located near the N-terminus of the GAG chain containing central domain (Yamaguchi, 2000). Interestingly, this is the only portion of the central domain where the lecticans share a high degree of homology. ADAMTS4 and ADAMTS1 mRNA are induced in rat brain after kainic acid injection (Yuan et al., 2002). Little is known about ADAMTS expression in CNS pathology states or if cleavage of the PG results in altered biological function of the PG. Our laboratory demonstrated that ECL increases ADAMTS4 expression with a concomitant increase in the ADAMTS cleaved fragment of brevican (Yuan et al.,

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2002; Mayer et al., 2005). Recent findings also indicate that versicans G3 proteolytically derived fragment increases neurite outgrowth and results in the activation of extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK) 1/2 (Xiang et al., 2006), lending credence to the belief that the ADAMTSs indeed have important physiological function. Additionally, treating rat astrocytes with amyloid increases the ADAMTS4 transcript (Satoh et al., 2000). TIMPs are endogenous inhibitors of MMPs and the ADAMTSs (Nagase and Brew, 2003) and TIMP expression in the brain is increased in response to injury. TIMP-1 has been implicated as an immediate early gene in response to the excitotoxin, kainate (Jaworski, 2000). TIMP-3 potently inhibits the action of ADAMTS4 (Kashiwagi et al., 2001). In in vitro situations, ADAMTSs are nearly always found associated with cell membranes, and this suggests that members of this family bind cell proteins or extracellular matrix proteins that are in close association with the cell surface, and it is largely unknown whether these proteins are transmembrane, GPI-linked or localized near the cell surface. The TSP repeats aid in ADAMTS binding to HS (Kuno and Matsushima, 1998), and in fact, the HSPG syndecan-1 was recently shown to bind the shortest C-terminally processed fragment of ADAMTS4 in chondrosarcoma cells. Sulfated GAG chains affect this binding, and in fact, both HS and CS of syndecan were required for ADAMTS4 to bind (Gao et al., 2004). Syndecan-1 may direct ADAMTS4 to its receptor at the cell surface or ADAMTS4 may modulate syndecan-1 signaling itself. Another member of the syndecan family, syndecan-2, is highly expressed by mature 12

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dentate granule neurons and neurons from other brain regions at post-synaptic sites where it is linked to CASK/LIN-2 scaffolding proteins also involved in signaling (Hsueh and Sheng, 1999). Syndecan signaling induces maturation of dendritic spines (Ethell and Yamaguchi, 1999; Ethell et al., 2001). Thus, modulation of syndecan signaling by ADAMTS4 could potentially alter synaptic function and plasticity. Recent advances have shown the involvement of ECM proteases in pathological processes in the nervous system. Although most of this research is descriptive, showing changes in levels or localization of mRNA and/or protein, this early progress is encouraging further probing into the effects of ECM-degrading proteases in disease processes since these studies show time dependent changes in these proteases in response to injury. While these early studies are necessary to lay the foundation for the edifice of discovery, further studies are necessary to reveal the action of these proteases in injury and plasticity since the expression of the protease is often coupled with the expression of its inhibitor, the TIMPs, and thus simply noting the expression of an ADAMTS does not necessarily mean it is proteolytically active. Disease models yield clues that ADAMTSs are physiologically relevant, and the studies presented here seek to determine whether brevican cleavage by ADAMTSs can modulate neurite outgrowth and synaptogenesis in vitro. 13

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Chapter 1: Altered Production and Proteolytic Processing of Brevican by Transforming Growth Factor in Cultured Astrocytes Abstract Brevican, a proteoglycan of the lectican family, inhibits neurite outgrowth and may also stabilize synapses. Little is known about its expression or function in vitro. This study seeks to determine whether a brevican-containing matrix is present in neural cultures, and if so, how the production of brevican may be modulated. To accomplish this, the content of brevican and its proteolytic fragments were measured in primary cultures of neurons, astrocytes and microglia after treatment with cytokines. These experiments revealed that astrocytes and neurons express several isoforms of brevican, whereas microglia do not produce this proteoglycan. Cleavage fragments of brevican were found primarily in neuronal and astrocyte culture medium. ADAMTS4 (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs), a protease that selectively cleaves lecticans, was detected in cultures of neurons, astrocytes and microglia. When astrocytes were challenged with various cytokines, it was found that treatment with transforming growth factor (TGF) resulted in a marked increase in intact brevican in the culture medium that was accompanied by a trend for a decrease in ADAMTS-generated fragments of brevican and apparent ADAMTS 14

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activity. Thus, TGF may play a role in neuronal plasticity through its regulation of brevican and the activity of the ADAMTSs. Introduction In the nervous system, extracellular matrix (ECM) exists in the neuropil and in discrete reticular networks around the surface of neurons, termed perineuronal nets. The matrix is thought to exist as a complex of aggregated molecules whose components include hyaluronan, tenascin-R and one or more members of the lectican family of proteoglycans (PGs). Each of the PGs in the lectican family, brevican, versican, aggrecan and neurocan, are variably substituted with chondroitin sulfate (CS) chains in the central domain of the core protein, and the globular N-terminus binds hyaluronan whereas the C-terminus binds tenascin-R (Yamaguchi 2000). Among the lecticans, brevican is the most abundant PG in the ECM of the central nervous system (CNS), and is secreted by astrocytes and neurons (Seidenbecher et al. 1998; Jaworski et al. 1999) where it is located perisynaptically (Hagihara et al. 1999) in association with synaptic proteins (Seidenbecher et al. 2002). This aggregated complex of matrix is thought to confer stability in neural networks and inhibit plasticity after injury (Rhodes and Fawcett 2004). Interestingly, treatment of the tissue with chondroitinase markedly improves plasticity, including neurite outgrowth, after injury in vivo (Moon et al. 2001). In adult CNS, secreted brevican is found as a CS-substituted, high molecular weight isoform (Fig. 2A), a 145 kD unsubstituted core protein (Fig. 2B), 15

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and as 55 (Fig. 2C) and 80 kD (Fig. 2D, 2E) Nand C-terminal fragments as a result of proteolytic cleavage (Yamada et al. 1994). The major family of proteases responsible for the generation of these lower molecular weight fragments is the ADAMTS (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs) family, (Tortorella et al. 1999; Matthews et al. 2000), although the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are also able to cleave lecticans (Nakamura et al., 2000). The cleavage of brevican and other lecticans by the ADAMTSs may result in a loosening of the lectican-hyaluronan-tenascin matrix, thus providing conditions more suitable for neuronal plasticity, yet little evidence supports such a notion (Yuan et al. 2002). Figure 2. Schematic demonstrating isoforms, cleavage products, and antibody recognition sites of brevican. 16

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Figure 2. Schematic demonstrating isoforms, cleavage products, and antibody recognition sites of brevican. Brevican exists as a >145 kD proteoglycan that contains variable numbers (1-3) of CS chains attached to the core protein (A); a 145 kD core protein devoid of CS chains (B); a 55 kD N-terminal fragment derived from ADAMTS cleavage that generates the C-terminal neoepitope sequence EAVESE (C); a > 80 kD fragment containing CS chains (D) or an 80 kD C-terminal fragment (E) that are the proteolytic cohorts to the 55 kD fragment. Proteolytic cleavage of brevican is not limited to the ADAMTSs and likely includes cleavage by the MMPs which also generates a ~55 kD product. The anti-EAVESE antibody recognizes the neoepitope sequence generated by ADAMTS cleavage at the C-terminus of the 55 kD fragment (C). The anti-brevican antibody recognizes a sequence in the N-terminal globular domain of brevican and recognizes the forms illustrated in (A), (B) and (C). Although there is substantial data about brevican and its expression and localization in the CNS (Bruckner et al., 2003), little is known about the production of brevican in vitro, and nothing is known of its association with an in vitro matrix. Brevican mRNA transcript was detected in cultures of cerebellar astrocytes, but not in neurons derived from cerebral cortex (Yamada et al. 1994). Other efforts have been made to mimic an in vivo matrix by adding exogenous components of the matrix aggregate to cell cultures, especially astrocyte cultures (Deyst and Toole 1995; Maleski and Hockfield 1997). The related proteoglycan, 17

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neurocan, was found in conditioned medium and as a pericellular, substrate bound ECM protein in astrocytes in culture (Asher et al., 2000). We were interested in whether brevican is produced by primary astrocytes in culture, whether it is associated with any complex matrix present in the cultures and whether factors such as cytokines may regulate brevican production in astrocytes in vitro. Considerable evidence indicates that the cytokine, transforming growth factor (TGF) is an important regulator of multiple matrix components including tenascin, fibronectin, collagen, thrombospondin and especially PGs (Taipale et al. 1998). In culture systems from a variety of tissues including lung fibroblasts (Venkatesan et al. 2002), prostatic stromal cells (Sakko et al. 2001), bovine tendon tissue explants (Robbins et al. 1997), human fibroblasts (Kahari et al. 1991), and articular chondrocytes (Morales and Roberts 1988; Morales et al. 1991), TGF markedly stimulated the production of PGs. In addition, when endogenous TGF activity was inhibited by RNA interference (RNAi) or antibody, there was a significant decline in PG production or the development of a pericellular matrix (Deyst and Toole 1995; Merrilees et al. 2000). The aim of the present study was to characterize the secretion of brevican isoforms by cells of the nervous system, especially astrocytes, and to identify factors that regulate the secretion of brevican in astrocytes. 18

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Materials and Methods Animals and Materials All animal protocols used in this study were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee at the University of South Florida. Timed pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats were obtained from Harlan (Indianapolis, IN), Taconic (Germantown, NY) or Charles River Laboratories (Wilmington, MA). Human recombinant TGF1, human recombinant interleukin-(IL)-1 and human recombinant vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were obtained from PeproTech (Rocky Hill, NJ). Tissue culture media, animal sera, trypsin and antibiotic/antimycotic solution were purchased from Mediatech (Herndon, VA) or Gibco Invitrogen (Carlsbad, CA). Cell culture plasticware used in these experiments was from Costar (Acton, MA.) or Sarstedt (Nmbrecht, Germany), supplies for electrophoresis were obtained from Invitrogen (Carlsbad, CA) and all other general chemicals were obtained from Sigma-Aldrich (St. Louis, MO). Enriched Cultures of Rat Astrocytes, Neurons and Microglia For mixed glial cultures, one to three day-old Sprague-Dawley rat pups were euthanized and whole brains removed from the skull. The meninges and cerebellum were removed in sterile isotonic buffer (137mM NaCl, 5.4mM KCl, 0.17mM Na 2 HPO 4 0.22mM KH 2 PO 4 5.5mM glucose, 59mM sucrose), chopped into 1mm cubes, and the tissue incubated in 0.25% trypsin, 0.05% EDTA at 37 for 12 minutes, vortexing every 4 minutes. The disrupted tissue was then triturated, the cells centrifuged and recovered, and 1x10 7 cells plated on poly-l19

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lysine-pre-coated (Sigma-Aldrich, St. Louis, MO) 100mm dishes in 10ml of Dulbeccos Modified Eagles medium (DMEM) containing 10% horse serum, 2.5% fetal bovine serum and 1% antibiotic-antimycotic solution. Medium was changed after four days of culture, and after 7 days for astrocyte cultures, the dishes containing confluent mixed glia were shaken to remove microglia, the supernatant recovered for culture of microglia, and the enriched astrocytes were disrupted with trypsin, and 2 x 10 5 cells were plated onto poly-l-lysine-pre-coated 24-well tissue culture dishes. Astrocytes were grown for an additional 7 days at which time the cultures were confluent and underwent treatment. Microglia were isolated by differential adherence to plastic as described (Gottschall et al. 1995). On the day of the experiment for astrocytes and microglia, cells were washed twice with Hanks balanced salt solution, and treatments were added to the cells in 0.5ml of serum-free Opti-Mem medium containing 1% antibiotic-antimycotic solution and the cells incubated for 72 h. At this time, the morphology of the astrocytes appeared as a cobblestone-like monolayer with fibrous, process-bearing phase dark cells scattered on top. More than 99% of these cells were immunoreactive with anti-glial fibrillary acidic protein (Gottschall and Yu 1995). At the end of 72 h, medium was collected and astrocytes or microglia were lysed with cold extraction buffer (20mM Tris-HCl, 5mM EDTA, 1% Triton X-100, pH=7.4, with protease inhibitor cocktail, set III (Calbiochem, La Jolla, CA) added at a dilution of 1:100) on ice. The medium and cell lysates were stored at -80C until analysis by Western blot. 20

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Neurons were derived from embryonic day 18 cerebral cortices, cultured and plated as described except that the cultures (2.5 x 10 5 cells in 12-well culture well) were incubated in serum-containing DMEM overnight after plating and the next day the medium was changed to Neurobasal containing B27 supplement, 0.5 mM Glutamax-I (Invitrogen, Carlsbad, CA) and 0.25 M glutamate. The medium was not changed for 14 days, and at the end of this time, the medium and lysate was collected as described above for astrocytes. Generation of anti-Peptide Antibodies Two antibodies used in this study were custom generated by Sigma-Genosys (The Woodlands, TX). Amino acid sequences were chosen and submitted to Sigma-Genosys for peptide synthesis. The peptide was coupled to keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH), and rabbits were inoculated with the conjugate. Rabbit serum was collected by Sigma-Genosys and the antibody was affinity purified using solid phase support coupled to the peptide in our laboratory. The eluate from the column was dialyzed overnight, and the purified antibody was characterized with Western blot and peptide blocking experiments to ensure specificity. The anti-EAVESE antibody was generated with the peptide CGGGQEAVESE, which corresponds to the neoepitope, C-terminus of the N-terminal brevican fragment (rat) generated by cleavage with ADAMTS at 395 Glu -Ser 396 (Matthews et al. 2000). The anti-ADAMTS4 antibody was generated with the peptide CAPLHLPVTFPGKDYDADRQ, which corresponds to a sequence in the disintegrin-like domain of rat (and mouse) ADAMTS4. 21

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Immunoblotting Culture medium and cell lysates were subjected to SDS-PAGE, followed by electrophoretic transfer onto "Immobilon" polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) membranes (Millipore, Billerica, MA) using standard conditions. Before adding cell lysates to the gel, protein concentration was measured and equal amounts of protein were applied to the gel: 14g for the anti-brevican and anti-EAVESE gels and 22g for the anti-ADAMTS4 gels. In the conditioned medium, the presence of interfering substances prevented protein measurement, and thus equal volumes of unconcentrated medium underwent SDS-PAGE and subsequent blotting for the medium lanes of the characterization experiments and the TGF treatments. To ensure equal protein loading for the experiments where medium was used, the membranes were stained with Coomassie blue, and the bands visualized to confirm equal density of color. The membranes were probed with several antibodies against ECM proteins and ADAMTS4. Mouse anti-brevican (BD Biosciences, San Jose, CA) was used at a dilution of 1:1000, rabbit anti-ADAMTS4 antibody at 1:1000 and rabbit anti-EAVESE antibody at a dilution of 1:100. Horseradish peroxidase (HRP)-conjugated goat anti-mouse IgG and HRP-conjugated goat anti-rabbit IgG secondary antibodies (Chemicon, Temecula, CA) were used at a dilution of 1:1000. Blots were developed with "SuperSignal" West Pico Chemiluminescent substrate (Pierce, Rockford, IL), and chemiluminescent signal was detected on photographic film (Pierce, Rockford, IL). 22

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Data Analysis Optical density (OD) of specific signals on Western blot films was obtained using a Bio-Rad model GS-670 Imaging Densitometer (Hercules, CA). Percent of control was calculated by dividing the mean volume OD of the treatment group by the mean volume OD of the control group (the mean of two controls per experiment). Differences within an experiment were detected using ANOVA and pairwise comparisons were made with Fisher's protected LSD (SuperANOVA version 1.11, Abacus Concepts Inc., Berkely, CA). p < 0.05 was considered a significant difference between two groups. The treatment experiments were repeated three times, and the TGF dose-response experiments were repeated four times. All figures show the mean of the experimental replicates as a percent of the control level in each individual experiment. Results Presence of Brevican and ADAMTS4 in Enriched Astrocytes, Neurons and Microglia The isoforms of brevican secreted from enriched cultures of astrocytes, neurons and microglia were examined utilizing Western blot. In astrocyte and neuronal cultures, the full length 145 kD brevican core protein was found in conditioned medium (Fig. 3, top panel; Fig. 2B), yet the presence of core protein that contained CS chains, the predominant form found in adult rat brain tissue (Fig. 3, top panel, Fig. 2A), was highly variable and appeared in the medium in some cultures yet was absent in others (Fig. 3, lane NM top panel, higher, > 145 23

