Specification of Dendritogenesis Site in Drosophila aCC Motoneuron by Membrane Enrichment of Pak1 through Dscam1.
ABSTRACT: Precise positioning of dendritic branches is a critical step in the establishment of neuronal circuitry. However, there is limited knowledge on how environmental cues translate into dendrite initiation or branching at a specific position. Here, through a combination of mutation, RNAi, and imaging experiments, we found that a Dscam-Dock-Pak1 hierarchical interaction defines the stereotypical dendrite growth site in the Drosophila aCC motoneuron. This interaction localizes the Cdc42 effector Pak1 to the plasma membrane at the dendrite initiation site before the activation of Cdc42. Ectopic expression of membrane-anchored Pak1 overrides this spatial specification of dendritogenesis, confirming its function in guiding Cdc42 signaling. We further discovered that Dscam1 localization in aCC occurs through an inter-neuronal contact that involves Dscam1 in the partner MP1 neuron. These findings elucidate a mechanism by which Dscam1 controls neuronal morphogenesis through spatial regulation of Cdc42 signaling and, subsequently, cytoskeletal remodeling.
Project description:Despite the crucial importance of dendritogenesis for the correct functioning of neurons, the molecular mechanisms underlying neuronal arborisation are still not well understood. Current models suggest that distinct parts and phases of dendritic development are regulated by the expression of distinct transcription factors, that are able to target the cytoskeleton. Two proteins recently implicated in dendritogenesis are the Focal Adhesion Kinase FAK1 and the Actin-binding protein Simiate. Using heterologous expression systems as well as mouse brain extracts in combination with coprecipitation assays, we show that Simiate is able to associate with FAK1. Differential centrifugation experiments further revealed the interaction to be present in cytosolic as well as nuclear fractions. Inside the nucleus though, Simiate preferentially binds to a FAK1 isoform of 80 kDa, which has previously been shown to regulate transcription factor activity. Investigating the function of both proteins in primary hippocampal cultures, we further found that FAK1 and Simiate have distinct roles in dendritogenesis: While FAK1 increases dendrite length and number, Simiate preferentially enhances growth and branching. However, if being confined to the nucleus, Simiate selectively triggers primary dendrite formation, enhancing transcription activity at the same time. Since the effect on primary dendrites is specifically re-normalized by a co-expression of FAK1 and Simiate in the nucleus, the data implies that the two proteins interact to counterbalance each other in order to control dendrite formation. Looking at the role of the cytosolic interaction of FAK1 and Simiate, we found that neurotrophin induced dendritogenesis causes a striking colocalisation of FAK1 and Simiate in dendritic growth cones, which is not present otherwise, thus suggesting that the cytosolic interaction stimulates growth cone mediated dendritogenesis in response to certain external signals. Taken together, the data show that FAK1 and Simiate exert several and distinct actions during the different phases of dendritogenesis and that these actions are related to their subcellular localisation and their interaction.
Project description:microRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as critical regulators of neuronal dendrite development. Specific precursor (pre-)miRNAs are actively transported to dendrites, but whether this process is regulated by neuronal activity and involved in activity-dependent dendritogenesis is unknown. Here we show that BDNF, a neurotrophin that is released in response to increased neuronal activity, promotes dendritic accumulation of pre-miR-134. Dendritic accumulation, but not transcription of pre-miR-134, is abrogated by treatment of neurons with the NMDA receptor (NMDAR) antagonist APV. Furthermore, APV interferes with BDNF-mediated repression of the known miR-134 target Pumilio 2 (Pum2) in a miR-134 binding site-specific manner. At the functional level, both APV treatment and knockdown of the pre-miR-134 transport protein DHX36 antagonize BDNF-induced dendritogenesis. These effects are likely mediated by reduced dendritic miR-134 activity, since both transfection of a synthetic miR-134 duplex or of a dendritically targeted pre-miR-134-181a chimera rescues BDNF-dependent dendritogenesis in the presence of APV. In conclusion, we have identified a novel NMDAR-dependent mechanism involved in the activity-dependent control of miRNA function during neuronal development.
