AnkyrinG is required for maintenance of the axon initial segment and neuronal polarity.
ABSTRACT: The axon initial segment (AIS) functions as both a physiological and physical bridge between somatodendritic and axonal domains. Given its unique molecular composition, location, and physiology, the AIS is thought to maintain neuronal polarity. To identify the molecular basis of this AIS property, we used adenovirus-mediated RNA interference to silence AIS protein expression in polarized neurons. Some AIS proteins are remarkably stable with half-lives of at least 2 wk. However, silencing the expression of the cytoskeletal scaffold ankyrinG (ankG) dismantles the AIS and causes axons to acquire the molecular characteristics of dendrites. Both cytoplasmic- and membrane-associated proteins, which are normally restricted to somatodendritic domains, redistribute into the former axon. Furthermore, spines and postsynaptic densities of excitatory synapses assemble on former axons. Our results demonstrate that the loss of ankG causes axons to acquire the molecular characteristics of dendrites; thus, ankG is required for the maintenance of neuronal polarity and molecular organization of the AIS.
Project description:Neurons are highly polarized cells that extend a single axon and several dendrites. Studies with cultured neurons indicate that the proximal portion of the axon, denoted as the axon initial segment (AIS), maintains neuronal polarity in vitro. The membrane-adaptor protein ankyrinG (ankG) is an essential component of the AIS. To determine the relevance of ankG for neuronal polarity in vivo, we studied mice with a cerebellum-specific ankG deficiency. Strikingly, ankG-depleted axons develop protrusions closely resembling dendritic spines. Such axonal spines are enriched with postsynaptic proteins, including ProSAP1/Shank2 and ionotropic and metabotropic glutamate receptors. In addition, immunofluorescence indicated that axonal spines are contacted by presynaptic glutamatergic boutons. For further analysis, double mutants were obtained by crossbreeding ankG(-/-) mice with L7/Purkinje cell-specific promoter 2 (PCP2) mice expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) in Purkinje cells (PCs). This approach allowed precise confocal microscopic mapping of EGFP-positive spiny axons and their subsequent identification at the electron microscopic level. Ultrastructurally, axonal spines contained a typical postsynaptic density and established asymmetric excitatory synapses with presynaptic boutons containing synaptic vesicles. In the shaft of spiny axons, typical ultrastructural features of the AIS, including the membrane-associated dense undercoating and cytoplasmic bundles of microtubules, were absent. Finally, using time-lapse imaging of organotypic cerebellar slice cultures, we demonstrate that nonspiny PC axons of EGFP-positive/ankG(-/-) mice acquire a spiny phenotype within a time range of only 3 days. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that axons of ankG-deficient mice acquire hallmark features of dendrites. AnkG thus is important for maintaining appropriate axo-dendritic polarity in vivo.
Project description:Axon pathology has been widely reported in Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients and AD mouse models. Herein we report that increased miR-342-5p down-regulates the expression of ankyrin G (AnkG), a protein known to play a critical role in establishing selective filtering machinery at the axon initial segment (AIS). Diminished AnkG expression leads to defective AIS filtering in cultured hippocampal neurons from AD mouse models, as monitored by selective exclusion of large macromolecules from the axons. Furthermore, AnkG-deficiency impairs AIS localization of Nav 1.6 channels and confines NR2B to the somatodendritic compartments. The expression of exogenous AnkG improved the cognitive performance of 12-mo-old APP/PS1 mice; thus, our data suggest that AnkG and impairment of AIS filtering may play important roles in AD pathology.
Project description:High densities of ion channels at axon initial segments (AISs) and nodes of Ranvier are required for initiation, propagation, and modulation of action potentials in axons. The organization of these membrane domains depends on a specialized cytoskeleton consisting of two submembranous cytoskeletal and scaffolding proteins, ankyrinG (ankG) and betaIV spectrin. However, it is not known which of these proteins is the principal organizer, or if the mechanisms governing formation of the cytoskeleton at the AIS also apply to nodes. We identify a distinct protein domain in betaIV spectrin required for its localization to the AIS, and show that this domain mediates betaIV spectrin's interaction with ankG. Dominant-negative ankG disrupts betaIV spectrin localization, but does not alter endogenous ankG or Na(+) channel clustering at the AIS. Finally, using adenovirus for transgene delivery into myelinated neurons, we demonstrate that betaIV spectrin recruitment to nodes of Ranvier also depends on binding to ankG.