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kD molecular weight and observed as a smear; Fig. 2A). Relative to extracts of adult rat brain, little CS containing brevican is present in astrocyte cultures (Fig. 3). In lysates derived from astrocytes and neuronal cultures, the 145 kD core protein was present along with lower molecular weight isoforms that possibly represent the underglycosylated form of brevican (Viapiano et al. 2003) or brevican tethered to the membrane via a glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchor (Seidenbecher et al. 1995) (Fig 3, top panel). Since samples for these blots were whole cell lysates, it is unclear whether this "underglycosylated" form is extracellular brevican that is cell-associated or whether it is intracellular and is simply being processed in the secretory pathway. The 55 kD N-terminal proteolytic cleavage fragment, thought to include products of both ADAMTS and MMP cleavage, was found exclusively in astrocyte and neuronal conditioned medium (the immunoreactivity in the neuronal medium lane above this band is cross-reactivity of the antibody with B-27 supplement required for medium in neuronal culture). The presence of these specific isoforms was confirmed with their detection in extract from adult rat hippocampal tissue (Fig. 3 top panel, lane RT). Likewise, the ADAMTS-derived cleavage fragment of brevican, EAVESE, was found in astrocyte and neuronal medium, but was absent in lysate (Fig. 3, middle panel; Fig. 2C). Microglia showed a different pattern of expression of brevican and ADAMTS4 compared to neurons and astrocytes. Brevican or its processed fragments were not found in microglial medium or lysate. The major isoform of the ADAMTS4 protease is a 53 kD, Nand C-terminally truncated protein. Interestingly, the activated isoform of ADAMTS4 (53 kD) was detected in 24

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the cell lysate of microglia, neurons and astrocytes, but was absent from all medium (Fig. 3, bottom panel). The 53kD isoform of ADAMTS4 was much less abundant in microglia, yet the 68kD, N-terminally (only) truncated form was present, in addition, to a 32 kD isoform that was also found in human recombinant ADAMTS4 (Fig. 3, bottom panel). Figure 3. Brevican, ADAMTS-cleaved brevican and ADAMTS4 expression in neural cultures. 25

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Figure 3. Brevican, ADAMTS-cleaved brevican and ADAMTS4 expression in neural cultures. Brevican, ADAMTS-cleaved brevican (anti-EAVESE) and ADAMTS-4 (top, middle and bottom panels, respectively) were detected by immunoblot in cultures of neurons, astrocytes and microglia. Neuronal medium and cell lysate (NM and NL), astrocyte medium and cell lysate (AM, AL) and microglia medium and cell lysate (MM, ML) were examined. Extract from adult rat hippocampal tissue prepared under the same conditions (RT) was the internal brevican positive control sample whereas human recombinant ADAMTS4 (HR) was utilized as a control for the ADAMTS4 immunoblot. Intact core brevican was detected in neurons and astrocytes, but microglia apparently failed to express the protein. The 55 kD (top panel) and ADAMTS-derived cleavage fragments (middle panel) were detected in neuronal and astrocyte medium only. An activated 53 kD isoform of ADAMTS4 was detected in the cell lysate of all three cell types, but was not secreted into the medium, however, microglia processed the protease differently from cultures of enriched neurons and astrocytes (bottom panel). Treatment with Cytokines in Astrocyte Culture In an effort to identify factors that regulate brevican secretion and cleavage, cultures of astrocytes were treated with phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) (100 nM), VEGF (25 ng/ 0.5 ml), TGF (25 ng/ 0.5 ml), and IL-1 (200 ng/ 0.5 ml) and the core protein and cleaved fragments of brevican were quantitated using densitometry of the immunoreactive bands on Western blot (Fig. 4). TGF, 26

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but not other factors, significantly enhanced brevican levels (more than 12-fold) found in conditioned medium of astrocyte cultures (Fig. 4, upper and middle left panels, p <0.05). This effect was dose-related (3.12, 6.25, 12.5 and 25 ng/ 0.5 ml) with a minimal effective dose of 6.25 ng/ml TGF (Fig. 4, upper and middle right panels, p < 0.05). However, in spite of the marked elevation in intact brevican in response to TGF, the cleaved N-terminal fragment (55 kD) was not significantly affected by treatment with any of the cytokines (Fig. 4, bottom panels). Films with shorter exposures and less dense bands were used to quantitate the optical density of the 55 kD bands (not shown). In addition, there was a trend for decreased immunoreactivity of the ADAMTS-derived, 55 kD, N-terminal fragment in response to TGF (Fig. 5). In particular experiments, this trend appeared to be dose-related (Fig. 5, upper right panel). 27

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Figure 4. Levels of intact brevican (145kD) and the N-terminal total cleavage product of brevican (55 kD) in medium from cytokine-treated primary astrocyte cultures. (Upper panels) Shown are representative blots of astrocyte medium from cultures treated with cytokines (left) or increasing doses of TGF (right) and probed with anti-brevican. (Middle panels) Quantification of levels of full-length brevican when treated with PMA, VEGF, TGF and IL-1 (left) or increasing doses of TGF (right), demonstrating a significant increase in full length brevican after TGF treatment. (Lower panels) Quantification of levels of 55 kD brevican fragment in response to the same treatments as the middle panels. 28

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Figure 5. Levels of ADAMTS cleaved brevican (55kD) in cytokine treated astrocyte cultures. (Upper panels) ADAMTS cleaved brevican immunoreactivity (as measured by anti-EAVESE) in astrocyte culture medium when treated with cytokines (left panels), or increasing doses of TGF (right panels). No significant change in the fragment was detected, however, a trend for a decrease in the level of the fragment was observed. Since levels of the ADAMTS-derived fragment of brevican either were not changed in the face of large increases in core brevican or were actually decreased in response to TGF, it was of interest to determine whether this cytokine influenced the expression of the most abundant ADAMTS in the nervous system, ADAMTS4. Neither TGF nor any of the other cytokines tested altered the levels of ADAMTS4 protein that were found in astrocyte cell lysate (Fig 6). 29

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However, it may be that activity, rather than expression of the active protease was changed, and thus, a rather semi-quantitative measure of ADAMTS activity is the ratio of the content of the ADAMTS-derived fragment and the content of intact core brevican. Interestingly, this ratio was markedly diminished after treatment with TGF (Fig. 7, upper panel), an effect that was dose-dependent (Fig. 7, lower panel). Figure 6. ADAMTS-4 protein levels in response to cytokine treatment. (Upper panels) ADAMTS-4 immunoreactivity in astrocyte cell lysate after PMA, VEGF, TGF or IL-1 treatment (left) or increasing doses of TGF (right). (Lower panels) There were no significant changes in ADAMTS-4 protein levels when treated with cytokines (left) or increasing doses of TGF (right). 30

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Figure 7. Apparent ADAMTS activity in cytokine treated astrocyte cultures. ADAMTS activity is indirectly measured by examining the ratio of ADAMTS-cleaved versus full length brevican. (Upper panel) ADAMTS activity in cytokine treated astrocytes, demonstrating the marked reduction occurring with TGF treatment, but not with other treatments. (Lower panel) Dose dependent decrease in activity in response to increasing doses of TGF. Discussion Astrocytes are predominant in the production of many ECM proteins in the nervous system. Astrocytes contribute to the formation of the basal lamina of the cerebrovasculature, and are a major cell type responsible for the production of ECM components that constitute perineuronal nets and the matrix of the neuropil. One purpose of this study was to characterize the brevican-containing matrix 31

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present on astrocyte monolayers, since the ultimate intention is to use these astrocytes as a substrate for growth and maturation of neurons. We have found that astrocytes and neurons in culture synthesize and secrete the 145 kD intact brevican core protein, a proportion of which is found in the medium and the remainder is associated with the cell lysate fraction. It is not clear at this point whether core brevican in the lysate is actually found extracellularly and cell-associated or whether it is intracellular, located in the secretory pathway. Two additional isoforms were detected and found only in the lysate fraction. These may be the underglycosylated and/or GPI-linked isoforms (Viapiano et al. 2003) (Seidenbecher et al. 1995). Both these forms were found in lysate from primary cultures of rat cortical neurons as well. Brevican has been identified in tissue culture previously as one study demonstrated the presence of brevican mRNA in cultures of cerebellar astrocytes, although the transcript was absent in rat cerebral cortical neurons in culture (Yamada et al., 1994). More recently however, brevican protein was detected in cultures of cerebral cortical neurons associated with synaptic proteins (Seidenbecher et al., 2002). Interestingly, in this study, only a small fraction of CS-bearing brevican protein was secreted from either astrocytes or neurons, which contrasts markedly with adult rat brain tissue, where greater than 50% of total brevican contains CS chains. (Fig. 3; Yuan et al., 2002). It may be that the cells that express glycosyl transferases necessary for adding the CS chains to brevican require further maturation, or that the factors required for this maturation are produced only in mixed cultures. 32

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Although both MMPs and the ADAMTSs are capable of cleaving brevican (and lecticans in general) into two fragments (Nakamura et al. 2000; Westling et al. 2002), the main protease responsible for the extracellular processing of brevican in vivo appears to be the ADAMTSs. ADAMTS4 mRNA is expressed in many regions of the nervous system, it is markedly up-regulated in response to excitotoxic injury (Yuan et al. 2002) and may be a major protease involved in clipping the lecticans. In primary cultures of rat astrocytes, the N-terminal cleavage fragment containing the G1 globular domain of brevican, whether the total G1 fragment or the ADAMTS-specific fragment, were found only in medium and not in the lysate fraction. Since this N-terminal region contains a hyaluronan-binding domain, it suggests that hyaluronan was not part of any pericellular matrix that was assembled in these cultures. In addition, since a portion of intact brevican was associated with the cell surface, it may be the brevican was bound via the C-terminal domain, possibly via binding to tenascin-R (Aspberg et al. 1997; Hagihara et al. 1999). ADAMTSs are well known to be bound to the pericellular region in a variety of cell types in vitro (Kuno and Matsushima 1998), and immunoreactivity for ADAMTS4 in this study was absent from the medium but found at clearly detectable levels in the cell lysate fraction of astrocytes, neurons and microglia. There are a host of ECM proteins, including the aggregating PGs, aggrecan (Bassols and Massague 1988), versican (Stokes et al. 2001) and neurocan (Asher et al. 2000), whose synthesis and secretion is induced by TGF, so it is not surprising that we observed a marked increase in the levels of 33

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brevican in the medium of astrocytes in response to TGF. Whereas TGF is protective and trophic in several systems and models of injury (Brandes et al. 1991), others have demonstrated in particular that TGF was destructive toward cartilage and increased the synthesis and release of ADAMTS4, but not ADAMTS5, in fibroblast-like synoviocytes and human chondrocytes (Yamanishi et al. 2002; Moulharat et al. 2004). In addition, infusing decorin, an inhibitor of TGF, into damaged spinal cord led to an 80% reduction in proteoglycan expression (Davies et al 2004) and improved the outcome of the injury. In this study, TGF was a potent inducer of brevican production in the culture medium that may be the result of stimulated gene expression. However, even in the presence of this marked elevation of the level of intact brevican, there was a trend for a decline in the production of the N-terminal proteolytic fragment after TGF. Thus, when using the ratio of the ADAMTS-derived fragment of brevican and intact brevican as an estimate of ADAMTS activity, there was a dramatic decline in the apparent ADAMTS activity after TGF treatment of cultured astrocytes. When measuring ADAMTS4 protein level, though, by Western blot, the levels were not changed. However, several mechanisms might explain the decline in ADAMTS activity without a change in protein after TGF. First, TGF has been shown to be a potent stimulator of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-3 (TIMP-3) production, and TIMP-3 is a potent endogenous inhibitor of ADAMTS activity. Other TIMPs are either less potent or not effective in inhibiting ADAMTS activity (Kashiwagi et al. 2001). Second, it may be that TGF altered the processing of ADAMTS4 by inhibiting a membrane type protease that converts it 34

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to its lower molecular weight active form (Gao et al. 2004), although this alteration in processing should have been recognized by observing a higher molecular weight isoform of ADAMTS4 on Western blot. Third, TGF may be inducing proteases or other factors that could sequester or degrade the fragment, such as carboxypeptidases that diminish its detection. Finally, one cannot rule out the possibility that ADAMTS4 (or the sum of all active ADAMTSs) is saturated by its brevican substrate and increases in substrate concentration do not result in elevated product (fragment) simply because the protease was acting maximally at the lower concentration of substrate. Nonetheless, these results demonstrate that brevican is secreted by astrocytes and neurons in culture, that TGF is a potent stimulator of brevican in astrocytes, and that TGF also attenuates ADAMTS cleavage of brevican. These findings suggest that TGF, which is often released in response to various injuries, may be non-permissive toward neural plasticity and regeneration. Since intact brevican may stabilize synaptic networks (Hockfield et al. 1990), and because cleavage of brevican may loosen aggregates of ECM in the brain and produce favorable conditions for morphological plasticity (Yamaguchi 2000; Yuan et al 2002), it may be that TGF stabilizes these networks by diminishing the cleavage of brevican. The mechanism of such a response remains to be elucidated. 35

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Chapter 2: ADAMTSs (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs) Enhance Neurite Outgrowth through a Non-Proteolytic Mechanism Mediated by Extracellular Signal-Related Kinase1/2 Abstract Aggregating proteoglycans (PG) bearing chondroitin sulfate (CS) side chains are well-known inhibitors of neural plasticity and associate with hyaluronan and tenascin-R to form a complex of extracellular matrix (ECM) in the central nervous system (CNS). Chondroitinase treatment depletes PGs of their CS side chains and enhances neural plasticity including neurite extension. Little is known about whether proteolytic cleavage of the core protein affects neural plasticity. Several members of the ADAMTS (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs) family of metalloproteinases are glutamyl-endopeptidases that cleave aggregating PGs. The purpose of this study was to determine whether cleavage of aggregating PGs, especially brevican, by the ADAMTSs influences neurite outgrowth in cultured neurons. Transfection of rat neurons with ADAMTS4 cDNA induced longer neurites, whether the neurons were grown on a monolayer of astrocytes that secrete inhibitory PGs or on laminin/poly-l-lysine substrate alone. Even more surprising, the increase in process extension was also observed when neurons were transfected with an 36

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expression vector construct coding for a proteolytically inactive, point mutant of ADAMTS4. Addition of recombinant ADAMTS4 or ADAMTS5 protein to immature neuronal cultures similarly enhanced neurite extension. Increases in the abundance of proteins phosphorylated on tyrosine residues and more specifically, the amount of phosphorylated extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK)1/2 (MAP kinase 42/44) immunoreactivity were detected shortly after the addition of recombinant ADAMTS4 to neurons. Furthermore, ADAMTS-induced increases in neurite outgrowth were diminished by treatment with selective MAP kinase inhibitors. These results demonstrate that ADAMTS4 enhances neurite outgrowth and does so likely via induction of signaling at the cell surface and activation of the MAP kinase cascade, an action that does not require the proteolysis by ADAMTS4. Introduction Injury to the central nervous system (CNS) is often debilitating and is compounded by little hope of recovery owing to the fact that once neural networks in the CNS are severed, they are difficult to re-establish. Predominantly, this is because the properties of myelin-associated proteins and other proteins that compose a glial scar impede the growth of axons toward their target. The glial scar is an accumulation of reactive astrocytes and extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules such as chondroitin sulfate (CS)-substituted PGs, keratin and tenascin that inhibit the re-growth of axons and the migration of particular cell types into the damaged region of the brain (Davies et al., 1997; 37

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Davies et al., 1999) (Laywell et al., 1992) (McKeon et al., 1991). Indeed, the CS side chains of PG molecules are well-known to inhibit neurite outgrowth under a variety of in vitro and in vivo conditions (Silver and Miller, 2004; Carulli et al., 2005). The family of hyaluronic acid-binding PGs with CS side chains that regulate cell adhesion, migration and neurite outgrowth in the CNS are termed, lecticans, and include aggrecan, brevican, neurocan and versican. Large, sulfated, highly negatively-charged CS chains are covalently bound to the central domain of lecticans and discourage growth cone motility and neurite elongation, however, when these glycosaminoglycan polymers are removed from the core proteins by chondroitinase treatment (Pizzorusso et al., 2002), a significant degree of inhibition is retained by versican (Schmalfeldt et al., 2000), but not by brevican (Miura et al., 2001). The enduring biological action may be inherent to the core PG protein itself or it may result from interactions with other ECM molecules such as hyaluronan or tenascin-R. Intermolecular interactions among lecticans, hyaluronan and tenascin form a mesh-like lattice in the matrix of the CNS that could inhibit neural plasticity (Fig. 8, A). Thus, to facilitate plasticity, there should be a means to relieve the inhibition afforded by the PG. The absence of an endogenous chondroitinase to remove CS chains is a major limiting factor, so taking advantage of a mechanism that occurs in vivo may be a more feasible way to re-establish plasticity in the brain. One such possibility would be via increased expression and activation of endogenous proteases that cleave the PG, a mechanism that would loosen the association and interaction 38

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among the matrix components that inhibit plasticity, and allow for enhanced neural growth (Fig 8, B). Figure 8. Lectican-tenascin-hyaluronan matrix complex in the CNS and lectican cleavage by ADAMTSs. 39

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Figure 8. Lectican-tenascin-hyaluronan matrix complex in the CNS and lectican cleavage by ADAMTSs. (A), Intact complexes of extracellular matrix form an inhibitory boundary toward neurite outgrowth by hyaluronic acid binding to the N-terminus, tandem repeats of the lecticans and tenascin binding to the C-terminus of the lecticans. (B), Cleavage of lectican by an ADAMTS loosens the stable, matrix network, increasing fluidity and potentially allowing for increased plasticity. (C, D), Cleavage of the lectican, brevican, by human recombinant ADAMTSs. Proteoglycans were purified from rat brain extracts contained in fractions eluted from a DEAE column with 1 M NaCl. Lectican-containing fractions were incubated with active ADAMTSs, or heat-inactivated protease (Inactive), subjected to SDS-PAGE, and probed with anti-brevican antibody (C) to reveal holoproteins and the N-terminal cleavage product or with anti-EAVESE antibody to selectively reveal the N-terminal fragment that contains the EAVEAE neoepitope exposed by ADAMTS-cleavage of brevican (D). "Control" lane shows brevican immunoreactivity as a smear at a molecular weight of >145 kD. Samples containing inactive ADAMTS show little cleavage, whereas brevican substrate incubated with human recombinant ADAMTSs 1, 4 and 5 (25 nM) for 3 hours reveal an abundance of the 55 kD, N-terminal cleavage fragment (C) that is observed when probed with antibody selective for the ADAMTS-cleaved fragment (D). 40