Project description:MicroRNAs are important regulators of local protein synthesis during neuronal development. We investigated the dynamic regulation of microRNA production and found that the majority of the microRNA-generating complex, consisting of Dicer, TRBP, and PACT, specifically associates with intracellular membranes in developing neurons. Stimulation with brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which promotes dendritogenesis, caused the redistribution of TRBP from the endoplasmic reticulum into the cytoplasm, and its dissociation from Dicer, in a Ca2+-dependent manner. As a result, the processing of a subset of neuronal precursor microRNAs, among them the dendritically localized pre-miR16, was impaired. Decreased production of miR-16-5p, which targeted the BDNF mRNA itself, was rescued by expression of a membrane-targeted TRBP Moreover, miR-16-5p or membrane-targeted TRBP expression blocked BDNF-induced dendritogenesis, demonstrating the importance of neuronal TRBP dynamics for activity-dependent neuronal development. We propose that neurons employ specialized mechanisms to modulate local gene expression in dendrites, via the dynamic regulation of microRNA biogenesis factors at intracellular membranes of the endoplasmic reticulum, which in turn is crucial for neuronal dendrite complexity and therefore neuronal circuit formation and function.
Project description:Dendrites and axons show precise targeting and spacing patterns for proper reception and transmission of information in the nervous system. Self-avoidance promotes complete territory coverage and nonoverlapping spacing between processes from the same cell [1, 2]. Neurons that lack Drosophila Down syndrome cell adhesion molecule 1 (Dscam1) show aberrant overlap, fasciculation, and accumulation of dendrites and axons, demonstrating a role in self-recognition and repulsion leading to self-avoidance [3-11]. Fasciculation and accumulation of processes suggested that Dscam1 might promote process spacing by counterbalancing developmental signals that otherwise promote self-association [9, 12]. Here we show that Dscam1 functions to counter Drosophila sensory neuron dendritic targeting signals provided by secreted Netrin-B and Frazzled, a netrin receptor. Loss of Dscam1 function resulted in aberrant dendrite accumulation at a Netrin-B-expressing target, whereas concomitant loss of Frazzled prevented accumulation and caused severe deficits in dendritic territory coverage. Netrin misexpression was sufficient to induce ectopic dendritic targeting in a Frazzled-dependent manner, whereas Dscam1 was required to prevent ectopic accumulation, consistent with separable roles for these receptors. Our results suggest that Dscam1-mediated self-avoidance counters extrinsic signals that are required for normal dendritic patterning, but whose action would otherwise favor neurite accumulation. Counterbalancing roles for Dscam1 may be deployed in diverse contexts during neural circuit formation.
Project description:MicroRNAs are important regulators of local protein synthesis during neuronal development. We investigated the dynamic regulation of microRNA production and found that the majority of the microRNA-generating complex, consisting of Dicer, TRBP and PACT, specifically associates with intra-cellular membranes in developing neurons. Stimulation with brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which promotes dendritogenesis, caused the re-distribution of TRBP from the endoplasmic reticulum into the cytoplasm, and its dissociation from Dicer, in a Ca2+-dependent manner. As a result, the processing of a subset of neuronal precursor microRNAs, among them the dendrite-enriched pre-miR16, was impaired. Decreased production of miR-16-5p, which targeted the BDNF mRNA itself, was rescued by expression of a membrane-targeted TRBP. Moreover, miR-16-5p or membrane-targeted TRBP expression blocked BDNF-induced dendritogenesis, demonstrating the importance of neuronal TRBP dynamics for activity-dependent neuronal development. We propose that neurons employ specialized mechanisms to modulate local gene expression in dendrites, via the dynamic regulation of microRNA biogenesis factors at intracellular membranes of the endoplasmic reticulum, which in turn is crucial for neuronal dendrite complexity and therefore neuronal circuit formation and function. Overall design: miRNA expression profiles of control- and BDNF-treated DIV rat cortical neurons were generated by deep sequencing, in triplicate, using Illumina HiSeq2000.
Project description:Axonal branching contributes substantially to neuronal circuit complexity. Studies in Drosophila have shown that loss of Dscam1 receptor diversity can fully block axon branching in mechanosensory neurons. Here we report that cell-autonomous loss of the receptor tyrosine phosphatase 69D (RPTP69D) and loss of midline-localized Slit inhibit formation of specific axon collaterals through modulation of Dscam1 activity. Genetic and biochemical data support a model in which direct binding of Slit to Dscam1 enhances the interaction of Dscam1 with RPTP69D, stimulating Dscam1 dephosphorylation. Single-growth-cone imaging reveals that Slit/RPTP69D are not required for general branch initiation but instead promote the extension of specific axon collaterals. Hence, although regulation of intrinsic Dscam1-Dscam1 isoform interactions is essential for formation of all mechanosensory-axon branches, the local ligand-induced alterations of Dscam1 phosphorylation in distinct growth-cone compartments enable the spatial specificity of axon collateral formation.
