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J Neurosci. 2012 Jun 13;32(24):8293-305. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0799-12.2012.

Semaphorin 4D/Plexin-B1-mediated M-Ras GAP activity regulates actin-based dendrite remodeling through Lamellipodin.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology, Graduate School of Biostudies, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan.


Semaphorins have been identified as repulsive guidance molecules in the developing nervous system. We recently reported that the semaphorin 4D (Sema4D) receptor Plexin-B1 induces repulsion in axon and dendrites by functioning as a GTPase-activating protein (GAP) for R-Ras and M-Ras, respectively. In axons, Sema4D stimulation induces growth cone collapse, and downregulation of R-Ras activity by Plexin-B1-mediated GAP activity is required for the action. Axonal R-Ras GAP activity downregulates phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase signaling pathway, and thereby induces inactivation of a microtubule assembly promoter protein, CRMP-2. However, in contrast to the well studied roles of semaphorins and plexins in axonal guidance, signaling molecules linking M-Ras GAP to dendritic cytoskeleton remain obscure. Here we identified an Ena/VASP ligand, Lamellipodin (Lpd), as a novel effector of M-Ras in dendrites. Lpd was expressed in F-actin-rich distal dendritic processes and was required for both basal and M-Ras-mediated dendrite development. Subcellular fractionation showed M-Ras-dependent membrane translocation of Lpd, which was suppressed by Sema4D. Furthermore, the Ena/VASP-binding region within Lpd was required for dendrite development, and its membrane targeting was sufficient to overcome the Sema4D-mediated reduction of dendritic outgrowth and disappearance of F-actin from distal dendrites. Furthermore, in utero electroporation experiments also indicated that regulation of the M-Ras-Lpd system by the GAP activity of Plexin is involved in the normal development of cortical dendrites in vivo. Overall, our study sheds light on how repulsive guidance molecules regulate actin cytoskeleton in dendrites, revealing a novel mechanism that the M-Ras-Lpd system regulates actin-based dendrite remodeling by Sema/Plexin in rats or mice of either sex.

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