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The ADAMTSs (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs) are multi-domain, metalloproteinases that have notable roles in angiogenesis, coagulation, collagen processing, cell migration and arthritis. Several of the ADAMTSs are glutamyl-endopeptidases that cleave lecticans. These secreted proteases share similar functional domains, including a pro-domain, metalloproteinase, disintegrin-like, cysteine-rich and spacer domains (for review, see (Apte, 2004)). Activation of the pro-protease likely occurs by furin-mediated cleavage of the pro-domain at the N-terminus, and further C-terminal truncations are necessary to fully activate the enzyme (Wang et al., 2004) (Gao et al., 2004a) (Kuno et al., 1999). The interaction of the ADAMTS domains with their substrates is complex and may involve binding via the thrombospondin type 1 motif and/or sequences in the C-terminal spacer or cysteine-rich region of the molecule (Kuno and Matsushima, 1998; Tortorella et al., 2000; Flannery et al., 2002; Kashiwagi et al., 2004). ADAMTSs, especially ADAMTS 1, 4, 5, and 9, are expressed in brain (Hurskainen et al., 1999; Yuan et al., 2002; Jungers et al., 2005) (our unpublished observations), and it is interesting that each of these proteases is active in cleaving PGs. Several of the ADAMTSs have been shown to be elevated in human neurodegenerative disease and animal models of brain injury. ADAMTS1, but not ADAMTS5, appears to be up-regulated in Down syndrome, Picks disease and Alzheimers disease (Miguel et al., 2005). The expression of ADAMTS4 and ADAMTS1 mRNA was markedly elevated in the hippocampus of rats in response to kainate-induced excitotoxic lesion (Yuan et al., 2002), and 41

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ADAMTS1 was increased in the spinal cord of rodents having undergone axotomy (Sasaki et al., 2001), indicating that these proteases may be increased in response to injury or during an inflammatory response. Anecdotal, but growing evidence has supported the notion that metalloprotease activity is important in mechanisms of neural plasticity. Nerve growth factor treatment of PC-12 cells results in MMP-3 expression (Machida et al., 1989; Fillmore et al., 1992), and MMP-3 is essential in promoting PC12 cell growth cone invasiveness through an artificial basal lamina (Nordstrom et al., 1995). More recently, excitotoxic lesion in the brain was shown to result in the expression of MMP-9 in the hippocampus (Zhang et al., 1998; Szklarczyk et al., 2002) and neuritic sprouting observed in the dentate gyrus after a lesion of entorhinal cortex was blocked by administration of a broad spectrum MMP inhibitor (Reeves et al., 2003). These actions certainly point toward a role for the matrix-degrading metalloproteinases in neural plasticity. We recently demonstrated that active ADAMTSs which cleave the lectican, brevican, are elevated in the dentate gyrus terminal zone during the period of neuritic sprouting after entorhinal cortex lesion (Mayer et al., 2005). Taken together, these studies support the hypothesis that remodeling of ECM may be an important component in processes of neural and synaptic plasticity. Thus, the purpose of this study was to more directly test the hypothesis that lectican-degrading activity may promote neurite outgrowth over an ECM that contains inhibitory PGs. We grew primary cultured neurons that were either secreting ADAMTS4 via a transfected expression vector or were exposed to ADAMTSs by direct addition of 42

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recombinant protein to the media. In some of these experiments, neurons were grown on an astrocyte monolayer that had previously been shown to deposit brevican in the ECM (Hamel et al., 2005; John et al., 2006). Surprisingly, our results show that ADAMTS4, and other ADAMTSs, promote neurite outgrowth in primary cultured embryonic neurons via a mechanism that is independent of its proteolytic activity. In addition, intracellular signaling, appropriate for neurite outgrowth, is induced in ADAMTS-treated neurons. Materials and Methods PG degradation assay Highly negatively charged molecules, including PGs, present in whole rat brain extracts were bound and eluted from a DEAE matrix as described (Yamada et al., 1994). Briefly, rat brain tissue (1g) was placed in 10 ml, ice cold, 4 mM HEPES pH 8.0, 0.15 mM NaCl, 0.1% Triton-X-100 containing 2 mM 1,10 phenanthroline (Sigma, St. Louis) and protease inhibitor cocktail (set III, Calbiochem, San Diego). The tissue was disrupted in a teflon-glass homogenizer and the whole extract centrifuged at 30,000 x g for 30 min at 4C. The supernatant was removed, diluted 1:1 with 50 mM Tris-HCl, 0.15 M NaCl, 0.1% Triton-X-100, and passed over a DEAE column pre-equilibrated with the same buffer at a flow rate of less than 0.5 ml per minute. The flow through was collected, passed over the column again, and bound proteins were eluted with 5 column volumes of consecutive buffers containing 50 mM Tris-HCl pH 8.2, 0.15 M NaCl, 0.1% Triton-X-100, then 50 mM Tris-HCl pH 8.2, 0.25 M NaCl, 6 M urea, 43

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0.1% Triton-X-100, and fractions containing PGs were eluted with 50 mM Tris-HCl pH 8.2, 1.0 M NaCl. PG-containing fractions were dialyzed against water for 24 h in SpectraPor 6000-8000MWCO (Millipore, Billerica, MA) membrane, the samples concentrated on a speed-vac and aliquoted. Total protein was measured in the samples and it was 1.3 g/l. DEAE-purified PG samples were incubated with 25 nM recombinant ADAMTS1 (Chemicon), ADAMTS4 or ADAMTS5 (expressed at Roche Biosciences, Palo Alto) (diluted in 10 mM Tris-HCl, 0.15 M NaCl, and 10mM CaCl 2 ) for three hours at 37C. ADAMTS4 and ADAMTS5 were inactivated by heating to 95C for thirty minutes and were included as controls. After a three hour incubation period, beta-mercaptoethanol-containing SDS-PAGE sample buffer was added to the samples, the samples were heated at 95C for 4 minutes, and subjected to SDS-PAGE and Western blotting. Membranes were probed with mouse anti-brevican (BD Biosciences, San Jose) at 1:1000 and anti-EAVESE (Hamel et al., 2005) at 1:100, and primary antibody detected with anti-mouse or anti-rabbit IgG conjugated to horse-radish peroxidase (Chemicon, Temecula, CA), and signal detected using SuperSignal chemilluminscence substrate (Pierce, Rockford, IL). Primary cell cultures Primary cultures of astrocytes were prepared from whole brain (minus cerebellum) of postnatal day 1-3 Sprague-Dawley (SD) (Harlan, Indianapolis) rat pups in Dulbecco's Modified Eagles Medium containing 10% horse serum and 2.5% fetal calf serum as described (Hamel et al., 2005). Astrocytes were grown 44

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in 100mm tissue culture dishes pre-coated with 100 g/ml poly-L-lysine for seven days until confluent. The cells were disrupted with trypsin and plated at 1x10 6 cells on 22 mm glass coverslips (Fisher Scientific, Pittsburgh) pre-coated with 500g/ml poly-l-lysine (Sigma). Seven days later, the astrocytes had formed a confluent monolayer and at this time, the cells were used as a neuronal growth substrate. Freshly prepared, trypsinized cells from cerebral cortex of embryonic day 18 SD pups (Hamel et al., 2005) were transfected with ADAMTS4 expression vector or empty control vector and 1x10 6 cells were plated either directly on the confluent astrocyte monolayer or onto glass coverslips pre-coated with 500 g/ml poly-L-lysine and 25 g/ml mouse laminin (Invitrogen, Carlsbad). Twenty-four hours after plating the neurons, plating medium that consisted of Dulbecco's Modified Eagles Medium plus 10% fetal calf serum was replaced with Neurobasal serum-free medium (Invitrogen) containing B-27 defined supplement (Invitrogen), 0.5mM Glutamax II (Invitrogen-Gibco, Carlsbad) and 25M glutamate, and containing 1% antibiotic/antimycotic (Invitrogen-Gibco). Neurons plated either on an astrocyte monolayer or in the absence of the monolayer were cultured for seven days. Transfection by electroporation For the experiments described above, plasmid expression constructs of ADAMTS4 were made for transfection into primary rat cells trypsinized from cerebral cortex. A cDNA for ADAMTS4 (Gao et al., 2002), and an inactive point mutant of ADAMTS4 362 (EQ) (Gao et al., 2004a) that were inserted into 45

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pcDNA (Invitrogen), were restricted with Xba I and Kpn I (Promega, Madison), the ADAMTS4 (or mutant) fragment purified from an agarose gel and ligated into linearized pCMS plasmid, a dual promoter vector that expresses enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) driven by SV40 (Clontech, Mountain View, CA). After cells from cerebral cortex of E18 SD pups were isolated, 5x10 6 cells were centrifuged and resuspended in 100l rat nucleofector solution (Amaxa Biosystems, Gaithersburg, MD). The cells were transferred to a cuvette and pCMS, pCMS-ADAMTS4 or pCMS-ADAMTS4 mutant were added and the cuvette subjected to electric current using the Nucleofector electroporator (Amaxa Biosystems) with either the O-03 or G-13 time and current pre-programmed by the manufacturer. Immediately after transfection, 500l of pre-warmed, 37C Dulbecco's Modified Eagles Medium with 10% fetal calf serum was added to the cell suspension, and the cells were transferred to a sterile microcentrifuge tube until plating. The transfected neurons were plated on glass coverslips pre-coated with the laminin/poly-L-lysine substrate or they were allowed to adhere directly to a previously cultured, live astrocyte monolayer. Neurons were allowed to extend neurites for seven days. After this time, cells were washed one time in PBS, fixed in 4% room temperature paraformaldehyde for twenty minutes, and washed an additional three times with PBS. Transfected cells were visualized under epifluorescence using a Zeiss Axioskop microscope interfaced with an Axiocam (Zeiss, Thornwood, NY) digital camera and images were obtained with Openlab software (version 3.1.4, Improvision, Lexington, MA). For all images, the brightness and contrast were adjusted equally and 46

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consistently for images within a single experiment, and converted to grayscale using Adobe Photoshop (Version 8.0, San Jose). Data collection and statistical analysis transfection experiments ImageJ software (Version 1.33u, NIH, Bethesda) was utilized to manually trace primary and secondary neurites to determine overall mean length of neurites per neuron and mean length of the longest neurite for each neuron. A primary neurite was defined as a neurite that sprouted directly from the soma and was at least two times the diameter of the cell body. A secondary neurite was defined as any neurite that branched from a primary neurite. Numbers of primary and secondary neurites were also recorded. The mean longest neurite was calculated by averaging the values of the longest neurite for each neuron measured, whereas the overall mean length of primary neurites was calculated by averaging values of every primary neurite measured. Secondary neurites were analyzed similarly. Means of experimental groups were statistically compared using ANOVA and pair-wise comparisons were made with Tukey-Kramer post-hoc test (SuperAnova, v 1.11, Abacus Concepts, Berkeley). A p<0.05 was considered a significant difference between groups. Separate litters of rat pups were used to obtain cells for each of the three experiments. ADAMTS4 protein treatment Neurons grown at 2.5x10 5 cells per well were cultured on 22 mm glass coverslips for six days and treated at 2 and 5 days in vitro with human 47

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recombinant ADAMTS4 orADAMTS5. Purified recombinant ADAMTS4 and 5 were provided by Roche Biosciences. Recombinant protein was diluted in Neurobasal medium plus 0.1% bovine serum albumin (BSA) and syringe filtered to sterilize. BSA was added to prevent adherence of the recombinant protein to the filter. Each of the ADAMTS protein preparations contained low, but detectable levels of endotoxin using the LAL assay (Cambrex, Walkersville, MD) that were comparable to the BSA controls. Control wells received a matched volume of filtered Neurobasal medium plus 1% BSA. Untreated controls were also measured in some experiments. At six days in vitro, neurons were fixed with 4% paraformaldehyde and processed for immunohistochemistry. Immunohistochemistry Neuronal cultures fixed as described above were incubated for one hour in blocking buffer containing 10% normal goat serum (NGS), 0.3% triton-X-100 and 1M lysine in PBS at room temperature. Cells were incubated overnight at 4C in dilution buffer (PBS, 10% NGS, 0.3%Triton-X-100) containing mouse anti-microtubule associated protein-2 (Chemicon) diluted to 1:200. The cells were washed three times in PBS and Alexa Fluor goat anti-mouse IgG fluorescent secondary antibody (Invitrogen) was incubated at a concentration of 1:500 for 1 h and the coverslips washed three times in PBS. Next, the coverslips were incubated with a fluorescent-tagged, actin binding protein, Alexa-Fluor 488 phalloidin (Molecular Probes/Invitrogen), at a dilution of 1:500 in 2% NGS and 0.3%Triton-X-100 in PBS for 45 minutes at room temperature, followed by an 48

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additional three rinses in PBS. The coverslips were then mounted on slides with Vectashield (Vector Laboratories, Burlingame, CA) fluorescent mounting medium and the cells were visualized with epifluorescence. Neurons were photographed, brightness and contrast of all photomicrographs were enhanced equally, and images converted to grayscale using Adobe Photoshop. Data collection and statistical analysis protein treatment Due to a higher density of neurites compared to the transfection experiments, it was impossible to discern individual neurites to make length measurements. Thus, neurites from a group that was blinded from the experimenter were traced on a new layer in Adobe Photoshop. The background layer containing the photomicrograph was deleted, leaving the tracings, and ImageJ software was utilized to calculate the area of the image occupied by the neurite tracings. This area was divided by the number of neurons in the field image, generating m 2 of neurite signal per neuron. A mean was calculated for the area occupied by neurites per neuron for several images and differences between the means were determined by ANOVA and the Tukey-Kramer multiple comparison test. A p < 0.05 was considered a statistically significant difference between groups. Phosphotyrosine and ERK1/2 analysis Neurons were cultured for five days in vitro and treated with 50nM ADAMTS4. At 20, 40 and 60 minutes after addition of ADAMTS4, 20mM Tris49

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HCl, 5mM EDTA, 1% Triton-X-100, and protease inhibitor cocktail set III (Calbiochem) were added to cells for fifteen minutes on ice, the extract scraped from the dish, centrifuged and stored at -80 C. Neuronal lysates were subjected to Western blot analysis on 10% Tris-glycine SDS-PAGE gels, and the proteins were transferred onto Immobilon membranes (Millipore). Membranes were probed with rabbit anti-ERK1/2, rabbit anti-phospho-ERK1/2 (Chemicon) and/or mouse anti-phosphotyrosine (BD Biosciences) and the presence of primary antibody was detected with HRP conjugated to secondary antibody as described for anti-brevican and anti-EAVESE above. The same blots were re-probed for phosphotyrosine and ERK analysis and densitometric measures of the immunoreactive protein bands were obtained from the ERK blots and the ratio of activated phospho-ERK1/2 was calculated by dividing phospho-ERK protein band density by total ERK1/2 band density. The time at which the maximum stimulation of ERK1/2 was observed was somewhat variable between experiments. Thus, representative blots and representative densitometric measures are shown in Fig. 13 and 14, with similar, but not identical, results seen in the replicate experiments. MAP kinase inhibition Neurons were treated with MAP kinase inhibitors thirty minutes before the addition of 50nM ADAMTS4 to the cultures as described above. PD98059, (Tocris, Ellisville, MO), a selective inhibitor of activated ERK1/2, and U0126 (Tocris), an inhibitor of active and inactive ERK1/2, were added at 10, 25 and 50

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50M before the addition of 50nM ADAMTS4. U0124 (Tocris), the inactive analog of U0126, was used as a negative control at 10, 25 and 50M as well. Cultures were treated and incubated as described above and images of neurons were captured, processed and examined in the same manner as in the ADAMTS protein treatment experiments. Results Degradation of purified PG by recombinant ADAMTSs To ensure that the human recombinant ADAMTS proteases used in these experiments were effective in degrading brevican purified from rat brain, human recombinant ADAMTS1, ADAMTS4 and ADAMTS5 were incubated with DEAE-extracted PGs. Soluble homogenate of rat brain was applied to a DEAE column and highly negatively-charged species were eluted with 1 M NaCl. These proteins were incubated with active or heat-inactivated preparations of the human recombinant ADAMTSs. At the end of a 3 h incubation period with 25 nM of each recombinant ADAMTS, the samples were subjected to Western blot for brevican. Brevican detected in DEAE-eluant in the absence of recombinant protease was observed as a smear > 145 kD representing isoforms bearing various numbers of CS chains (Fig. 8C, control). Incubation of DEAE eluants with ADAMTS 1, 4 and 5 resulted in cleavage of brevican and the appearance of a 55kD N-terminal fragment (Fig. 8C). This same 55 kD fragment was detected when the membrane was probed with a rabbit antibody that recognizes the ADAMTS-specific, C-terminal, neoepitope rat sequence, EAVESE, exposed on 51