Project description:The Drosophila neural receptor Dscam1 (Down syndrome cell adhesion molecule 1) plays an essential role in neuronal wiring and self-avoidance. Dscam1 potentially encodes 19,008 ectodomains through alternative RNA splicing and exhibits exquisite isoform-specific homophilic binding, which makes it an exceptional example for studying protein binding specificity. However, structural information on Dscam1 is limited, which hinders illumination of the mechanism of Dscam1 isoform-specific recognition. Whether different Dscam1 isoforms adopt the same dimerization mode remains a subject of debate. We present 12 Dscam1 crystal structures, provide direct evidence indicating that all isoforms adopt a conserved homodimer geometry in a modular fashion, identify two mechanisms for the Ig2 binding domain to dispel electrostatic repulsion during dimerization, decode Ig2 binding specificity by a central motif at its symmetry center, uncover the role of glycosylation in Dscam1 homodimerization, and find electrostatic potential complementarity to help define the binding region and the antiparallel binding mode. We then propose a concept that the context of a protein may set restrictions to regulate its binding specificity, which provides a better understanding of protein recognition.
Project description:Recent studies on GTPases have suggested that reduced Duo and cell division cycle 42 (Cdc42) transcript expression is involved in dendritic spine loss in schizophrenia. In murine models, Duo and Cdc42 phosphorylate p21-activated kinase 1 (PAK1), which modifies the activity of regulatory myosin light chain (MLC) and cofilin by altering their phosphorylation. Therefore, we hypothesized that in schizophrenia abnormal Duo and Cdc42 expression result in changes in MLC and/or cofilin phosphorylation, which might alter actin cytoskeleton dynamics underlying dendritic spine maintenance.We performed Western blot protein expression analysis in postmortem brains from patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and a comparison group. We focused our studies in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC; n = 33 comparison group; n = 36 schizophrenia) and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC; n = 29 comparison group; n = 35 schizophrenia).In both ACC and DLPFC, we found a reduction of Duo expression and PAK1 phosphorylation in schizophrenia. Cdc42 protein expression was decreased in ACC but not in DLPFC. In ACC, we observed decreased PAK1 phosphorylation and increased MLC phosphorylation (pMLC), whereas in DLPFC pMLC remained unchanged.These data suggest a novel mechanism that might underlie dendritic spine loss in schizophrenia. The increase in pMLC seen in ACC might be associated with dendritic spine shrinkage. The lack of an effect on pMLC in DLPFC suggests that in schizophrenia PAK1 downstream pathways are differentially affected in these cortical areas.
Project description:The growth and morphological differentiation of dendrites are critical events in the establishment of proper neuronal connectivity and neural function. One extrinsic factor, BMP7, has been shown to specifically affect dendritic morphogenesis; however, the underlying mechanism by which this occurs is unknown. Here we show that LIM kinase 1 (LIMK1), a key downstream effector of Rho GTPases, colocalizes with the BMP receptor, BMPRII, in the tips of neurites and binds to BMPRII. This interaction is required for BMP-dependent induction of the dendritic arbor in cortical neurons. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the physical interaction of LIMK1 with BMPRII synergizes with the Rho GTPase, Cdc42, to activate LIMK1 catalytic activity. These studies thus define a Smad-independent pathway that directly links the BMP receptor to regulation of actin dynamics and provides insights into how extracellular signals modulate LIMK1 activity to permit fine spatial control over cytoskeletal remodelling during dendritogenesis.
Project description:Dscam1 potentially encodes 19,008 ectodomains of a cell recognition molecule of the immunoglobulin (Ig) superfamily through alternative splicing. Each ectodomain, comprising a unique combination of three variable (Ig) domains, exhibits isoform-specific homophilic binding in vitro. Although we have proposed that the ability of Dscam1 isoforms to distinguish between one another is crucial for neural circuit assembly, via a process called self-avoidance, whether recognition specificity is essential in vivo has not been addressed. Here we tackle this issue by assessing the function of Dscam1 isoforms with altered binding specificities. We generated pairs of chimeric isoforms that bind to each other (heterophilic) but not to themselves (homophilic). These isoforms failed to support self-avoidance or did so poorly. By contrast, coexpression of complementary isoforms within the same neuron restored self-avoidance. These data establish that recognition between Dscam1 isoforms on neurites of the same cell provides the molecular basis for self-avoidance.