Grant Philip

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  • Article
    The homeodomain transcription factor Phox2 in the stellate ganglion of the squid Loligo pealei
    (The Company of Biologists, 2015-06-26) Burbach, J. Peter H. ; Hellemons, Anita J. C. G. M. ; Grant, Philip ; Pant, Harish C.
    Homeodomain transcription factors regulate development of embryos and cellular physiology in adult systems. Paired-type homeodomain genes constitute a subclass that has been particularly implicated in establishment of neuronal identity in the mammalian nervous system. We isolated fragments of eight homeodomain genes of this subclass expressed in the stellate ganglion of the North Atlantic long finned squid Loligo pealei (lp) [Note: Loligo pealei has been officially renamed Doryteuthis pealei. For reasons of uniformity and clarity Loligo pealei (lp) is used here]. Of the most abundant ones, we cloned a full length cDNA which encoded the squid ortholog of the paired-type homeodomain proteins Phox2a/b. The homology of lpPhox2 to invertebrate and mammalian Phox2 was limited to the homeodomain. In contrast to mouse Phox2b, lpPhox2 was unable to transactivate the dopamine beta-hydroxylase (DBH) promoter in a heterologous mammalian transfection system. In vivo, lpPhox2 was expressed in the developing stellate ganglion of stage 27 squid embryos and continued to be expressed in the adult stellate neurons where expression was confined to the giant fiber lobe containing the neurons that form the giant axons. The expression of lpPhox was similarly timed and distributed as the Fmrf gene. Furthermore, the Fmrf upstream region contained putative Phox2a/b binding sites. These results suggest a role of lpPhox2 in the developmental specification of neuronal identity and regulation of neurons of the squid giant axon.
  • Article
    Squid (Loligo pealei) giant fiber system : a model for studying neurodegeneration and dementia?
    (Marine Biological Laboratory, 2006-06) Grant, Philip ; Zheng, Yali ; Pant, Harish C.
    In many neurodegenerative disorders that lead to memory loss and dementia, the brain pathology responsible for neuronal loss is marked by accumulations of proteins in the form of extracellular plaques and intracellular filamentous tangles, containing hyperphosphorylated cytoskeletal proteins. These are assumed to arise as a consequence of deregulation of a normal pattern of topographic phosphorylation—that is, an abnormal shift of cytoskeletal protein phosphorylation from the normal axonal compartment to cell bodies. Although decades of studies have been directed to this problem, biochemical approaches in mammalian systems are limited: neurons are too small to permit separation of cell body and axon compartments. Since the pioneering studies of Hodgkin and Huxley on the giant fiber system of the squid, however, the stellate ganglion and its giant axons have been the focus of a large literature on the physiology and biochemistry of neuron function. This review concentrates on a host of studies in our laboratory and others on the factors regulating compartment-specific patterns of cytoskeletal protein phosphorylation (primarily neurofilaments) in an effort to establish a normal baseline of information for further studies on neurodegeneration. On the basis of these data, a model of topographic regulation is proposed that offers several possibilities for further studies on potential sites of deregulation that may lead to pathologies resembling those seen in mammalian and human brains showing neurodegeneration, dementia, and neuronal cell death.