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the N-terminal fragment of ADAMTS-cleaved brevican (Fig. 8D) (Hamel et al., 2005). After cleavage by each protease, the abundance of intact brevican was clearly diminished. Proteolytic activity was lost or significantly attenuated when the ADAMTS4 or ADAMTS5 preparations were heat inactivated prior to incubation with substrate (Fig. 8C and 8D). These results demonstrate that each of the recombinant preparations of the ADAMTSs was proteolytically active. Neurite extension in primary rat neurons transfected with ADAMTS4 cDNA grown on an astrocyte monolayer Since monolayers of rat astrocytes express brevican that remains associated with the cell layer (Hamel et al., 2005), we were interested in determining whether overexpression of ADAMTS4 would stimulate cleavage of brevican and/or other PGs present in the astrocyte monolayer matrix and thus, promote neurite outgrowth in cells expressing ADAMTS4. To accomplish this, primary rat neurons were transfected with pCMS-EGFP vector that contained a human ADAMTS4 cDNA insert. Other neurons were transfected with pCMS-EGFP plasmid without the ADAMTS4 insert. The transfected neurons were plated on mature astrocyte monolayers, ie. two-week old cultures of postnatal day three astrocytes that had been sub-cultured one time. Seven days after plating, photomicrographs of fixed cultures were imaged (Fig. 9A, 9C) and tracings were made of neurites (Fig. 9B, 9D). Autofluorescence attributed to the astrocyte monolayer can be seen in the photomicrographs (Fig. 9A, 9C). Neurons transfected with ADAMTS4 cDNA more readily penetrated the astrocyte matrix, and extended 20 40% longer primary and secondary neurites as 52

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compared to neurons transfected with empty vector (p 0.05) (Fig. 9E). There was no statistically significant difference in the number of primary neurites between control empty vector transfected neurons and those transfected with pCMS-EGFP ADAMTS4 cDNA, however, the number of secondary neurites was significantly increased in ADAMTS4-transfects (p 0.05) (Fig. 9E, bottom right panel). Neurons from multiple coverslips taken from a single culture were utilized in this experiment, and similar results obtained in a replicate experiment. Figure 9. ADAMTS4 cDNA induces neurite outgrowth in neurons grown on astrocyte monolayers. 53

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Figure 9. ADAMTS4 cDNA induces neurite outgrowth in neurons grown on astrocyte monolayers. Primary cortical neurons transfected with empty pCMS vector or pCMS inserted with ADAMTS4 cDNA were grown on a previously prepared astrocyte monolayer for 7 days. Representative photomicrographs depict neurons transfected with empty pCMS (A) or with the ADAMTS cDNA insert (C). Photographs were taken of the fluorescing neurons and neurites were traced as a measure of neurite outgrowth (B, pCMS; D, pCMS-ADAMTS4). Means SEM of traced neurons reveal ADAMTS4 increases several parameters of neurite outgrowth including the mean longest primary and secondary neurites, overall mean primary and secondary neurites and number of secondary neurites (* signifies p 0.05 compared to control pCMS vector alone). No significant difference was observed in the mean number of primary neurites in response to ADAMTS4 cDNA transfection (p > 0.05). A single independent neuronal culture was utilized to measure 117 primary and 84 secondary neurites from 50 empty pCMS-transfected neurons and 127 primary and 124 secondary neurites from 37 pCMS-ADAMTS4-transfected neurons. Similar data was obtained when the experiment was repeated. Scale bars, 50m. Neurite extension in primary rat neurons transfected with ADAMTS4 cDNA grown directly on substrate without an astrocyte monolayer If ADAMTS4 was proteolytically degrading a substrate on the astrocyte monolayer, releasing the neurites from exposure to the inhibitory matrix, then neurons transfected with ADAMTS4 cDNA and neurons transfected with empty 54

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vector should extend neurites equally as well when grown directly on plastic, in the absence of an astrocyte-derived ECM. To test this notion, neurons were transfected as above, plated directly on poly-L-lysine/laminin-coated coverslips, and allowed to extend neurites (Fig. 10). Interestingly, these sets of neurons exhibited neurite growth behavior similar to that observed when neurons were grown on the astrocyte monolayer. Neurons overexpressing ADAMTS4 (Fig. 10C, D) extended longer neurites as compared to control transfects (Fig. 10A, B) when grown on the poly-L-lysine/laminin substrate. ADAMTS4 overexpression induced significant increases in all parameters measured (Fig. 10E, p 0.05), in this case, including the number of primary and secondary neurites. A single, independent neuronal culture generated the neurons used in this experiment, and similar results obtained in a replicate experiment. 55

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Figure 10. ADAMTS4 cDNA induces neurite outgrowth in neurons grown on a poly-L-lysine/laminin substrate. 56

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Figure 10. ADAMTS4 cDNA induces neurite outgrowth in neurons grown on a poly-L-lysine/laminin substrate. Primary cortical neurons transfected with empty pCMS vector or pCMS inserted with ADAMTS4 cDNA were grown on poly-L-lysine/laminin coated coverslips in the absence of an astrocyte monolayer for 7 days. Representative photomicrographs depict neurons transfected with empty pCMS (A) or with the ADAMTS cDNA insert (C). Photographs were taken of the fluorescing neurons and neurites were traced as a measure of neurite outgrowth (B, pCMS; D, pCMS-ADAMTS4). Means SEM of traced neurons reveal ADAMTS4 induced statistically significant (* signifies p 0.05 compared to pCMS vector alone) increases in several parameters of neurite outgrowth including the mean longest primary and secondary neurites, overall mean primary and secondary neurites and the number of primary and secondary neurites. 112 primary and 48 secondary neurites from 45 empty pCMS-transfected neurons and 136 primary and 107 secondary neurites from 44 pCMS-ADAMTS4 transfected neurons derived from a single independent neuronal culture were analyzed. Similar data was obtained when the experiment was repeated. Scale bars, 50m. Effects of ADAMTS4 on neurite outgrowth are independent of proteolysis To more directly determine whether the proteolytic action of ADAMTS4 was leading to increases in neurite outgrowth, transfection experiments were carried out again with an experimental group that was transfected with a pCMS construct that contained an ADAMTS4 cDNA bearing a point mutation in the 57

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protease (Fig. 11, inactive ADAMTS4 mutant). This cDNA encodes a protein with a single amino acid substitution 362 (EQ) in the catalytic domain resulting in an inactive protease, yet it contains all other functional domains of ADAMTS4. Quite surprisingly, neurons transfected with either active ADAMTS4 cDNA or neurons transfected with proteolytically inactive ADAMTS4 cDNA extended longer neurites in the absence of an astrocyte monolayer. Representative photomicrographs show increases in neuritic growth (Fig. 11A, B: control; 11C, D: ADAMTS4; 11E, F: inactive ADAMTS4 mutant). Transfection with either the active or inactive ADAMTS4 construct resulted in enhanced length of the longest primary and secondary neurites, and the mean length of all primary and secondary neurites. (Fig. 11G). There was even a modest, but significant increase in the mean length of primary neurites in neurons transfected with the inactive ADAMTS4 mutant, compared to the wild-type ADAMTS4 cDNA (Fig. 11G, top middle panel). A single independent neuronal culture was used in this experiment, and similar results obtained in a replicate experiment. 58

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Figure 11. An inactive mutant ADAMTS4 cDNA enhances neurite outgrowth. 59

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Figure 11. An inactive mutant ADAMTS4 cDNA enhances neurite outgrowth. Primary cortical rat neurons transfected with empty pCMS vector, pCMS inserted with ADAMTS4 cDNA, or pCMS vector inserted with an inactive mutant form of ADAMTS4 cDNA were grown on poly-L-lysine/laminin coated coverslips in the absence of an astrocyte monolayer for 7 days. Due to a point mutation in the catalytic domain (362 EQ), this ADAMTS4 protein possesses the same structural domains as native ADAMTS4, but lacks any proteolytic capacity. Representative photomicrographs depict pCMS (A), pCMS-ADAMTS4 (C) and pCMS inactive ADAMTS4 mutant (E) expressing neurons. Photographs were taken of the fluorescing neurons and neurites were traced as a measure of neurite outgrowth (B, pCMS; D, pCMS-ADAMTS4, F, pCMS inactive ADAMTS4 mutant). Means SEM of traced neurons reveal ADAMTS4 and inactive ADAMTS4 mutant induced statistically significant (* signifies p 0.05 compared to pCMS vector alone) increases in several parameters of neurite outgrowth including the mean longest primary and secondary neurites, overall mean primary and secondary neurites and the number of secondary neurites. There was an additional increase in the mean length of primary neurites of neurons transfected with pCMS inactive ADAMTS4 mutant cDNA compared to neurons transfected with pCMS-ADAMTS4 cDNA, (** signifies p 0.05 compared to pCMS-ADAMTS4). No significant differences (p > 0.05) were observed in the mean number of primary neurites in response to ADAMTS4 cDNA transfection. A single independent neuronal culture was utilized and 288 primary and 181 secondary neurites from 111 empty pCMS-transfected neurons were examined. 60

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207 primary and 171 secondary neurites from 70 pCMS-ADAMTS4-transfected neurons were measured, and 325 primary and 316 secondary neurites from 129 pCMS-inactive ADAMTS4-transfected neurons were quantified. Similar data was obtained when the experiment was repeated. Scale bars, 50m. Effect of recombinant ADAMTSs on neurite outgrowth To test the effects of ADAMTS4 protein on neurite extension and potentially confirm the results seen with transfection, increasing concentrations of human recombinant ADAMTS4 were added to the medium of neurons at 2 and 5 DIV and neurite length measured at 8 DIV. Neurons were also treated with ADAMTS5 to determine whether this was an effect selective to ADAMTS4. Each recombinant protein was diluted with BSA in culture medium and filter sterilized prior to addition to the culture. Control wells consisted of untreated neurons and neurons treated with filtered medium and BSA (Fig. 12B, C) to ensure that the BSA was not affecting neurite outgrowth. At 8 DIV, neurons were immunostained with microtubule-associated protein-2 and stained with phalloidin, images collected, and the lengths of neurites traced. Compared to the transfection experiments, where low numbers of neurons were visible due to low transfection efficiency, all neurons were stained and visible with dense networks of neurites. For quantification, all neurites were traced in an individual field, and the "area occupied by neurite tracing" calculated. When divided by the number of neurons in the field, it resulted in the area occupied by neurite tracing per neuron (m 2 tracing/neuron). 61

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The addition of BSA in culture medium had no significant effect on neurite outgrowth compared to untreated cultures of neurons. When neuronal cultures were treated with ADAMTS4, there was a dose-dependent increase in neuritic growth, with a statistically significant increase at 10 (Fig. 12D, E) and 50nM ADAMTS4 (Fig. 12A, F and G, p 0.05). ADAMTS5, a member of this protease family not highly expressed in the nervous system, also significantly increased growth of neurites compared to control cultures (Fig. 12A, H and I, p 0.05). 62

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Figure 12. Human recombinant ADAMTS4 induces neurite outgrowth. 63

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Figure 12. Human recombinant ADAMTS4 induces neurite outgrowth. Representative photomicrographs and tracings are shown of primary cortical rat neurons grown on poly-L-lysine/laminin and treated with ADAMTS4 at 1, 10 (D,E) and 50nM (F,G) and ADAMTS5 at 10nM (H,I) or culture medium containing BSA (B,C) at days 2 and 5 of culture and neurite outgrowth measured at day 6. At the end of culture, neurons were visualized by using anti-microtubule associated protein-2 immunocytochemistry and the Alexafluor 488-conjugated actin binding protein, phalloidin. The photomicrographs (B,D,F,H) were converted to grayscale and neurites traced (C,E,G,I). Data was calculated by dividing the area of the photograph occupied by neurite signal (m 2 ) divided by number of neurons in the field to generate mean SEM (m 2 /neuron) that are shown in panel A. Treatment with ADAMTS4 resulted in a dose-dependent increase in neurite outgrowth (see panel A) and 10nM ADAMTS5 also significantly increased neurite outgrowth (* p 0.05 compared to untreated or medium + BSA treated wells). Three separate cultures were utilized in these experiments, with at least 10 fields in total for each treatment group, representing over 1,000 neurons for each group. Scale bars, 100m. Modulation of tyrosine phosphorylated proteins in response to ADAMTS4 Since ADAMTS4 appears to exert its effects on neurite outgrowth independent of its proteolytic activity, it is possible that ADAMTS may be signaling the cell by binding and acting at the cell surface. Significant evidence is available showing that ADAMTS protein is localized to the ECM and cell surface 64

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(Kuno and Matsushima, 1998; Kuno et al., 1999; Gao et al., 2004a). Since neurite outgrowth has been shown to be mediated in part by tyrosine kinase signaling, neurons treated with ADAMTS4 were examined for elevated abundance of intracellular proteins containing phosphorylated tyrosine residues using an anti-phosphotyrosine antibody in neuronal lysates. Neurons were treated with 50nM ADAMTS4 and extracted after 20, 40 and 60 minutes of incubation, lysates subjected to Western blot and probed with anti-phosphotyrosine antibody. Increases in the abundance of several phosphotyrosine-containing proteins of differing molecular weights were observed after stimulation with ADAMTS4 (Fig. 13F). Robust up-regulation of a 50kD (Fig. 13C), 115kD (Fig. 13D) and >120kD (Fig. 13E) signal was detected at 60 minutes after addition of ADAMTS4, although the peak of the time-course was somewhat inconsistent among experiments. Modest increases were seen in a species at ~40kD (Fig. 13A, B). 65

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Figure 13. Tyrosine residue phosphorylation in total protein extract from neurons after treatment with human recombinant ADAMTS4. Representative immunoblot showing protein bands immunoreactive with anti-phosphotyrosine antibody in extracts from neurons, at 5 days in culture and treated with culture medium or 50 nM ADAMTS4 for 20, 40 and 60 min. Proteins immunoreactive for phospho-tyrosine were observed at several molecular weights, 42 (A), 44 (B), 50 (C), 115 (D), >120 (E). Protein bands from this single experiment were quantified by densitometry and values are shown in panel (F) indicate increases in band density for proteins at several different molecular weights, especially prominent is a band at about 40 kD. This blot is from a representative experiment and results were similar in three replicate experiments. 66

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Modulation of MAP kinase (ERK1/2) in response to ADAMTS4 The increase in the abundance of phosphotyrosine-containing proteins around 40 kD led us to examine the possibility that the effects on neurite outgrowth were mediated by ERK1/2, an intracellular factor known to have effects on neurite outgrowth. Thus, neuronal extracts were examined by Western blot and probed with anti-"pan" ERK1/2 antibody and anti-phospho-selective ERK1/2 antibody to determine if any changes were occurring in the ratio of activated (phospho) to total ERK1/2 protein in response to ADAMTS4. Marked increases in activated 42/44kD ERK1/2 were detected after ADAMTS4 treatment (Fig. 14A-D), but there was some variability in the time of maximum stimulation. However, elevations in the phospho-ERK1/2 / total ERK1/2 ratio were observed in four separate independent experiments. 67

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Figure 14. ERK1/2 is activated in neurons in response to treatment with human recombinant ADAMTS4. 68

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Figure 14. ERK1/2 is activated in neurons in response to treatment with human recombinant ADAMTS4. Representative blots (A and B) and densitometric values of immunoreactive bands (C and D) of ERK1/2 immunoreactivity in extracts from neurons at 5 days in culture and treated with ADAMTS4. Culture medium vehicle or human recombinant ADAMTS4 at 50 nM was added to neuronal culture medium and cell lysates were collected 20, 40 and 60 minutes after treatment, the lysates subjected to SDS-PAGE and Western blotting using anti-42/44kD phospho-ERK1/2 (A) and anti-pan-ERK1/2 (B) antibodies. Densitometry of the immunoreactivity bands was quantified and the ratio of phospho-ERK1/2 to pan-ERK1/2 was calculated for each sample and for each isoform of ERK 1/2. (C) ratio of 42 kD activated phospho-ERK to pan42 kD ERK, (D), ratio of 44 kD activated phospho-ERK to pan44 kD ERK. Marked and apparently sustained increases in activated ERK1/2 were observed in response to treatment with ADAMTS4 This experiment was repeated four times, with increases seen in each experiment, however, the time of the peak magnitude of the increase was variable among experiments, Thus, results from a single, representative experiment is shown. Neurite outgrowth in the presence of MEK inhibitors To determine whether the MAP kinase pathway(s) was mediating the neurite growth promoting effects of ADAMTS4, neurite outgrowth was quantified in cultures treated with selective MAP kinase inhibitors or their inactive analogs (Fig.15). The MAP kinase inhibitor PD98059 (Fig. 15A) was added at 10 and 69

