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PLoS One. 2008 Aug 25;3(8):e3054. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003054.

The actin-binding protein capulet genetically interacts with the microtubule motor kinesin to maintain neuronal dendrite homeostasis.

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  • 1Neuroscience Center, UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States of America.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Neurons require precise cytoskeletal regulation within neurites, containing microtubule tracks for cargo transport in axons and dendrites or within synapses containing organized actin. Due to the unique architecture and specialized function of neurons, neurons are particularly susceptible to perturbation of the cytoskeleton. Numerous actin-binding proteins help maintain proper cytoskeletal regulation.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

From a Drosophila forward genetic screen, we identified a mutation in capulet--encoding a conserved actin-binding protein--that causes abnormal aggregates of actin within dendrites. Through interaction studies, we demonstrate that simultaneous genetic inactivation of capulet and kinesin heavy chain, a microtubule motor protein, produces elongate cofilin-actin rods within dendrites but not axons. These rods resemble actin-rich structures induced in both mammalian neurodegenerative and Drosophila Alzheimer's models, but have not previously been identified by loss of function mutations in vivo. We further demonstrate that mitochondria, which are transported by Kinesin, have impaired distribution along dendrites in a capulet mutant. While Capulet and Cofilin may biochemically cooperate in certain circumstances, in neuronal dendrites they genetically antagonize each other.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

The present study is the first molecularly defined loss of function demonstration of actin-cofilin rods in vivo. This study suggests that simultaneous, seemingly minor perturbations in neuronal dendrites can synergize producing severe abnormalities affecting actin, microtubules and mitochondria/energy availability in dendrites. Additionally, as >90% of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's cases are sporadic this study suggests mechanisms by which multiple mutations together may contribute to neurodegeneration instead of reliance on single mutations to produce disease.

PMID:
18725959
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2516187
Free PMC Article
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