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Cell. 1999 Jun 25;97(7):853-63.

Pak functions downstream of Dock to regulate photoreceptor axon guidance in Drosophila.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Biological Chemistry, School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles 90095, USA.


The SH2/SH3 adaptor protein Dock has been proposed to transduce signals from guidance receptors to the actin cytoskeleton in Drosophila photoreceptor (R cell) growth cones. Here, we demonstrate that Drosophila p21-activated kinase (Pak) is required in a Dock pathway regulating R cell axon guidance and targeting. Dock and Pak colocalize to R cell axons and growth cones, physically interact, and their loss-of-function phenotypes are indistinguishable. Normal patterns of R cell connectivity require Pak's kinase activity and binding sites for both Dock and Cdc42/Rac. A membrane-tethered form of Pak (Pak(myr) acts as a dominant gain-of-function protein. Retinal expression of Pak(myr) rescues the R cell connectivity phenotype in dock mutants. These data establish Pak as a critical regulator of axon guidance and a downstream effector of Dock in vivo.

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