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25M, and neurons were treated with U0126, a potent inhibitor of MEK-1 and -2, at 10, 25 and 50M (Fig. 15B). Neurons were treated with the inactive analog of U0126, U0124 as a control. The inhibitors were used alone or thirty minutes before the addition of 50nM ADAMTS4, and the neurons were fixed, immunostained and photographed. Neurite outgrowth was quantified by the same procedure as the protein treatment experiments. All neurites were traced in a particular field, area occupied by the tracing was determined and expressed as area occupied by neurite tracings divided by the number of neurons in the field to yield m 2 neurite tracing/neuron. ADAMTS4 at 50 nM was effective in enhancing neurite outgrowth (Fig. 15A-C). PD98059 treatment alone did not significantly alter neurite outgrowth in the absence of ADAMTS4, and was comparable to control levels at 10 and 25M (Fig. 15A). However, when added to cultures stimulated with ADAMTS4, PD98059 completely inhibited the neurite outgrowth promoting effects of ADAMTS4 (Fig. 15A). When the MEK-1,-2 inhibitor, U0126 was incubated with neurons in the presence of ADAMTS4, it also inhibited neurite outgrowth induced by the protease (Fig. 15B), yet at the highest dose tested, the drug appeared to be neurotoxic (not shown). The inactive analog of U0126, U0124, did not influence ADAMTS4 induced neurite outgrowth at 25 and 50 M (Fig. 15C). At the concentrations for these experiments, the diluent used for each drug, DMSO, alone did not affect neurite outgrowth (data not shown). These results suggest an involvement of the MAP kinase signaling pathway in ADAMTS4-stimulated neurite outgrowth. 70

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Figure 15. MAP kinase inhibitors attenuate neurite outgrowth induced by human recombinant ADAMTS4 treatment 71

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Figure 15. MAP kinase inhibitors attenuate neurite outgrowth induced by human recombinant ADAMTS4 treatment. PD98059, an inhibitor of MAP kinase (A) U0126, a potent inhibitor of MEK-1 and -2 (B) and U0124, an inactive analog of U0126 (C) were added to the culture medium of neurons at 2 and 5 days in culture to determine whether inhibition of the MAP kinase could influence the growth of neurites induced by ADAMTS4. Cells were treated with vehicle (DMSO) or inhibitor alone or with inhibitor thirty minutes before the addition of 50nM ADAMTS4, followed by fixation, immunostaining and quantification of neurite outgrowth by tracing neurites on day 6 of the culture. Area occupied by neurites (m 2 ) from neurite tracings was divided by number of neurons in the field to generate a mean SEM (m 2 /neuron). Each MAP kinase inhibitor significantly and dose-dependently impaired the neurite outgrowth promoting effects of ADAMTS4 with little effect on basal neurite outgrowth with the exception of high doses of U0126 which appeared to be toxic toward the neurons. signifies p 0.05 compared to "control" treatment; ** signifies p 0.05 compared to treatment with 50 nM ADAMTS4 alone. This experiment was performed using an independent culture and at least 10 fields were examined for each treatment group representing about 75 neurons per treatment group. Similar data was obtained when the experiment was repeated. Discussion Several rather recent studies have provided the most direct evidence to date for the involvement of matrix-degrading metalloproteinases in neural 72

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plasticity in the CNS. Most of these experiments were conducted in vivo and demonstrated increased expression of matrix-cleaving proteinases during conditions of regeneration and/or neuronal sprouting (Szklarczyk et al., 2002; Yuan et al., 2002; Mayer et al., 2005) or synaptogenesis (Kim et al., 2005) and that blockade of metalloproteinase activity during a critical period may impede neural plasticity mechanisms (Reeves et al., 2003). In at least two of these studies, a PG crucial to the plastic response was identified and shown to be an in vivo substrate for an active metalloproteinase (Yuan et al., 2002; Mayer et al., 2005). Data from in vitro studies has been limited to peripheral neurons and has shown that metalloproteinases enhance penetration of neurites into the basal lamina (Nordstrom et al., 1995) and potentiate nerve growth factor-induced neurite extension in PC12 cells (Shubayev and Myers, 2004). In addition in peripheral nerve, metalloproteinase cleavage of a PG converted the growth environment from an inhibitory to a permissive one, allowing for elongation of dorsal root ganglion neurons (Zuo et al., 1998). In the present study, ADAMTSs were examined for their ability to induce neurite outgrowth in vitro in the absence of any other classical growth factors. The ADAMTSs used in this study are proteases particularly adept at cleaving aggregating, CS-containing PGs that are abundantly expressed in the CNS. Transfection of ADAMTS4 cDNA into primary rat neurons resulted in enhanced neurite growth compared to neurons transfected with vector alone, when neurons were grown on an astrocyte monolayer. The initial interpretation was that elevated ADAMTS4 expression resulted in increased cleavage and/or 73

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degradation of CS-containing PGs present in the astrocyte monolayer (Hamel et al., 2005). Thus, the matrix was more permissive toward neurite outgrowth after being released from the inhibitory effects of the PGs (Zuo et al., 1998). However, when neurons were cultured directly on a poly-L-lysine/laminin substrate without an astrocyte monolayer, the results were the same, ie. ADAMTS4 transfected neurons showed greater neurite outgrowth compared to vector transfected neurons. This was puzzling since the abundance of matrix proteins produced in neuronal cultures is markedly lower than that found on astrocyte monolayers. To more fully characterize whether proteolytic activity was an essential component in the action of the ADAMTSs in promoting neurite growth, neurons were transfected with a construct encoding an inactive point mutant of ADAMTS4. This construct contains a point mutation in the catalytic domain of ADAMTS4 resulting in an inactive protease, yet all other domains are identical to the wild-type protein (Gao et al., 2002). Neurons transfected with the mutant construct were at least as effective as the construct encoding the wild-type, active protease, indicating that proteolytic activity was not required for ADAMTS4 to stimulate neurite extension. It also suggests that ADAMTS4 may be acting by engagement with a cell surface protein, as mounting evidence indicates that certain biological actions are stimulated by metalloproteinase binding to cell surface signaling molecules, especially integrins (Conant, 2005), independent of proteolytic function. Regarding the ADAMTSs, these proteinases avidly bind to heparan and may be anchored to the cell surface or the ECM via its thrombospondin motif and/or spacer region (Kuno and Matsushima, 1998; Kuno 74

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et al., 1999). ADAMTSs bind to heparan sulfate or CS chains found typically attached to core protein PGs, and this protein-glycosaminoglycan interaction is important for substrate recognition (Tortorella et al., 2000; Flannery et al., 2002; Kashiwagi et al., 2004). Most recently, indirect evidence suggests that ADAMTS4 may bind to the cell surface heparan sulfate PG, syndecan-1, in chondrocyte-like cells in culture (Gao et al., 2004a) and orient the protease for C-terminal truncation by another cell surface metalloproteinase. Whether binding of syndecan-1 by ADAMTS4 directly activates intracellular signaling mechanisms is not known. Compelling evidence presented here indicates that one intracellular signaling mechanism induced by ADAMTS4, presumably by interacting with a cell surface protein, is the MAP kinase cascade. ADAMTS-induced neurite extension is completely dependent on activation of this pathway since pharmacological inhibition of ERK1/2 kinase activity reversed the effect. Data from previous investigations convincingly point to a crucial role for MAP kinase in process outgrowth from a variety of neuronal-like cell types. Neurite outgrowth on the adhesion protein L1 in B35 neuroblastoma cells requires MAP kinase activation (Schmid et al., 2000) and expression of Eph8 stimulates MAP kinase and neurite outgrowth in NG108-15 cells (Gu et al., 2005). Neuregulin-1 activation of erbB receptors activates MAP kinase and stimulates hippocampal neuronal differentiation and neurite extension and arborization (Gerecke et al., 2004). These data clearly support the concept that MAP kinase activation is involved in, or is at least associated with, neurite extension. 75

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Additional data indicates that heparan sulfate-containing proteins transduce signals resulting in the activation of MAP kinase. Basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-2 binds heparan sulfate on the PG, agrin, to activate the ERK1/2 signal and modulate neurite outgrowth in PC-12 cells and retinal neurons (Kim et al., 2003). It may be that ADAMTS mobilizes and activates bFGF by interacting with a heparan sulfate-containing PG, such as agrin, at the surface of cortical neurons, although agrin expression is much lower on CNS neurons compared to those from the periphery. As mentioned above, another possible ADAMTS binding partner is syndecan. Connective tissue growth factor, (CCN-2), a protein that like ADAMTS4, contains a thrombospondin type-1 motif, is known to bind syndecan-2 and activate ERK1/2 (Gao et al., 2004b). It is plausible that the ADAMTSs bind syndecan and activate the MAP kinase cascade, thereby increasing neurite extension. We have demonstrated that ADAMTSs induce MAP kinase signaling in primary rat cortical neurons, an action essential for ADAMTS-induced neurite outgrowth. Compared to neuron-like cell lines which are the cells typically used to demonstrate signaling by the MMPs, the primary cultured neurons from embryonic rat cortex used in these studies are a model that more closely parallel neurons in vivo in their receptor and signaling ensemble. One primary candidate, functional motif in the structure of ADAMTS4 that may be responsible for enhancing neurite elongation is the type-1 thrombospondin motif. Thrombospondin itself enhances neurite outgrowth (O'Shea et al., 1991) and the thrombospondin type-1 repeats of SCO-spondin 76

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bind to 1 1 integrin to stimulate cell process extension in B104 cells, a neuron-like cell line (Bamdad et al., 2004). Furthermore, other ECM proteins that contain thrombospondin-like motifs, such as heparin-binding growth-associated molecule (HB-GAM, also known as pleiotrophin) and midkine, increase neurite outgrowth in hippocampal neurons (Raulo et al., 2005). Thus, there is strong evidence that thrombospondin-like regions of various proteins expressed in and secreted by neurons (or astrocytes via a paracrine action) may affect neural plasticity. In sum, these results indicate that the ADAMTSs, similar to the MMPs (Conant, 2005), exert biological activities independent of their proteolytic activity, one of them that induces extension of neurites in primary cultured embryonic neurons. The particular motif on the ADAMTSs responsible for stimulating this effect is not known, but evidence from others points to the thrombospondin type 1 repeat or the spacer region. Since this carboxy-terminal may bind to heparan sulfate chains, the cell surface molecules that bind the ADAMTSs likely differ markedly from the MMPs, molecules that do not contain a thrombospondin repeat. Preliminary, unpublished data from our laboratory indicates that the ADAMTSs stimulate neurite outgrowth on a CS-containing substrate that is laid on plastic in vitro. It will be interesting to determine whether this activation of neurite extension is dependent on or independent of ADAMTS proteolytic activity. 77

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Chapter 3: ADAMTS4 (A Disintegrin and Metalloproteinase with Thrombospondin Motifs 4) Inhibits Maturation of Dendritic Spines in Neurons in vitro Abstract Dendritic spines are tiny protuberances that extend from the dendritic shaft which are the sites for the majority of excitatory neurotransmission in the central nervous system (CNS). Alterations in dendritic spine morphology are now recognized as a reliable indicator of changes in synaptic function. The components of the extracellular matrix (ECM) may mediate plasticity in the CNS and the most abundant family of proteins which make up the ECM, the lectican family of chondroitin sulfate (CS)-containing proteoglycans (PG), play important roles in cell adhesion, migration and inhibition of neurite outgrowth. Little is known about whether lecticans modulate synaptic plasticity, although indirect evidence indicates that they may do so. Proteases that cleave and degrade various components of the ECM are increasingly recognized as significant contributors to the functional state of the ECM, and proteolysis of lecticans may affect plasticity. Increased proteolysis of lecticans by members of the ADAMTS family of proteases, enzymes well known to cleave lecticans, may change synaptic morphology and plasticity in neurons in vitro. To test this hypothesis, neurons were cultured and increased levels of ADAMTS4 were introduced by 78

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direct treatment with recombinant protein or by transfection of neurons with a DNA expression vector to drive the expression of ADAMTS4. Various measurements of dendritic spine morphology were made several time points after addition. Furthermore, levels of synaptic markers which correlate with synaptic abundance were quantified by ELISA and immunostaining. After ADAMTS4 treatment, several alterations were detected in dendritic spine morphology, including increased overall length of spines and an increased percent of protrusions that were defined as filopodia. A concurrent decrease in PSD-95 staining was detected on the neurites of young neurons overexpressing ADAMTS4 or expressing proteolytically-inactive mutant ADAMTS4 protein. Thus, ADAMTS4 may promote plasticity in neurons in vitro by inhibiting the formation, maturation and/or stabilization of synapses. Introduction The significance of alterations in synaptic structure has been acknowledged for its correlation with functional changes in the brain. One such structural modality in the brain is the dendritic spine, which is a small protrusion that extends from the dendritic shaft and most often contains a single synapse representing the site for the majority of excitatory neurotransmission in the CNS (Yuste and Bonhoeffer, 2001). Dendritic spines were identified in the 19 th century by Ramon y Cajal and sometimes are formed as long, thin protrusions known as filopodia which may mature into shorter spines of varying shapes (Ziv and Smith, 1996; Fiala et al., 1998; Harris, 1999), although a spine can 79

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circumvent filopodial morphology and appear as a spine outright (Engert and Bonhoeffer, 1999; Marrs et al., 2001). In cultured neurons, spines are more numerous in mature neurons while filopodia are more abundant in young neurons (Dailey and Smith, 1996). Filopodia are highly motile and spines themselves are dynamic structures (Dunaevsky et al., 1999; Parnass et al., 2000; Bonhoeffer and Yuste, 2002), and this motility has been observed with two-photon laser scanning microscopy (Grutzendler et al., 2002; Majewska et al., 2006; Yasuda et al., 2006). Interestingly, changes in spine morphology and density result from the induction of long term potentiation (LTP) and enhanced neuronal activity. Furthermore, abnormal morphology of dendritic spines is associated with a host of cognitive disorders that includes autism, mental retardation and even disorders that involve neurodegeneration such as animal models of Alzheimers disease (Hering and Sheng, 2001; Yuste and Bonhoeffer, 2001; Nimchinsky et al., 2002). PGs of the ECM are emerging as important extracellular modulators of neural plasticity, and although most evidence that points to this role is indirect and descriptive, it encourages further research into the ability of PGs to regulate synaptic maturation and function. PGs of the lectican family, brevican, neurocan, versican and aggrecan contain CS side chains, and their developmental expression is coincident with the maturation and stabilization of synapses within the CNS (Yamaguchi, 2000). Furthermore, brevican levels remain high in the adult and throughout the life of the animal, suggesting these PGs may play a role in the development of synaptic stabilization (Milev et al., 1998). In addition to 80

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temporal evidence, localization studies demonstrate a role for brevican in synaptic stabilization. Brevican is deposited around but not over the synapse, effectively walling-off the synapse in an envelope of ECM, and it is thought that the presence of this lectican reinforces the strength of the synapse (Yamaguchi, 2000). Knock-out studies have not shown a clear necessity for lecticans in synaptic stabilization, however, further studies are needed in these experiments to guard against making generalizations without knowing whether compensatory increases in the expression of other lecticans may account for the lack of phenotype (Zhou et al., 2001; Brakebusch et al., 2002; Rauch et al., 2005). At any rate, brevican knockout mice display impaired LTP, which interestingly is an effect that may be replicated by infusion of anti-brevican antibody in the brain (Brakebusch et al., 2002). ADAMTSs, a family of glutamyl endopeptidases, cleave PGs, and it has been proposed that proteolytic alterations in matrix components can lead to plastic changes, however it is unknown whether any effects seen by the ADAMTSs are due to proteolysis of PGs or by a signaling component in their own right as we have shown for neurite outgrowth. Several studies indicate a role for ADAMTSs in response to injury or inflammation. Treatment of rat neurons in culture with amyloid results in increased levels of ADAMTS4 transcript (Satoh et al., 2000). Kainate-induced excitotoxic lesion induced an upsurge of mRNA for ADAMTS1 and 4 with a concurrent increase in the proteolytic fragment of brevican produced by ADAMTS cleavage (Yuan et al., 2002). Additionally, ADAMTS1 was increased in the spinal cord of rats that 81

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underwent axotomy (Sasaki et al., 2001). ADAMTS1, but not ADAMTS5 is increased in Down Syndrome, Picks Disease and Alzheimers Disease (Miguel et al., 2005). Again, it was not certain whether these changes were due to proteolysis or signaling events induced by ADAMTSs, since our lab has previously shown that ADAMTS4 activates the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway to increase neurite length (Hamel et al., 2005). Proteases belonging to a related family, the matrix metalloproteinases (MMP), have been shown to induce signaling in cells in the absence of proteolytic action. This study seeks to elucidate whether ADAMTSs modulate synaptic contacts, as measured by changes in dendritic spine morphology and quantification of immunoreactivity for key synaptic markers related to synaptic abundance using ELISA and immunostaining. Two presynaptic markers, synaptophysin and synaptosomal-associated protein of 25kD (SNAP-25) and one post-synaptic marker (localized to the scaffolding of dendritic spines), post-synaptic density-95 (PSD-95), will be quantified. Here we show that in cultured neurons, spine lengths were increased as were the proportion of immature filopodia in response to treatment with ADAMTS4 recombinant protein. Furthermore, decreases in the levels of PSD-95, a postsynaptic marker highly enriched in the post-synaptic scaffolding, were detected were detected in response to increased expression of ADAMTS4 or expression of proteolytically-inactive mutant ADAMTS4. Our findings appear to identify a role for ADAMTS4 in modifying synaptic maturation. 82