Project description:Ankyrin-G (AnkG), a highly enriched scaffold protein in the axon initial segment (AIS) of neurons, functions to maintain axonal polarity and the integrity of the AIS. At the AIS, AnkG regulates selective intracellular cargo trafficking between soma and axons via interaction with the dynein regulator protein Ndel1, but the molecular mechanism underlying this binding remains elusive. Here we report that Ndel1's C-terminal coiled-coil region (CT-CC) binds to giant neuron-specific insertion regions present in both AnkG and AnkB with 2:1 stoichiometry. The high-resolution crystal structure of AnkB in complex with Ndel1 CT-CC revealed the detailed molecular basis governing the AnkB/Ndel1 complex formation. Mechanistically, AnkB binds with Ndel1 by forming a stable 5-helix bundle dominated by hydrophobic interactions spread across 6 distinct interaction layers. Moreover, we found that AnkG is essential for Ndel1 accumulation at the AIS. Finally, we found that cargo sorting at the AIS can be disrupted by blocking the AnkG/Ndel1 complex formation using a peptide designed based on our structural data. Collectively, the atomic structure of the AnkB/Ndel1 complex together with studies of cargo sorting through the AIS establish the mechanistic basis for AnkG/Ndel1 complex formation and for the maintenance of axonal polarity. Our study will also be valuable for future studies of the interaction between AnkB and Ndel1 perhaps at distal axonal cargo transport.
Project description:The axon initial segment (AIS) is a specialized region within the proximal portion of the axon that initiates action potentials thanks in large part to an enrichment of sodium channels. The scaffolding protein ankyrinG (AnkG) is essential for the recruitment of sodium channels as well as several other intracellular and extracellular proteins to the AIS. In the present study, we explore the role of the cell adhesion molecule (CAM) neurofascin-186 (NF-186) in arranging the individual molecular components of the AIS in cultured rat hippocampal neurons. Using a CRISPR depletion strategy to ablate NF expression, we found that the loss of NF selectively perturbed AnkG accumulation and its relative proximal distribution within the AIS. We found that the overexpression of sodium channels could restore AnkG accumulation, but not its altered distribution within the AIS without NF present. We go on to show that although the loss of NF altered AnkG distribution, sodium channel function within the AIS remained normal. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the regulation of AnkG and sodium channel accumulation within the AIS can occur independently of one another, potentially mediated by other binding partners such as NF.
Project description:The axon initial segment (AIS) plays a key role in maintaining the molecular and functional polarity of the neuron. The relationship between the AIS architecture and the microtubules (MTs) supporting axonal transport is unknown. Here we provide evidence that the MT plus-end-binding (EB) proteins EB1 and EB3 have a role in the AIS in addition to their MT plus-end tracking protein behavior in other neuronal compartments. In mature neurons, EB3 is concentrated and stabilized in the AIS. We identified a direct interaction between EB3/EB1 and the AIS scaffold protein ankyrin G (ankG). In addition, EB3 and EB1 participate in AIS maintenance, and AIS disassembly through ankG knockdown leads to cell-wide up-regulation of EB3 and EB1 comets. Thus, EB3 and EB1 coordinate a molecular and functional interplay between ankG and the AIS MTs that supports the central role of ankG in the maintenance of neuronal polarity.
Project description:AnkyrinG (ankG) is highly enriched in neurons at axon initial segments (AISs) where it clusters Na(+) and K(+) channels and maintains neuronal polarity. How ankG becomes concentrated at the AIS is unknown. Here, we show that as neurons break symmetry, they assemble a distal axonal submembranous cytoskeleton, comprised of ankyrinB (ankB), ?II-spectrin, and ?II-spectrin, that defines a boundary limiting ankG to the proximal axon. Experimentally moving this boundary altered the length of ankG staining in the proximal axon, whereas disruption of the boundary through silencing of ankB, ?II-spectrin, or ?II-spectrin expression blocked AIS assembly and permitted ankG to redistribute throughout the distal axon. In support of an essential role for the distal cytoskeleton in ankG clustering, we also found that ?II and ?II-spectrin-deficient mice had disrupted AIS. Thus, the distal axonal cytoskeleton functions as an intra-axonal boundary restricting ankG to the AIS.
