Netrin requires focal adhesion kinase and Src family kinases for axon outgrowth and attraction.
ABSTRACT: Although netrins are an important family of neuronal guidance proteins, intracellular mechanisms that mediate netrin function are not well understood. Here we show that netrin-1 induces tyrosine phosphorylation of proteins including focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and the Src family kinase Fyn. Blockers of Src family kinases inhibited FAK phosphorylation and axon outgrowth and attraction by netrin. Dominant-negative FAK and Fyn mutants inhibited the attractive turning response to netrin. Axon outgrowth and attraction induced by netrin-1 were significantly reduced in neurons lacking the FAK gene. Our results show the biochemical and functional links between netrin, a prototypical neuronal guidance cue, and FAK, a central player in intracellular signaling that is crucial for cell migration.
Project description:Netrins are prototypical axon guidance cues whose attractive signaling requires the small GTPase Rac1. It remains unclear how Rac1 is regulated in the netrin pathway. DOCK180 is a member of a new family of guanine nucleotide exchange factors for Rho GTPases. Here we provide evidence implicating DOCK180 in netrin signal transduction. Netrin promoted the formation of a protein-protein interaction complex that included DOCK180 and the netrin receptor deleted in colorectal carcinoma (DCC). Inhibition of DOCK180 reduced activation of Rac1 by netrin. Both axon outgrowth and axon attraction induced by netrin were inhibited after DOCK180 knockdown in vertebrate neurons. The in vivo functional role of DOCK180 was demonstrated by its requirement for projection of commissural axons in the neural tube. These findings indicate that netrin stimulation recruits DOCK180 through DCC, which then activates small GTPases, suggesting an essential role for DOCK180 in mediating attractive responses by neurons to netrin-1.
Project description:The mechanism by which extracellular cues influence intracellular biochemical cascades that guide axons is important, yet poorly understood. Because of the mechanical nature of axon extension, we explored whether the physical interactions of growth cones with their guidance cues might be involved. In the context of mouse spinal commissural neuron axon attraction to netrin-1, we found that mechanical attachment of netrin-1 to the substrate was required for axon outgrowth, growth cone expansion, axon attraction and phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and Crk-associated substrate (CAS). Myosin II activity was necessary for traction forces >30 pN on netrin-1. Interestingly, while these myosin II-dependent forces on netrin-1 substrates or beads were needed to increase the kinase activity and phosphorylation of FAK, they were not necessary for netrin-1 to increase CAS phosphorylation. When FAK kinase activity was inhibited, the growth cone's ability to recruit additional adhesions and to generate forces >60 pN on netrin-1 was disrupted. Together, these findings demonstrate an important role for mechanotransduction during chemoattraction to netrin-1 and that mechanical activation of FAK reinforces interactions with netrin-1 allowing greater forces to be exerted.
Project description:The receptor deleted in colorectal cancer (DCC) mediates the attraction of growing axons to netrin-1 during brain development. In response to netrin-1 stimulation, DCC becomes a signaling platform to recruit proteins that promote axon outgrowth and guidance. The Ras GTPase-activating protein (GAP) p120RasGAP inhibits Ras activity and mediates neurite retraction and growth cone collapse in response to repulsive guidance cues. Here we show an interaction between p120RasGAP and DCC that positively regulates netrin-1-mediated axon outgrowth and guidance in embryonic cortical neurons. In response to netrin-1, p120RasGAP is recruited to DCC in growth cones and forms a multiprotein complex with focal adhesion kinase and ERK. We found that Ras/ERK activities are elevated aberrantly in p120RasGAP-deficient neurons. Moreover, the expression of p120RasGAP Src homology 2 (SH2)-SH3-SH2 domains, which interact with the C-terminal tail of DCC, is sufficient to restore netrin-1-dependent axon outgrowth in p120RasGAP-deficient neurons. We provide a novel mechanism that exploits the scaffolding properties of the N terminus of p120RasGAP to tightly regulate netrin-1/DCC-dependent axon outgrowth and guidance.
