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PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e53122. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053122. Epub 2013 Jan 4.

LMX1B is part of a transcriptional complex with PSPC1 and PSF.

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  • 1Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


The LIM homeodomain transcription factor Lmx1b is essential for the development of the isthmic organizer and mesodiencephalic dopaminergic neurons. The uncoupling of Pitx3 and Th expression, in the Lmx1b null mutant, suggests that Lmx1b may act as a positional activator of the mdDA domain, eventually leading to properly differentiating mdDA neurons. In this study, we aimed to elucidate how Lmx1b functions mechanistically in this developmental process, by searching for molecular interactors of Lmx1b at the protein level. Initially, affinity-purification of LMX1B-HIS overexpressed protein in MN9D dopaminergic cells followed by mass-spectrometry analysis, resulted in the identification of PSPC1 protein as a possible binding partner of LMX1B. Subsequent immunoprecipitation experiments revealed an interaction between LMX1B and PSPC1 in a larger protein complex also containing PSF. This complex was observed in vitro and in vivo, and we hypothesize that, via PSF and PSPC1, LMX1B may be part of the previously identified Nurr1 transcriptional complex wherein interaction with the co-repressor PSF and the transcription factor Pitx3 is needed to drive expression of Nurr1 target genes in specifying the dopaminergic phenotype. Furthermore, we identified GRLF1, DHX9, MYO1C, HSP70 and TMPO as potential LMX1B interactors. DHX9 and GRLF1 are highly expressed in the developing mdDA neuronal field, and GRLF1 and MYO1C have both been linked to neurite outgrowth. The identification of these proteins suggests that Lmx1b may act directly in the transcriptional activation of Nurr1 target genes and be involved in other processes like neurite outgrowth as well.

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