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J Biol Chem. 2004 Dec 10;279(50):52703-13. Epub 2004 Sep 29.

Independent mutations in mouse Vangl2 that cause neural tube defects in looptail mice impair interaction with members of the Dishevelled family.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Center for Host Resistance and McGill Cancer Center, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1Y6, Canada.


Mammalian Vangl1 and Vangl2 are highly conserved membrane proteins that have evolved from a single ancestral protein Strabismus/Van Gogh found in Drosophila. Mutations in the Vangl2 gene cause a neural tube defect (craniorachischisis) characteristic of the looptail (Lp) mouse. Studies in model organisms indicate that Vangl proteins play a key developmental role in establishing planar cell polarity (PCP) and in regulating convergent extension (CE) movements during embryogenesis. The role of Vangl1 in these processes is virtually unknown, and the molecular function of Vangl1 and Vangl2 in PCP and CE is poorly understood. Using a yeast two-hybrid system, glutathione S-transferase pull-down and co-immunoprecipitation assays, we show that both mouse Vangl1 and Vangl2 physically interact with the three members of the cytoplasmic Dishevelled (Dvl) protein family. This interaction is shown to require both the predicted cytoplasmic C-terminal half of Vangl1/2 and a portion of the Dvl protein containing PDZ and DIX domains. In addition, we show that the two known Vangl2 loss-of-function mutations identified in two independent Lp alleles associated with neural tube defects impair binding to Dvl1, Dvl2, and Dvl3. These findings suggest a molecular mechanism for the neural tube defect seen in Lp mice. Our observations indicate that Vangl1 biochemical properties parallel those of Vangl2 and that Vangl1 might, therefore, participate in PCP and CE either in concert with Vangl2 or independently of Vangl2 in discrete cell types.

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