Project description:Pre-natal alcohol exposure causes fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), the most common, preventable cause of developmental disability. The developing cerebellum is particularly vulnerable to the effects of ethanol. We reported that ethanol inhibits the stimulation of axon outgrowth in cerebellar granule neurons (CGN) by NAP, an active motif of activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP), by blocking NAP activation of Fyn kinase and its downstream signaling molecule, the scaffolding protein Cas. Here, we asked whether ethanol inhibits the stimulation of axon outgrowth by diverse axon guidance molecules through a common action on the Src family kinases (SFK). We first demonstrated that netrin-1, glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), and neural cell adhesion molecule L1 stimulate axon outgrowth in CGNs by activating SFK, Cas, and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1 and 2 (ERK1/2). The specific SFK inhibitor, PP2, blocked the stimulation of axon outgrowth and the activation of the SFK-Cas-ERK1/2 signaling pathway by each of these axon-guidance molecules. In contrast, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) stimulated axon outgrowth and activated ERK1/2 without first activating SFK or Cas. Clinically relevant concentrations of ethanol inhibited axon outgrowth and the activation of the SFK-Cas-ERK1/2 pathway by netrin-1, GDNF, and L1, but did not disrupt BDNF-induced axon outgrowth or ERK1/2 activation. These results indicate that SFK, but not ERK1/2, is a primary target for ethanol inhibition of axon outgrowth. The ability of ethanol to block the convergent activation of the SFK-Cas-ERK1/2 pathway by netrin-1, GDNF, L1, and ADNP could contribute significantly to the pathogenesis of FASD.
Project description:Netrins, a family of secreted molecules, have critical functions in axon guidance and cell migration during neuronal development. In addition to its role as a chemotropic molecule, netrin-1 also acts as a survival factor. Both UNC5 (that is, UNC5A, UNC5B, UNC5C or UNC5D) and DCC are transmembrane receptors for netrin-1 (Refs 8, 9). In the absence of netrin-1, DCC and UNC5 act as dependence receptors and trigger apoptosis. However, how netrin-1 suppresses the apoptotic activity of the receptors remains elusive. Here we show that netrin-1 induces interaction of UNC5B with the brain-specific GTPase PIKE-L. This interaction triggers the activation of PtdIns-3-OH kinase signalling, prevents UNC5B's pro-apoptotic activity and enhances neuronal survival. Moreover, this process relies strongly on Fyn because PIKE-L is tyrosine phosphorylated in response to netrin-1, and the netrin-1-mediated interaction of UNC5B with PIKE-L is inhibited in Fyn-null mice. Thus, PIKE-L acts as a downstream survival effector for netrin-1 through UNC5B in the nervous system.
Project description:Down syndrome cell adhesion molecule (DSCAM) is required for axon guidance and dendrite arborization. How DSCAM functions in vertebrates is not well understood. Here we show that DSCAM is expressed on commissural axons and interacts with Netrin-1, a prototypical guidance cue for commissural axons. The knockdown of DSCAM by specific siRNA or blockage of DSCAM signaling by overexpression of a mutant lacking its intracellular domain inhibits netrin-induced axon outgrowth and commissural axon turning in vitro. SiRNA-mediated knockdown of DSCAM in ovo causes defects in commissural axon projection and pathfinding. In transfected cells, DSCAM by itself, in the absence of DCC, is capable of mediating netrin signaling in activating phosphorylation of Fyn and Pak1. These findings demonstrate an essential role of vertebrate DSCAM in axon guidance, indicating that DSCAM functions as a receptor of netrin-1. Our data suggest previously unexpected complexity in receptors that mediate vertebrate netrin signaling.
