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Expression of PROKR1 and PROKR2 in Human Enteric Neural Precursor Cells and Identification of Sequence Variants Suggest a Role in HSCR

AuthorsRuiz-Ferrer, Macarena; Torroglosa, Ana; Núñez-Torres, Rocío; Agustín, Juan Carlos de; Antiñolo, Guillermo ; Borrego, Salud
Issue Date12-Aug-2011
PublisherPublic Library of Science
CitationPLoS ONE 6(8): e23475 (2011)
AbstractBackground The enteric nervous system (ENS) is entirely derived from neural crest and its normal development is regulated by specific molecular pathways. Failure in complete ENS formation results in aganglionic gut conditions such as Hirschsprung's disease (HSCR). Recently, PROKR1 expression has been demonstrated in mouse enteric neural crest derived cells and Prok-1 was shown to work coordinately with GDNF in the development of the ENS. Principal Findings In the present report, ENS progenitors were isolated and characterized from the ganglionic gut from children diagnosed with and without HSCR, and the expression of prokineticin receptors was examined. Immunocytochemical analysis of neurosphere-forming cells demonstrated that both PROKR1 and PROKR2 were present in human enteric neural crest cells. In addition, we also performed a mutational analysis of PROKR1, PROKR2, PROK1 and PROK2 genes in a cohort of HSCR patients, evaluating them for the first time as susceptibility genes for the disease. Several missense variants were detected, most of them affecting highly conserved amino acid residues of the protein and located in functional domains of both receptors, which suggests a possible deleterious effect in their biological function. Conclusions Our results suggest that not only PROKR1, but also PROKR2 might mediate a complementary signalling to the RET/GFRα1/GDNF pathway supporting proliferation/survival and differentiation of precursor cells during ENS development. These findings, together with the detection of sequence variants in PROKR1, PROK1 and PROKR2 genes associated to HSCR and, in some cases in combination with RET or GDNF mutations, provide the first evidence to consider them as susceptibility genes for HSCR.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0023475
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