Project description:Selective cargo transport into axons and dendrites over the microtubule network is essential for neuron polarization. The axon initial segment (AIS) separates the axon from the somatodendritic compartment and controls the microtubule-dependent transport into the axon. Interestingly, the AIS has a characteristic microtubule organization; it contains bundles of closely spaced microtubules with electron dense cross-bridges, referred to as microtubule fascicles. The microtubule binding protein TRIM46 localizes to the AIS and when overexpressed in non-neuronal cells forms microtubule arrays that closely resemble AIS fascicles in neurons. However, the precise role of TRIM46 in microtubule fasciculation in neurons has not been studied. Here we developed a novel correlative light and electron microscopy approach to study AIS microtubule organization. We show that in cultured rat hippocampal neurons of both sexes, TRIM46 levels steadily increase at the AIS during early neuronal differentiation and at the same time closely spaced microtubules form, whereas the fasciculated microtubules appear at later developmental stages. Moreover, we localized TRIM46 to the electron dense cross-bridges and show that depletion of TRIM46 causes loss of cross-bridges and increased microtubule spacing. These data indicate that TRIM46 has an essential role in organizing microtubule fascicles in the AIS.<b>SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT</b> The axon initial segment (AIS) is a specialized region at the proximal axon where the action potential is initiated. In addition the AIS separates the axon from the somatodendritic compartment, where it controls protein transport to establish and maintain neuron polarity. Cargo vesicles destined for the axon recognize specialized microtubule tracks that enter the AIS. Interestingly the microtubules entering the AIS form crosslinked bundles, called microtubule fascicules. Recently we found that the microtubule-binding protein TRIM46 localizes to the AIS, where it may organize the AIS microtubules. In the present study we developed a novel correlative light and electron microscopy approach to study the AIS microtubules during neuron development and identified an essential role for TRIM46 in microtubule fasciculation.
Project description:Neuronal polarization underlies the ability of neurons to integrate and transmit information. This process begins early in development with axon outgrowth, followed by dendritic growth and subsequent maturation. In between these two steps, the axon initial segment (AIS), a subcellular domain crucial for generating action potentials (APs) and maintaining the morphological and functional polarization, starts to develop. However, the cellular/molecular mechanisms and receptors involved in AIS initial development and maturation are mostly unknown. In this study, we have focused on the role of the type-1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1R), a highly abundant G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) in the nervous system largely involved in different phases of neuronal development and differentiation. Although CB1R activity modulation has been related to changes in axons or dendrites, its possible role as a modulator of AIS development has not been yet explored. Here we analyzed the potential role of CB1R on neuronal morphology and AIS development using pharmacological and RNA interference approaches in cultured hippocampal neurons. CB1R inhibition, at a very early developmental stage, has no effect on axonal growth, yet CB1R activation can promote it. By contrast, subsequent dendritic growth is impaired by CB1R inhibition, which also reduces ankyrinG density at the AIS. Moreover, our data show a significant correlation between early dendritic growth and ankyrinG density. However, CB1R inhibition in later developmental stages after dendrites are formed only reduces ankyrinG accumulation at the AIS. In conclusion, our data suggest that neuronal CB1R basal activity plays a role in initial development of dendrites and indirectly in AIS proteins accumulation. Based on the lack of CB1R expression at the AIS, we hypothesize that CB1R mediated modulation of dendritic arbor size during early development indirectly determines the accumulation of ankyrinG and AIS development. Further studies will be necessary to determine which CB1R-dependent mechanisms can coordinate these two domains, and what may be the impact of these early developmental changes once neurons mature and are embedded in a functional brain network.
Project description:Action potentials (APs) propagating along axons require the activation of voltage-gated Na(+) (Nav) channels. How Nav channels are transported into axons is unknown. We show that KIF5/kinesin-1 directly binds to ankyrin-G (AnkG) to transport Nav channels into axons. KIF5 and Nav1.2 channels bind to multiple sites in the AnkG N-terminal domain that contains 24 ankyrin repeats. Disrupting AnkG-KIF5 binding with small interfering RNA or dominant-negative constructs markedly reduced Nav channel levels at the axon initial segment (AIS) and along entire axons, thereby decreasing AP firing. Live-cell imaging showed that fluorescently tagged AnkG or Nav1.2 cotransported with KIF5 along axons. Deleting AnkG in vivo or virus-mediated expression of a dominant-negative KIF5 construct specifically decreased the axonal level of Nav, but not Kv1.2, channels in mouse cerebellum. These results indicate that AnkG functions as an adaptor to link Nav channels to KIF5 during axonal transport before anchoring them to the AIS and nodes of Ranvier.