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Materials and Methods Primary neuronal culture Primary cultures of neurons were prepared from cerebral cortex of embryonic day 18 Sprague Dawley (Harlan, Indianapolis) rat pups in Dulbecco's Modified Eagles Medium containing 10% horse serum as described previously (Hamel et al., 2005). After isolation, neurons were plated directly on substrate-coated glass coverslips or subjected to transfection by electroporation before plating on the same coverslips. After twenty-four hours, culture medium was exchanged for serum-free neuronal growth medium (Neurobasal medium (Invitrogen) containing B-27 defined supplement (Invitrogen), 0.5mM Glutamax II (Gibco, Carlsbad), 25M glutamate and 1% antibiotic/antimycotic solution (Gibco)) for the duration of the culture. Transfection by electroporation DNA expression constructs of ADAMTS4 were made for transfection of primary rat cells from forebrain of embryonic day 18 rat pups. A cDNA for ADAMTS4 (Gao et al., 2002), and an inactive point mutant of ADAMTS4 362 (EQ) (Gao et al., 2004a) that were inserted into pcDNA (Invitrogen), were restricted with Xba I and Kpn I (Promega, Madison), the ADAMTS4 (or mutant) fragment purified from an agarose gel and ligated into linearized pCMS plasmid, a dual promoter vector that expresses enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) driven by SV40 (Clontech, Mountain View, CA), and the inserted gene driven by the cytomegalovirus promoter. After cells from cerebral cortex of E18 83

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SD pups were isolated, 5x10 6 cells were centrifuged and resuspended in 100l rat nucleofector solution (Amaxa Biosystems, Gaithersburg, MD). The cells were transferred to a cuvette and pCMS, pCMS-ADAMTS4 or pCMS-ADAMTS4 mutant were added and the cuvette subjected to electric current using the Nucleofector electroporator (Amaxa Biosystems) with either the O-03 or G-13 time and current pre-programmed by the manufacturer. Immediately after transfection, 500l of pre-warmed, 37C Dulbecco's Modified Eagles Medium with 10% fetal calf serum was added to the cell suspension, and the cells were transferred to a sterile microcentrifuge tube until plating. The transfected neurons were plated on glass coverslips pre-coated with the laminin/poly-L-lysine substrate. Neurons were allowed to grow for 8-11 DIV or 20-22 DIV. After this time, cells were washed one time in PBS, fixed in 4% room temperature paraformaldehyde for twenty minutes, and washed an additional three times with PBS, followed by immunocytochemistry to stain the synaptic proteins, synaptophysin, SNAP-25 and PSD-95. Immunocytochemistry Neuronal cultures fixed as described above were incubated for one hour in blocking buffer containing 10% normal goat serum (NGS), 0.3% triton-X-100 and 1M lysine in PBS at room temperature. Cells were incubated for 2 hours at room temperature in dilution buffer (PBS, 10% NGS, 0.3%Triton-X-100) containing rabbit anti-synaptophysin (Dako, Carpinteria, CA) diluted to 1:200, rabbit anti-SNAP-25 (Sigma, St. Louis, MO) diluted to 1:200 or mouse anti-PSD-95 84

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(Chemicon, Temecula, CA). The cells were washed three times in PBS and Alexa Fluor 588 goat anti-mouse (or goat anti-rabbit) IgG fluorescent secondary antibody (Invitrogen, Carlsbad, CA) was incubated at a concentration of 1:500 for 1 h and the coverslips washed three times in PBS. The coverslips were then mounted on slides with Vectashield (Vector Laboratories, Burlingame, CA) fluorescent mounting medium and the cells were visualized with epifluorescence. Quantification of synaptic marker immunostaining Levels of immunoreactivity of synaptic proteins expressed by transfected cells were quantified. Transfected and immunostained cells were visualized under epifluorescence using a Zeiss Axioskop microscope interfaced with an Axiocam (Zeiss, Thornwood, NY) digital camera and captured with uniform exposure time with Openlab software (version 3.1.4, Improvision, Lexington, MA). Transfected cells were visualized using the FITC filter, and once a transfect was located, the rhodamine filter was then employed to capture an image of the red synaptic marker staining on the transfected cell. Images were analyzed using NIH ImageJ version 1.35S (NIH, Bethesda, MD). To quantify optical density of the immunostain on the soma, the maximum optical density of immunostain contained within a 50m 2 square on the neuronal cell body was quantified by NIH ImageJ. For quantification along a neurite, a 20m segment was analyzed. This analysis was performed with young (8-11 DIV) and mature (20-22 DIV) neurons. Quantification was performed with the treatment unknown to the experimenter using 570 neurons from 2 cultures, and data were 85

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statistically assessed by ANOVA followed by Newman-Keuls multiple comparison post-test. p<0.05 was considered a significant difference between groups. ADAMTS4 protein treatment For dendritic spine experiments, 2.5x10 5 neurons were cultured on 22 mm glass coverslips, and for protein extraction experiments, 3.625x10 6 neurons were cultured on 100mm tissue culture dishes for 8-11 DIV (young) or 20-22 DIV (mature). Purified recombinant ADAMTS4, provided by Roche Biosciences, was diluted in Neurobasal medium plus 0.1% bovine serum albumin (BSA) and syringe filtered to sterilize. BSA was added to prevent adherence of the recombinant protein to the filter. Each of the ADAMTS protein preparations contained low, but detectable levels of endotoxin using the LAL assay (Cambrex, Walkersville, MD) that were comparable to the BSA controls. Filtered 50nM ADAMTS4 was applied to the culture and the cells were incubated for 2-3 days. Control wells received a matched volume of filtered Neurobasal medium plus 1% BSA. After the incubation was complete, the neurons were processed for ELISA or dendritic spine examination. Dendritic spine analysis Neurons treated with 50nM ADAMTS4 human recombinant protein were used for the examination of dendritic spines. After protein treatment, neurons were fixed in 4% paraformaldehyde as described above followed by incubation with a fluorescent-tagged, actin binding protein, Alexa-Fluor 488 phalloidin 86

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(Molecular Probes/Invitrogen), at a dilution of 1:500 in 2% NGS and 0.3%Triton-X-100 in PBS for 20 minutes at room temperature, followed by an additional three rinses in PBS. Neurons were imaged using a Leica TCS SP2 confocal scanning laser microscope with a 63X objective (numerical aperture, 1.4) with a zoom of 2 and z-sectioned in increments of 0.3m. 2D maximum reconstructions were generated from the z-stacks and utilized for quantification of spines. NIH ImageJ was used to perform several measurements of the dendritic spine (Harris et al 1992, Koh et al, 2002). The length of the spine was measured from the dendrite to the tip of the spine; maximum spine head diameter and the minimum neck diameter were measured as well. The ratio of the measurements of maximum head diameter to the minimum neck diameter were used to place spines into categories of filopodial, stubby, mushroom and thin (Zagrebelsky M et al, 2005;Peters & Kaisrman-Abramof, 1969; Nakayama AY et al, 2000). Any protrusion >3m in length was considered a filopodia. A spine with a length 3m with a ratio of head to neck1.5 was considered a mushroom spine. Thin spines had a head/neck ratio <1.5 with 1 Length 3. Stubby spines had a head/neck ratio <1.5 with Length 1. All measurements were performed blindly with the experimental group being quantified unknown to the personnel. Statistical significance was assessed by unpaired t-test, and a p<0.02 was considered significant. 87

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ELISA After control or 50nM ADAMTS4 treatment, RIPA buffer (50mM Tris, 150mM NaCl, 1mM EDTA, 1mM EGTA, 1% triton-X-100, 1% sodium deoxycholate, 0.1% SDS) with protease inhibitor cocktail (set III, Calbiochem, San Diego) was added to the culture on ice to extract protein, followed by analysis by ELISA to determine the levels of synaptic markers. ELISAs were conducted to measure immunoreactivity of synaptophysin, SNAP-25 and PSD-95 were performed. Briefly, coating antibody in buffer (0.01M phosphate buffer) was applied to the EIA/RIA high-binding 96-well plates (Costar) with: mouse anti-synaptophysin (Chemicon) at a dilution of 1:250, mouse anti-SNAP-25 (Chemicon) at a dilution of 1:200 or mouse anti-PSD-95 (Chemicon) at a dilution of 1:100. The plates were agitated overnight and the antibody was allowed to adhere to dryness at room temperature. The wells were then washed with sample/wash buffer (PBS with .05% Tween-20) one time. Blocking buffer (PBS with 0.05% Tween-20 and 5% dry milk) was applied to the wells and incubated at room temperature for 1 hour with agitation, followed by washing and applying cell extract diluted in sample/wash buffer for two hours at room temperature with agitation. Sample was then washed from the well followed by the addition of primary antibody for two hours in buffer: rabbit anti-synaptophysin (Dako) at a dilution of 1:2000, rabbit anti-SNAP-25 (Sigma) at a dilution of 1:1000 and sheep anti-PSD-95 (Zymed) at a dilution of 1:100. The wells were washed three times and secondary antibody applied in buffer for one hour: (goat anti-rabbit IgG-HRP (Chemicon) at 1:5000 or anti-sheep/goat (Chemicon) at a dilution of 1:1000). 88

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Blue reaction product was detected after the application of TMB (Sigma) and reaction stopped with 1M H 2 SO 4 Absorbance levels were detected with a Wallac Victor 2 1420 multilabel counter (Perkin Elmer, Wellesley, MA) interfaced with Workout software (version 1.5, Perkin Elmer), and these levels were normalized per g protein applied to the well. The time course of synaptophysin and PSD-95 levels in untreated, control neurons was performed with cell extracts from three neuronal cultures and means from experimental groups compared using ANOVA and pair-wise comparisons were made with Newman-Keuls post-hoc test (GraphPad, San Diego, CA). A p<0.05 was considered a significant difference between groups. Results Analysis of spine density and length Changes in the morphology of dendritic spines are routinely used as measures of synaptic maturation, and to determine whether ADAMTS4 could affect dendritic spine morphology, neurons were subjected to ADAMTS4 or vehicle treatment, fixed in 4% paraformaldehyde and spines detected with the fluorescent-tagged actin-binding protein, phalloidin (Fig. 16 A, B). Spine length, maximum head diameter and minimum neck diameter were quantified using NIH ImageJ, and these measurements were used in several analyses. The mean density of spines was calculated by averaging the number of spines measured per 10m segment of dendrite analyzed for control and ADAMTS4-treated young and mature neurons (Fig. 16 C), and no alterations in spine density was detected 89

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with treatment with ADAMTS4 in either young or mature neurons. Since longer protrusions often indicate less mature spines, mean spine length was calculated by averaging the lengths for each protrusion measured (Fig. 16, D), and ADAMTS4 treatment significantly increased the lengths of protrusions (spines and filopodia included) in young and mature neurons. Figure 16. Human recombinant ADAMTS4 increases dendritic protrusion length in young and mature neurons. 90

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Figure 16. Human recombinant ADAMTS4 increases dendritic protrusion length in young and mature neurons. Photomicrographs of primary rat cortical neurons treated with culture medium containing BSA (A) or 50nM ADAMTS4 (B) are depicted and quantifications of protrusion density (C) and protrusion length (D) are shown, which were examined at 8-11 DIV (Young) or 20-22 DIV (Mature). At the end of culture, dendritic spines were visualized by using the Alexafluor 488-conjugated actin binding protein, phalloidin. Spines were analyzed with NIH ImageJ, and mean protrusion density was calculated by averaging the number of protrusions (spines and filopodia) per 10m segment of dendrite measured (C), and mean spine length was calculated by averaging lengths for all protrusions measured (D). Treatment with ADAMTS4 did not significantly alter spine density (C), however, spine length was significantly increased (D) in young and mature neurons with ADAMTS4 treatment. (* p 0.02 compared to young control, ** p 0.02 compared to mature control). Three separate cultures were utilized in these experiments. n=133, young control; 167 young ADAMTS4; 211, mature control; 115, mature ADAMTS4, C. n=763, young control; 977 young ADAMTS4; 1289, mature control; 750, mature ADAMTS4, D. Analysis of dendritic spine morphology Since changes in spine morphology can reflect changes in synaptic function, spines were categorized into morphological classes utilizing the measurements detailed above to determine whether ADAMTS4 could alter the proportion of spine types. The morphology of spines is used as an indicator of 91

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their maturity, with filopodia defined as precursors to spines, thin spines being the most immature spines followed by mushroom spines being more mature and stubby spines the most mature. The percentages of different spine types was calculated by averaging the numbers of different types divided by the total number of spines measured for each 10m segment of dendrite measured. In accordance with the previous finding of ADAMTS4 increasing length, ADAMTS4 treatment increased the percentage of filopodia, the longest in length of the morphological categories in both young and mature neurons (Fig. 17, top left panel). ADAMTS4 treatment also significantly increased the percentage of thin spines while decreasing the percentage of stubby spines in mature neurons (Fig. 17, top right and bottom right panels). 92

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Figure 17. Treatment of primary neurons with ADAMTS4 alters the proportion of various spine types. 93

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Figure 17. Treatment of primary neurons with ADAMTS4 alters the proportion of various spine types. Percentages of filopodia, thin spines, mushroom spines and stubby spines are depicted in neurons treated with culture medium containing BSA (control) or 50nM ADAMTS4 examined at 8-11 DIV (Young) or 20-22 DIV (Mature). At the end of the treatment period, dendritic spines were visualized by using the Alexafluor 488-conjugated actin binding protein, phalloidin. Spines were analyzed with NIH ImageJ, and mean percentage of type was calculated by averaging the percentage of protrusion calculated for each 10m segment measured. Treatment with ADAMTS4 significantly increased the percentages of filopodia in young and mature neurons (upper left panel), and significantly increased the percentage of thin spines while reducing the percentage of stubby spines in mature neurons (upper and lower right panels). (* p 0.02 compared to young control, ** p 0.02 compared to mature control). Three separate cultures were utilized in these experiments. n=133, young control; 167 young ADAMTS4; 211, mature control; 115, mature ADAMTS4. Quantification of localized synaptic proteins Since changes were detected in the morphology of spines, we were next interested in determining whether there would be concurrent alterations in proteins enriched at the synapse, but before directly examining ADAMTS4 treated neurons, a time course detecting synaptic proteins was conducted in control-treated neurons to verify that these ELISAs could detect maturational changes in the expression of these synaptic proteins. Neurons were grown and 94

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cell proteins extracted at 5, 12 and 21 DIV. Synaptophysin levels increased in control neurons as the culture aged (Fig. 18, upper panel). PSD-95 protein levels showed a similar increase in individual cultures, however, due to variability between these values, these increases were not statistically significant (Fig. 18, lower panel). Figure 18. Synaptic marker proteins increase with neuronal culture age. 95

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Figure 18. Synaptic marker proteins increase with neuronal culture age. Units of synaptophysin (upper panel) and PSD-95 (lower panel) immunoreactivity per g protein measured by ELISA in neurons at 5, 12 and 21 DIV. Neurons were grown under basal conditions, proteins extracted at days 5, 12 and 21 and subjected to synaptophysin or PSD-95 ELISA. Units of immunoreactivity were normalized per g protein, and significant increases in immunoreactivity are detected in synaptophysin (upper panel), but not PSD-95 (lower panel) as DIV increases. *, significant difference from 5DIV, p<0.05, **, significant difference from 12 DIV, p<0.05. This experiment was performed three times using cells isolated from separate litters of rat pups. To determine whether ADAMTS4 treatment could lead to alterations in synaptic protein levels, neurons were treated with ADAMTS4 or vehicle culture medium containing BSA, the treatment continued for 2 days and cell proteins extracted at 8-11 DIV (Young) or 20-22 DIV (Mature). Despite seeing clear changes in dendritic spine morphology, no significant alterations in levels of synaptophysin (Fig. 19, upper panel), SNAP-25 (Fig. 19, middle panel) or PSD-95 (Fig. 19, lower panel) were observed in response to ADAMTS4 treatment. 96

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Figure 19. ADAMTS4 does not significantly alter synaptic protein levels. 97

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Figure 19. ADAMTS4 does not significantly alter synaptic protein levels. Quantitative analysis of immunoreactivity of synaptophysin (upper panel), SNAP-25 (middle panel) and PSD-95 (lower panel) in neurons treated with medium containing BSA (control) or 50nM ADAMTS4 in neuronal proteins extracted at 8-11 DIV (young) or 20-22 DIV (mature)as measured by ELISA. Treatment was incubated for 2-3 days followed by extraction of proteins and subjection to synaptophysin, SNAP-25 or PSD-95 ELISA. Units of immunoreactivity were normalized per g protein. These experiments were performed three times utilizing cell cultures derived from 3 separate litters of rat pups. Alterations in immunostaining of synaptic proteins Since ADAMTS4 was clearly affecting dendritic spine morphology, yet no changes were seen in synaptic proteins as detected by ELISA, changes in synaptic markers were examined by immunocytochemistry to clarify the previous findings, and potentially find localized changes in synaptic marker expression that were not detected with the sensitivity of ELISA. Instead of protein treatment, these neurons were transfected with a vector to drive the expression of ADAMTS4, mutant ADAMTS4 or empty vector (Fig. 20, A, C, E). Neurons were transfected and allowed to grow for 8-11 DIV or 20-22 DIV, and following this, the neurons were fixed and immunostained for synaptophysin, SNAP-25 and PSD-95 (Fig. 20, B, D, F). Transfected neurons were visualized by their green color since the vector to drive the gene of interest contains a separate promoter to drive the expression of EGFP, and once a transfected cell was visualized, red 98

