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J Neurosci. 2003 Apr 15;23(8):3343-52.

Characterization of the WAVE1 knock-out mouse: implications for CNS development.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics, Wyeth Research, Princeton, New Jersey 08543, USA.

Abstract

Developing neurons must respond to a wide range of extracellular signals during the process of brain morphogenesis. One mechanism through which immature neurons respond to such signals is by altering cellular actin dynamics. A recently discovered link between extracellular signaling events and the actin cytoskeleton is the WASP/WAVE (Wiscott-Aldrich Syndrome protein/WASP-family verprolin-homologous protein) family of proteins. Through a direct interaction with the Arp2/3 (actin-related protein) complex, this family functions to regulate the actin cytoskeleton by mediating signals from cdc42 as well as other small GTPases. To evaluate the role of WASP/WAVE proteins in the process of neuronal morphogenesis, we used a retroviral gene trap to generate a line of mice bearing a disruption in the WAVE1 gene. Using a heterologous reporter gene, we found that WAVE1 expression becomes increasingly restricted to the CNS over the course of development. Homozygous disruption of the WAVE1 gene results in postnatal lethality. In addition, these animals have severe limb weakness, a resting tremor, and notable neuroanatomical malformations without overt histopathology of peripheral organs. We did not detect any alterations in neuronal morphology in vivo or the ability of embryonic neurons to form processes in vitro. Our data indicate that WAVE1, although important for the general development of the CNS, is not essential for the formation and extension of neuritic processes.

PMID:
12716942
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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