A targeted glycan-related gene screen reveals heparan sulfate proteoglycan sulfation regulates WNT and BMP trans-synaptic signaling

PLoS Genet. 2012;8(11):e1003031. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003031. Epub 2012 Nov 8.

Abstract

A Drosophila transgenic RNAi screen targeting the glycan genome, including all N/O/GAG-glycan biosynthesis/modification enzymes and glycan-binding lectins, was conducted to discover novel glycan functions in synaptogenesis. As proof-of-product, we characterized functionally paired heparan sulfate (HS) 6-O-sulfotransferase (hs6st) and sulfatase (sulf1), which bidirectionally control HS proteoglycan (HSPG) sulfation. RNAi knockdown of hs6st and sulf1 causes opposite effects on functional synapse development, with decreased (hs6st) and increased (sulf1) neurotransmission strength confirmed in null mutants. HSPG co-receptors for WNT and BMP intercellular signaling, Dally-like Protein and Syndecan, are differentially misregulated in the synaptomatrix of these mutants. Consistently, hs6st and sulf1 nulls differentially elevate both WNT (Wingless; Wg) and BMP (Glass Bottom Boat; Gbb) ligand abundance in the synaptomatrix. Anterograde Wg signaling via Wg receptor dFrizzled2 C-terminus nuclear import and retrograde Gbb signaling via synaptic MAD phosphorylation and nuclear import are differentially activated in hs6st and sulf1 mutants. Consequently, transcriptional control of presynaptic glutamate release machinery and postsynaptic glutamate receptors is bidirectionally altered in hs6st and sulf1 mutants, explaining the bidirectional change in synaptic functional strength. Genetic correction of the altered WNT/BMP signaling restores normal synaptic development in both mutant conditions, proving that altered trans-synaptic signaling causes functional differentiation defects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / enzymology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / growth & development
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Heparitin Sulfate / metabolism
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sulfatases / genetics*
  • Sulfotransferases / genetics*
  • Synapses* / enzymology
  • Synapses* / genetics
  • Synapses* / pathology
  • Synaptic Transmission / genetics
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway*

Substances

  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Polysaccharides
  • Proteoglycans
  • Heparitin Sulfate
  • Sulfotransferases
  • heparan sulfate 6-O-sulfotransferase
  • SULF1 protein, Drosophila
  • Sulfatases