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immunostaining of synaptic proteins on EGFP-expressing transfected neurons was quantified for staining detected on the cell bodies and neurites of transfected neurons. Experimental groups were compared to empty vector alone transfects, and no changes were detected in immunostaining on cell bodies (Fig. 21, A-F), however, there was a trend toward a decrease in PSD-95 levels in the cell bodies of mature neurons (Fig. 21, F). When the immunostaining of synaptic proteins was quantified on the neurites of transfected neurons, there was a significant decrease in PSD-95 staining on the neurites of young neurons overexpressing ADAMTS4 and expressing the ADAMTS4 mutant protein (Fig. 22, E). Immunostaining of adjacent neurons was also quantified with no significant correlations to ADAMTS transfection seen (data not shown). Figure 20. Synaptic marker staining in transfected neurons. Neurons were transfected with empty vector (E), a vector to drive the expression of ADAMTS4 (C) and a vector to drive the expression of proteolytically inactive mutant ADAMTS4 protein (A), allowed to grow for various time points, fixed and immunostained for synaptophysin (B), SNAP-25 (D) and PSD-95 (E). Neurons pictured are 21 DIV. Scale = 5m. 99

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Figure 20. Synaptic marker staining in transfected neurons. 100

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Figure 21. Alterations in levels of synaptic markers on neuronal cell bodies in response to ADAMTS4. 101

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Figure 21. Alterations in levels of synaptic markers on neuronal cell bodies in response to ADAMTS4. Primary neurons transfected with a vector to drive the expression of ADAMTS4, an ADAMTS4 mutant construct, or controls transfected with empty vector, and allowed to grow to a specific young (8-11 DIV, A, C, E) or mature (20-22 DIV, B, D, F) time point after which the cells were fixed and immunostained for Synaptophysin, SNAP-25 or PSD-95. For transfected cells, the maximum optical density of immunoreactivity over a 50m 2 area of the cell body was quantified for: Synaptophysin (A-B), SNAP-25 (C-D) or PSD-95 (E-F). No significant alterations in immunostaining were observed in response to ADAMTS4 or mutant ADAMTS4 transfection. 19n64 for each group quantified. Figure 22. Alterations in immunoreactivity of synaptic markers on neurites of transfected neurons. Control, ADAMTS4 and mutant ADAMTS4-transfected neurons were grown for 8-11 DIV (A, C, E) or 20-22 DIV (B, D, F), followed by fixation and immunostaining for synaptic markers along a 20m length of the neurites of transfected cells. Optical density of synaptophysin (A-B), SNAP-25 (C-D) and PSD-95 (E-F) staining was quantified, and PSD-95 staining was significantly reduced in ADAMTS4 and mutant ADAMTS4-transfected neurons. *, significant difference from PCMS, p<0.05. 20n56 for each group quantified. 102

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Figure 22. Alterations in immunoreactivity of synaptic markers on neurites of transfected neurons. 103

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Discussion These studies present evidence to indicate that ADAMTS4 plays a role in the maturation of dendritic spines. We show that ADAMTS4 treatment of primary cultured neurons increases the proportion of immature, filopodial protrusions in comparison to the proportion of filopodia in untreated cultures. Additionally, we show that ADAMTS4 protein treatment of mature neurons converts mature stubby spines to filopodia. This effect was correlated with a decrease in PSD-95 staining, especially in the neurites of young neurons. This effect appears to be independent of the proteolytic action of ADAMTS4 in that these neurons were cultured on poly-l-lysine/laminin substrate and in addition, transfection of a vector to drive the expression of an inactive mutant ADAMTS4 resulted in a loss of PSD-95 immunoreactivity. Thus, the presence of increased levels of ADAMTS4 could play a critical role in activating a plastic response in the adult CNS, or even the loss of synapses associated with inflammation and neurodegenerative disease. The role of extracellular proteases in neural and synaptic plasticity is largely unknown, although these proteases are increasingly recognized as important mediators in the reorganization of the ECM that occurs during the plastic response after injury. There is an absence of data examining whether the ADAMTSs mediate synaptogenesis in the CNS, or whether they have a role at all in vivo. The mechanism by which ADAMTS4 reverses or inhibits the maturation of dendritic spines is currently unknown. Our studies indicate that this effect may 104

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be independent of the proteolysis since the proteolytically inactive mutant ADAMTS4 reduced levels of PSD-95 in a similar fashion to native ADAMTS4. Our laboratory has presented the first evidence to indicate that ADAMTSs may act by signaling at the cell surface to mediate cell functions. Due to this scant substantiation that ADAMTSs can act in a role other than proteases, we turn to a related family of proteases, the matrix metalloproteinases (MMP), that demonstrate that proteases can act in a signaling capacity. In fact, treatment of neural cells with MMP-1, a collagen protease, decreases levels of cAMP and activates a pertussis-toxin sensitive G protein-coupled receptor to stimulate the release of MMP-9 (Conant et al., 2002). Furthermore, MMP-1 interacts with 2 1 integrin to stimulate dephosphorylation of Akt and induce neuronal death (Conant et al., 2004). Additionally, MMP-7 was recently shown to transform mature mushroom spines to immature filopodia, an effect very similar to those presented here by ADAMTS4, and this action was independent of proteolysis by MMP-7 (Bilousova et al., 2006). Thus, it is highly likely that the ADAMTSs can act as signaling molecules, and more than proteases. The mechanism of ADAMTS4 action to inhibit the maturation of dendritic spines is unknown. If this effect is independent of proteolysis, there are many possibilities as to what the mediators may be. Our lab previously showed that ADAMTS4 treatment induces activation of extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK) 1/2 MAPK to increase neurite outgrowth, and other studies indicate that phosphorylation of ERK1/2 leads to varied effects on synapses. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) increases spine density in hippocampal CA1 105

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pyramidal neuronal cultures through activation of ERK1/2 (Alonso et al., 2004). Furthermore, treatment of mature hippocampal neurons with semaphorin3A activated ERK1/2 to reduce the staining intensity of PSD-95 and synaptophysin (Bouzioukh et al., 2006). Thus, ERK1/2 activation could potentially lead to modulations in synapses through its activation by ADAMTS4. There are several other possibilities for mediators of synaptogenesis by ADAMTS4. The ADAMTSs carry thrombospondin (TSP) type-1-like motifs and TSP itself is implicated in synaptogenesis. TSP-1 and -2, which promote synaptogenesis in vitro as well as in vivo, are expressed by immature astrocytes, but not by mature astrocytes, and the authors suggest that this temporally regulated lack of expression by mature astrocytes may explain why the adult CNS is largely unable to support synaptogenesis (Christopherson et al., 2005). Yet another possibility of the mechanism of action of ADAMTS4 is through the actions of syndecan-2, a heparan sulfate-containing PG. Interestingly, syndecan-2 induces mature dendritic spines in young neurons (Ethell and Yamaguchi, 1999; Ethell et al., 2001), and whats more, ADAMTS4 clearly binds syndecan-1 (Gao et al., 2004). It is unclear whether this binding could affect dendritic spine maturation. It may be that syndecan-1 sequesters ADAMTS4 to block its effects in potentiating the immature morphology of filopodia. Further studies are clearly needed to elucidate the role of this interaction in synaptogenesis. Regardless of the mechanism of action of ADAMTS4 in synaptogenesis, the results presented in this study implicate ADAMTS4 as an important mediator 106

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of synaptic morphology and therefore, function. If mature spines can be destabilized and reversed to an immature phenotype, this could lead to new synaptic connections or perhaps a loss of current synapses. Additionally, this effect could provide a mechanism for the loss of synapses that occurs in many inflammatory conditions where ADAMTS expression is increased. At any rate, this study presents exciting evidence to indicate that the ADAMTSs play an important role in synaptogenesis that warrants further examination. 107

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Conclusions Neural plasticity is a complex phenomenon involving cell proliferation, migration, neurite outgrowth and synaptogenesis, and while this process is paramount in the development of the immature CNS, most regions of the adult CNS exhibit limited neural plasticity in response to experience, attrition or injury. Understanding how changes in the morphology and function of neurons (and the nervous system) are activated and regulated is critical to treating injured adult brains where plasticity is often inadequate for complete reinnervation and recovery of function. Evidence is emerging to indicate the importance of the ECM, especially highly negatively charged, CS-containing, PGs, in limiting regeneration and remodeling responses of the CNS. Additionally, it might be possible to overcome these limitations of the ECM by degrading either the CS polysaccharides or by proteolytic cleavage of the core PG proteins. Our studies sought to determine how proteolytic degradation of the ECM regulates the neural plastic response, specifically neurite outgrowth and synaptogenesis. In sum, these studies have shown that astrocytes and neurons cultured in vitro expressed the PG, brevican, and in astrocytes, the amount of secreted, intact brevican holoprotein was increased by treatment with TGF, at least in part via down regulation of ADAMTS activity. Additionally, we found that astrocytes, neurons and microglia expressed ADAMTS4 that remained associated with the 108

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cell surface, and that the ADAMTSs actively cleaved brevican in neurons and astrocytes. A second series of experiments were conducted to elevate the level of ADAMTS4 in neuronal cultures which stimulated the extension of neurites from these neurons. Increasing ADAMTS4 expression in dispersed, cultured neurons from embryonic rat forebrain increased the length of primary and secondary neurites, regardless of whether the enzyme was proteolytically active. ADAMTS4 treatment induced the appearance of phosphorylated ERK1/2 and the neurite promoting effect was entirely dependent upon activation of the ERK1/2 MAPK pathway, as inhibitors of this pathway nearly completely diminished ADAMTS4-induced neurite outgrowth. In the final study, treatment with ADAMTS4 induced alterations in dendritic spine morphology, including an increase in the proportion of immature dendritic filopodia that was associated with a concomitant decrease in post-synaptic PSD-95 immunoreactivity. These results provide the original observation that ADAMTSs can influence neural plasticity and provide the foundation for further, more detailed investigation as to the mechanism of how the ADAMTS proteases affect neural plasticity. At the initiation of these experiments, before directly testing the hypothesis that ADAMTSs could alter neural plasticity, it was of interest to characterize the expression patterns of brevican and ADAMTS4, and the proteolytic processing of brevican in these neural cultures because little to nothing was known about the deposition of brevican in neural cultures. Conserved sequences near the N-terminus of brevican, aggrecan and versican are the specific sites for ADAMTS cleavage in these proteins, with alternative MMP cleavage sites with conserved 109

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sequences, located upstream in the proteins. Using these known sequences, antibodies can be generated against the neoepitope peptide that is exposed upon cleavage by the ADAMTSs, and levels of cleaved substrate may be measured using these antibodies to provide an estimate of the activity of these proteases. We used the anti-neoepitope antibody for rat brevican cleavage by the ADAMTSs, anti-EAVESE, in the experiments performed in published Paper 1. This antibody was useful in establishing that the ADAMTSs were active in cleaving brevican in our cultures (Fig. 3, middle panel) but more importantly, the measure of EAVESE as a proportion of the level of intact substrate could be used as an indirect measure of ADAMTS proteolytic activity (Fig. 6, lower panels). The above methods were utilized to determine the expression patterns of brevican and ADAMTS4 in neural cultures so that these cultures could eventually be used to test our hypothesis. Brevican and its N-terminal cleavage fragment were detected in the medium of astrocytes and neurons, and several isoforms of intact brevican were found associated with the cell lysate fraction in these cultures (Fig. 3, upper panel). No brevican expression was detected in the cell lysate or medium of microglial cultures (Fig. 3, upper panel). The N-terminal cleavage fragment of brevican was detected in the medium of neurons and astrocytes, and not in the cell lysate (Fig. 3, upper and middle panels). The N-terminus of brevican contains a hyaluronan-binding domain and many studies exist to show that the lecticans bind to hyaluronan at the N-terminus and tenascin at the C-terminus to form a matrix lattice (Yamaguchi, 2000; Bruckner et al., 110

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2003). Since the N-terminal cleavage fragment of ADAMTS4 was detected in the medium and not cell lysate, it suggests that hyaluronan is not participating in any matrix formation in these cultures. Brain link proteins (Bral) stabilize the interactions between hyaluronan and the lecticans (Oohashi et al., 2002; Bekku et al., 2003), and perhaps these proteins are not present or present in insufficient concentration to properly stabilize binding. The expression patterns for link proteins in vitro are currently unknown. The presence of ADAMTS4-cleaved brevican indicated that these proteases were present and active in astrocytes and neurons, and ADAMTS4 was detected in the cell lysate fraction of microglia, neurons and astrocytes (Fig. 3, lower panel). ADAMTS4 is produced with an N-terminal pro-domain that undergoes furin-mediated removal in the trans-Golgi network followed by secretion as a 68kD protein that is processed C-terminally to yield 53kD and 40kD products (Flannery et al., 2002; Wang et al., 2004). The 53kD form was detected in the cell lysate of astrocytes and neurons, and several forms were found in the cell lysate of microglia, all of which coordinated with the bands detected for human recombinant ADAMTS4 (Fig. 3, lower panel). ADAMTSs are well established as proteases that bind pericellular region in many cell types in vitro, and accordingly, ADAMTS4 was not detected in the medium of any of the cultures examined (Kuno and Matsushima, 1998; Gao et al., 2004). We established that astrocytes produced a brevican-rich matrix, and we next attempted to modulate this matrix with cytokines and other factors. Several studies show increased PG deposition including aggrecan, neurocan and 111

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versican in response to TGF in several cell and tissue types (Bassols and Massague, 1988; Asher et al., 2000; Stokes et al., 2001). Other studies examining alterations in levels of ADAMTSs resulting from TGF treatment are not as clear and appear to be selective to the protease examined. Others show that TGF decreased ADAMTS1 levels, while increasing ADAMTS4 levels, although the ADAMTS4 study also revealed increased TIMP activity in accordance with increased ADAMTS4 (Cross et al., 2005; Ng et al., 2006). We found that TGF increased full-length brevican in the medium of astrocyte cultures through the inhibition of ADAMTS activity (Figs. 4, 7). Our lab recently found that lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced ADAMTS4 protein in vitro (unpublished findings), and LPS is known to stimulate the secretion of ADAMTS1 (Kuno et al., 1997), indicating that ADAMTS4 may be a protease associated with inflammatory responses. Since TGF is classically a cytokine that correlates with reduced inflammation, it is logical to find that TGF would reduce the activity of a protease potentiating the inflammatory response. With characterization studies completed, the next series of experiments tested the hypothesis that increased cleavage of brevican by ADAMTSs results in altered neural plasticity. The astrocyte culture, rich in a brevican ECM, was utilized as a growth substrate for neurons to more closely imitate the inhibitory in vitro conditions afforded by ECM PGs. PGs are well-known inhibitors of neurite outgrowth, an effect that is dependent upon both the core protein and CS chains contained therein (Silver and Miller, 2004; Carulli et al., 2005). 112

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Mounting evidence indicates that modifications of CS-containing PGs within the ECM can lead to physiologically relevant changes in the CNS. The large number of studies of chondroitinase treatment indicate that removal of CS chains activate plasticity. Modulation of CS-containing PGs activate plastic responses in the CNS, and chondroitinase treatment to remove the CS chains from PGs allowed for axonal penetration of a glial scar that was produced in response to injury (Moon et al., 2001). Additionally, chondroitinase treatment resulted in reactivation of plasticity in visual cortex after the critical period in rats undergoing monocular deprivation (Pizzorusso et al., 2006). The mechanism of inhibition by the core protein is still unclear, however, our lab and others have postulated that the interactions of CS-containing PGs of the lectican family with hyaluronan and tenascin, other ECM components, create a meshwork of ECM that is difficult for cells and neurites to penetrate, and that proteolytic degradation of the core protein may loosen these associations and afford increased plasticity (Yamaguchi, 2000); Fig.8, A, B). There is evidence to demonstrate that proteolysis of the ECM is critical to activate the plastic response. Increased protease expression occurs during regeneration, neuronal sprouting and synaptogenesis, and even more compelling, blocking proteolysis of the ECM impedes neural plasticity (Szklarczyk et al., 2002; Yuan et al., 2002; Reeves et al., 2003; Kim et al., 2005; Mayer et al., 2005). We attempted to test the hypothesis that increased proteolysis of CS-containing PGs by ADAMTSs could alter synaptic plasticity. To accomplish this, neurons were transfected with a vector to drive the expression of ADAMTS4, or empty vector as a control, and 113

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applied to a monolayer of astrocytes to provide an inhibitory PG-rich matrix for which the neurons to extend neurites. Initially, the experimental data supported this notion, and consistent with our hypothesis, neurons overexpressing ADAMTS4 extended longer neurites as compared to empty vector transfects (Fig. 9, E). The increased length of neurites was initially attributed to escalated cleavage of PGs by ADAMTS4, however our next experiments suggested that proteolysis of ECM proteins by the ADAMTSs may not be important in the increases seen in neurite outgrowth. To test this, we performed the experiment again but plated these transfected neurons on a permissive poly-l-lysine/laminin substrate where the increased expression of ADAMTS4 would not have abundant substrate produced by astrocytes to cleave, and interestingly, the same results were obtained (Fig. 10, E). Neurons over-expressing ADAMTS4 extended longer neurites, regardless of whether they were plated on an astrocyte monolayer secreting inhibitory CS-containing PGs or permissive poly-l-lysine/laminin substrate (Figs. 9-10). This was certainly surprising and indicated that the mechanism proposed in our hypothesis was not supported. We next reformulated our hypothesis to presume that ADAMTS4 could exert biological effects in the absence of its proteolytic capacity. Although there was no evidence to show that ADAMTSs could act in a non-proteolytic fashion, there were studies indicating that MMPs, a family of related proteases, could transduce cell signals in the absence of proteolytic activity. For example, MMP-1 interacts with integrin receptors to stimulate dephosphorylation of Akt and induce apoptosis (Conant et al., 2004), and perhaps ADAMTSs could act in a similar fashion. To more 114