Project description:Netrin-1 plays a key role in axon guidance through binding to its receptor, Deleted in Colorectal Cancer (DCC). The initial step of signaling inside the cell after netrin-1/DCC ligation is the binding of DCC cytoplasmic P3 motif to focal adhesion targeting (FAT) domain of focal adhesion kinase (FAK). Here we report the crystal structure of P3/FAT complex. The helical P3 peptide interacts with a helix-swapped FAT dimer in a 2:2 ratio. Dimeric FAT binding is P3-specific and stabilized by a calcium ion. Biochemical studies showed that DCC-P3 motif and calcium ion could facilitate FAT dimerization in solution. Axon guidance assays confirm that the DCC/FAK complex is essential for netrin-1-induced chemoattraction. We propose that netrin-1/DCC engagement creates a small cluster of P3/FAT for FAK recruitment close to the cell membrane, which exerts a concerted effect with PIP2 for FAK signaling. We also compare P3/FAT binding with paxillin/FAT binding and discuss their distinct recognition specificity on a common FAT domain for axon attraction versus integrin signaling, respectively.
Project description:Netrins, a family of laminin-related molecules, have been proposed to act as guidance cues either during nervous system development or the establishment of the vascular system. This was clearly demonstrated for netrin-1 via its interaction with the receptors DCC and UNC5s. However, mainly based on shared homologies with netrin-1, netrin-4 was also proposed to play a role in neuronal outgrowth and developmental/pathological angiogenesis via interactions with netrin-1 receptors. Here, we present the high-resolution structure of netrin-4, which shows unique features in comparison with netrin-1, and show that it does not bind directly to any of the known netrin-1 receptors. We show that netrin-4 disrupts laminin networks and basement membranes (BMs) through high-affinity binding to the laminin ?1 chain. We hypothesize that this laminin-related function is essential for the previously described effects on axon growth promotion and angiogenesis. Our study unveils netrin-4 as a non-enzymatic extracellular matrix protein actively disrupting pre-existing BMs.
Project description:UNC-6/netrins compose a small phylogenetically conserved family of proteins that act as axon guidance cues. With a signal sequence trap method, we isolated a cDNA encoding a novel member of the UNC-6/netrin family, which we named netrin-G1. Unlike classical netrins, netrin-G1 consists of at least six isoforms of which five were predominantly anchored to the plasma membrane via glycosyl phosphatidyl-inositol linkages. Netrin-G1 transcripts were first detected in midbrain and hindbrain regions by embryonic day 12 and reached highest levels at perinatal stages in various brain regions, including olfactory bulb mitral cells, thalamus, and deep cerebellar nuclei. Its expression was primarily restricted to the CNS. Interestingly, netrin-G1 proteins did not show appreciable affinity to any netrin receptor examined. Unlike netrin-1, a secreted form of netrin-G1 consistently failed to attract circumferentially growing axons from the cerebellar plate. Our findings suggest that netrin-G1 and its putative receptors have coevolved independently from the classical netrins. The expression pattern of netrin-G1 and its predicted neuronal membrane localization suggest it may also have novel signaling functions in nervous system development.
Project description:The coupling of axon guidance cues, such as netrin-1, to microtubule (MT) dynamics is essential for growth cone navigation in the developing nervous system. However, whether axon guidance signaling regulates MT dynamics directly or indirectly is unclear. Here, we report that TUBB3, the most dynamic ?-tubulin isoform in neurons, directly interacts with the netrin receptor DCC, and that netrin-1 induces this interaction in primary neurons. TUBB3 colocalizes with DCC in the growth cones of primary neurons and MT dynamics is required for netrin-1-promoted association of TUBB3 with DCC. Netrin-1 not only increases co-sedimentation of DCC with polymerized MT, but also promotes MT dynamics in the growth cone. Knocking down TUBB3 inhibits netrin-1-induced MT dynamics, axon outgrowth and attraction in vitro and causes defects in commissural axon projection in the embryo. These results indicate that TUBB3 directly links netrin signaling pathways to MT dynamics and plays an important role in guiding commissural axons in vivo.