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directly test the notion that ADAMTS4 increases neurite length in the absence of proteolysis of CS-containing PGs, we repeated the previous experiment with an added parameter: a vector to drive the expression of proteolytically inactive, mutant ADAMTS4 protein (Gao et al., 2004), and plated these neurons on poly-l-lysine/laminin substrate. Surprisingly, mutant ADAMTS4 significantly increased neurite outgrowth in a manner similar to native human ADAMTS4-transfects (Fig. 11, G), suggesting the possibility that ADAMTS4 was binding to a cell surface receptor to induce intracellular signals that resulted in longer neurite lengths. Interestingly, the thrombospondin motif and spacer region contained within ADAMTS family members mediate substrate binding (Kuno and Matsushima, 1998; Kashiwagi et al., 2004), and perhaps this interaction may be the means through which ADAMTS4 is binding to an unknown cell surface receptor to activate signaling. Given the domains of ADAMTS4 and the binding patterns of proteins with similar domains, there are many cell surface receptors that ADAMTS4 could bind to transduce cell signals to stimulate neurite outgrowth. ADAMTS4 contains TSP motifs, and TSP itself induces neurite outgrowth through the activation of integrins (Neugebauer et al., 1991; DeFreitas et al., 1995), which are well-known cell surface signal transducers. Interestingly, this effect could be blocked by heparin, indicating that the binding may be mediated by a PG containing heparan sulfate or a sulfated glycolipid (Neugebauer et al., 1991). Clearly TSP increases neurite outgrowth, but can a TSP motif act in a similar way? Studies with the protein SCO-spondin, with 26 TSP repeats, indicate that this is the case. This 115

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protein increases neurite outgrowth in a variety of neurons and neuron-like cells, and this action is mediated by the interaction of a sequence in the TSP motif, WSGWSSCSRSCG, with 1 1 integrin (Monnerie et al., 1998; Gobron et al., 2000; El-Bitar et al., 2001; Bamdad et al., 2004). Thus, perhaps the TSP motifs of ADAMTS4 could act similarly to activate integrin signaling to increase neurite outgrowth. We attempted preliminary experiments with integrin antibodies to block integrin ligands and signal transduction to determine if this could attenuate ADAMTS4-mediated increases in neurite outgrowth, and encountered difficulties when basal neurite outgrowth was inhibited (data not shown). Thus, it may be difficult with this type of experiment to determine which integrins, if any, play a role in signaling via the ADAMTSs to increase neurite outgrowth if these integrins are essential for normal neurite outgrowth. Interactions of ADAMTS4 with other moieties may be the means through which this protease is stimulating cell signaling. The ADAMTSs bind ECM components like heparan sulfate (HS) and CS, and in fact, this association is important for substrate binding and cleavage (Tortorella et al., 2000; Flannery et al., 2002; Kashiwagi et al., 2004). ADAMTS4 binds the HS of syndecan-1, but it is unknown whether this binding is necessary to induce cell signals (Gao et al., 2004). Neurocan, typically inhibitory to neurite outgrowth, when bound to HSPGs, promotes neurite outgrowth, although it is unknown whether this interaction is a sequestering phenomena or whether signals are induced through the interaction between neurocan and HSPGs (Akita et al., 2004). Heparin-binding growth associated molecule (HB-GAM) binds syndecan-3 to increase 116

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neurite outgrowth, an association that is mediated by the heparan sulfate chains of syndecan-3 (Raulo et al., 1994; Kinnunen et al., 1996). Furthermore, syndecans play important roles during development to promote neuronal cell migration (Toba et al., 2002). Thus, it is plausible that ADAMTS4 could be interacting with syndecan HS to promote neurite outgrowth. We next attempted to elucidate the cell signals induced by ADAMTS4 to examine whether the intracellular signaling pathways known to be involved in ligand-induced neurite plasticity were also stimulated by the action of the ADAMTSs. Human recombinant ADAMTS4 was added to the culture medium of neurons growing on poly-l-lysine/laminin substrate, and the cell lysate collected at 20, 40 and 60 minutes after addition to determine the levels of various signals that were induced by ADAMTS4 treatment (Figs. 13, 14). Analysis of alterations in general protein phosphotyrosine levels revealed changes in several proteins (Fig. 13, A-F), and analyses with antibodies specific to phospho-ERK1/2 revealed that there were increases in activated, phospho-ERK1/2 MAPK in neuronal cultures treated with human recombinant ADAMTS4 compared to vehicle-treated controls (Fig. 14, A-D). It is important to note, however, that the human recombinant enzyme preparations utilized in these studies were purified at Roche Biosciences, and while these proteases are presumed to be pure, the exact protein character of the prerarations is unknown, and the possibility that the effects detected in response to ADAMTS treatment are due to a contaminating substance cannot yet be eliminated. Further studies are necessary to fully investigate this possibility. More importantly, blockade of the MAPK pathway 117

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attenuated the ADAMTS-mediated increases in neurite outgrowth (Fig. 15, A-C), suggesting a vital role for the ERK MAPK pathway in ADAMTS-induced neurite outgrowth. Activation of the MAPK pathway is important in inducing neurite outgrowth in a variety of neuronal-like cell types such as neuroblastoma cells, NG108-15 cells and hippocampal neurons (Schmid et al., 2000; Gerecke et al., 2004; Gu et al., 2005), but can interactions with syndecans or integrins, (as proposed cell surface receptors for ADAMTS4) stimulate the MAPK pathway to modulate neurite outgrowth? The 1 integrin subunit binds protein tyrosine phosphatase (PRL-3) to activate ERK1/2 and increase neurite outgrowth (Peng et al., 2006). Additionally, connective tissue growth factor (CCN-2), which like ADAMTS4, possesses a thrombospondin type-1 motif, binds syndecan-2 to activate ERK1/2 signaling (Chen et al., 2004), so ADAMTS4 could interact with syndecans or integrins to stimulate ERK1/2 signaling. Furthermore, interactions of ADAMTS4 with PGs may even mediate this effect. Basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-2 binds HS on the PG agrin to activate ERK1/2 signaling and alter neurite outgrowth in PC-12 cells (Kim et al., 2003), although this may be an HS selective event. ADAMTS4 could orient FGF-2 binding to HS on agrin, however, agrin expression is low in the CNS relative to the PNS, so this may be unlikely or could occur via another PG that contains HS in the CNS. The cell surface receptor activated by binding ADAMTS4 is currently unknown, and at this point, our research only allows for speculation, so further studies are needed to determine the identity of this receptor. 118

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Since ADAMTS4 increases neurite outgrowth, it clearly was of interest as to whether the ADAMTSs may influence other parameters of morphological neural plasticity, such as synapse-associated plasticity. It is largely unknown what role ECM proteases play in synaptogenesis and synaptic reorganization, although indirect evidence indicates that these proteases may be important in this capacity since ADAMTSs are increased during periods of synaptic restructuring in the adult nervous system (Yuan et al., 2002; Mayer et al., 2005). Alterations in the morphology of dendritic spines are correlated with functional and structural changes at the post-synaptic density and more generally, can influence behavior (Engert and Bonhoeffer, 1999). Thus, to analyze alterations in dendritic spine morphology in response to ADAMTS4, neuronal cultures were treated with 50nM human recombinant ADAMTS4 for 2-3 days, the neurons were fixed with 4% paraformaldehyde and immunostained for actin, a protein whose polymerized filaments are abundant and concentrated in dendritic spines. Dendritic spines were visualized by confocal microscopy, counted in segments of 10m, and protrusion length and the diameters of the neck and head of the protrusion were measured. Significant increases in the overall lengths of dendritic protrusions were detected in response to ADAMTS4 treatment (Fig. 16, D). Increased protrusion length is an indication of immaturity, and to further investigate the possibility that ADAMTS4 was inhibiting the maturation of dendritic spines, specific morphological types of spines were examined. Dendritic spines may begin as filopodia that are seeking a synaptic contact, and these may disappear or mature into a dendritic spine, which may be subdivided 119

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into several morphological types: thin, mushroom and stubby, with thin being the most immature of the three, and stubby being the most mature and stable (Ziv and Smith, 1996; Fiala et al., 1998; Harris, 1999). ADAMTS4 treatment resulted in increased percentage of filopodia, in both young and mature cultures (Fig. 17), indicating that ADAMTS4 may be important in preventing the maturation of synapses or in inducing the formation of new filopodia. This increase in filopodia was accompanied by decreases in PSD-95 immunoreactivity in the post-synaptic density of neurites of neurons transfected with native or mutant ADAMTS4 (Fig. 22, E). Since these neurons were grown on permissive poly-l-lysine/laminin substrate and since the mutant ADAMTS4 construct yielded similar results, it is likely that the effects seen on synaptogenesis with ADAMTS4 treatment is independent of proteolysis, however, further studies are needed to determine whether this is the case or not. Regardless of how ADAMTS4 is acting to alter synaptic maturation, the results presented in paper 3 implicate ADAMTS4 as an important mediator of synaptic morphology and therefore, function. These actions of ADAMTS4 may have wide-range consequences, for instance, if mature spines can be destabilized and reversed to an immature phenotype, this could lead to new synaptic connections or perhaps a loss of current synapses. Additionally, this effect could provide a mechanism for the loss of synapses that occurs in many inflammatory conditions where ADAMTS expression is increased. At any rate, the effect of ADAMTS4 in altering synaptogenesis is clearly novel and potentially significant. Further studies are required to determine how 120

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ADAMTS4 is acting in the exquisite regulation of synapse formation and maintenance. As with increases in neurite outgrowth, it is possible that the effects of ADAMTS4 on synapse morphology and function are mediated by the integrins. Integrins mediate effects on synaptic maturation, LTP, and NMDA receptor responses (Chavis and Westbrook, 2001; Chan et al., 2003; Lin et al., 2003; Bernard-Trifilo et al., 2005). Even more interesting, hippocampal neurons treated with an RGD-containing peptide to activate integrins exhibit increased spine length and increased numbers of filopodia, similar to the results of the studies in Paper 3 (Shi and Ethell, 2006). Alternatively, a syndecan family member could play a role in mediating this effect, since syndecan-2 has been shown to be a key regulator of dendritic spine formation. Induction of syndecan-2 expression in immature hippocampal neurons resulted in clustering of syndecan-2 and the formation of mature dendritic spines (Ethell and Yamaguchi, 1999). This effect was regulated by EphB2 receptor tyrosine kinase, which phosphorylates syndecan-2 (Ethell et al., 2001). Again, since ADAMTS4 may be able to bind and/or activate integrin receptors or syndecan HSPGs, these associations may play a role in dendritic spine formation. This manuscript provides evidence that ADAMTS4 increases neurite lengths and prevents maturation of dendritic spines, however, it is currently unknown how the secretion of ADAMTSs in vivo affects neural plasticity, and whether or not ADAMTSs are critical for neurite outgrowth and synaptogenesis. ADAMTS4 is secreted by astrocytes, neurons and microglia, and these cells 121

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could potentially alter neural plasticity through the production of ADAMTS4 or other ADAMTSs (Fig. 23). While it is clear that ADAMTS4 is secreted and binds the cell surface, the cellular origin of such ADAMTS4 protein is unknown, and could potentially be secreted from neurons at the dendrite and/or axon to alter neurite outgrowth (A). Furthermore, since astrocytes and microglia express ADAMTS4, the role of these cells in ADAMTS-mediated neurite outgrowth is possible and cannot be ignored (B, C). In addition to neurite outgrowth, dendritic spine maturation could be altered by secretion of ADAMTS4 from neurons (D), astrocytes (G) or microglia (H). Furthermore, ADAMTSs may exert effects on other CNS processes like astrocyte reactivity and microglial migration and invasion where a remodeling of the CNS is necessary for these processes to occur (E, F). Although we provide evidence to indicate that the ADAMTSs mediate neural plasticity in a non-proteolytic manner, there may be a balance between the proteolytic and non-proteolytic actions of ADAMTS4 in regulating neural plastic processes. 122

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Figure. 23: ADAMTS4 mediates neural plasticity. Neurons, astrocytes and microglia secrete ADAMTS4 and potentially mediate neurite outgrowth and synaptogenesis in vivo (A-D, G, H). Furthermore, secretion of ADAMTS4 by astrocytes and microglia may play a role in astrocyte reactivity (E) and microglial migration and invasion (F). 123

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In sum, the studies presented here provide evidence that ADAMTS4 can modulate neural plasticity in a non-proteolytic-dependent manner. These are the very first studies to indicate that ADAMTSs can act in a capacity other than a protease, and even more exciting, that they modulate neurite outgrowth and synaptogenesis. Further studies are needed to elucidate the exact function of ADAMTS4 in these processes, and there is still much work to be done to identify the cell surface receptor and the entire signal cascade that remains obscured between ADAMTS4 addition and alterations detected in neurite outgrowth and synaptogenesis. Once elucidated, perhaps the ADAMTSs can be utilized as therapeutic targets in patients with traumatic brain or spinal cord injury where the formation of a glial scar in response to the injury results in an inhibitory environment that hampers plasticity and complete recovery of the CNS. This resistance to plasticity in the adult brain perhaps could be altered with ADAMTS4 treatment. Of course, there is a great deal of work to be done to understand the exquisite regulation between protecting established synapses and forming new ones. In a brain that is injured, the outgrowth of neurites and filopodia could provide a means for new synaptic contacts and recapture of function, but of course, it is paramount to regulate this process to prevent the formation of aberrant connections. Furthermore, if ADAMTS4 induces the reversal of mature contacts, this could result in the loss of function and memories, and be very destructive, so it will be extremely exciting to research this area further to determine the exact roles for the ADAMTSs in neural plasticity and in treatment of the damaged CNS. Overall, these studies provide compelling evidence that 124

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ADAMTS4 acts in a non-proteolytic manner to increase neurite outgrowth and prevent synapse maturation in vitro. These are the first experiments to implicate the importance of ADAMTS4 in neural plasticity, and even more surprising, that these effects are mediated by cell signaling rather than proteolysis. 125

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137 About the Author Michelle G Hamel received her Bachel or of Science degree in biology from the University of South Florida in 2002 and her Masters degree in medical sciences in 2004 from the University of South Florida. Michelle has worked under the guidance of Dr. Paul Gottschall studying the effects of extracellular matrix proteases on neural plastici ty. She received an American Heart Association pre-doctoral fellowship, a tw o-year research grant, to aid in her studies.


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1 100
Hamel, Michelle Grace.
0 245
Modulation of neural plasticity by the ADAMTSs (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs)
h [electronic resource] /
by Michelle Grace Hamel.
260
[Tampa, Fla] :
b University of South Florida,
2006.
3 520
ABSTRACT: Aggregating proteoglycans (PG) bearing chondroitin sulfate (CS) side chains are well-known inhibitors of neural plasticity and associate with hyaluronan and tenascin-R to form a complex of extracellular matrix (ECM) in the central nervous system (CNS). Little is known about whether proteolytic cleavage of the core protein affects neural plasticity. Several members of the ADAMTS (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs) family of metalloproteinases are glutamyl-endopeptidases that cleave aggregating PGs. Our initial studies determined that neural cultures secrete a brevican-containing matrix, and that these neural cultures also produced ADAMTS4, a protease that cleaves brevican. Furthermore, this brevican-containing matrix in astrocytes could be modulated by treatment with transforming growth factor beta (TGFbeta) through the inhibition of the activity of the ADAMTSs.Once it was established that neural cultures produce a brevican-rich matrix, we s ought to utilize this matrix to determine whether cleavage of aggregating PGs, especially brevican, by the ADAMTSs influences neurite outgrowth in cultured neurons. Transfection of rat neurons with ADAMTS4 cDNA induced longer neurites, and interestingly, this effect proved to be independent of the proteolytic action of the ADAMTSs. Addition of recombinant ADAMTS4 or ADAMTS5 protein to immature neuronal cultures similarly enhanced neurite extension, an action dependent on the activation of extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK)1/2 (MAP kinase 42/44), resulting in the first evidence that ADAMTSs may induce intracellular signaling events. Studies of dendritic spine morphology and levels of synaptic proteins in response to ADAMTS4 treatment were also undertaken. Neuronal cultures treated with ADAMTS4 showed increased length of dendritic spines and increased percent of immature spines detected. A concurrent decrease in post-synaptic protein staining was detected on the neurites of yo ung neurons overexpressing ADAMTS4 or expressing proteolytically-inactive mutant ADAMTS4 protein. Thus, ADAMTS4 may promote plasticity in neurons in vitro by preventing the formation, maturation, and/or stabilization of synapses. Overall, these experiments provide evidence that implicate the ADAMTSs as mediators of neural plasticity, and while primarily known only as proteases, these studies demonstrate that the ADAMTSs exert actions distinct from these proteolytic properties that require the induction of intracellular signaling events.
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Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2006.
504
Includes bibliographical references.
516
Text (Electronic dissertation) in PDF format.
538
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
500
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 137 pages.
Includes vita.
590
Adviser: Paul E. Gottschall, Ph.D.
653
Neurite outgrowth.
Dendritic spine.
Proteoglycan.
Extracellular matrix.
Protease.
690
Dissertations, Academic
z USF
x Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology
Doctoral.
773
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
4 856
u http://digital.lib.usf.edu/?e14.1684