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J Neurochem. 2005 Feb;92(4):850-8.

Tech: a RhoA GEF selectively expressed in hippocampal and cortical neurons.

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1
Department of Neuroscience and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Abstract

Recent studies implicating the Rho family of small G proteins in the regulation of neuronal morphology have focused attention on identifying key components of Rho signaling pathways in neurons. To this end, we have conducted studies aimed at defining the localization and function of Tech, a Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) family member that is highly enriched in brain. We have found that Tech is selectively expressed in cortical and hippocampal neurons with prominent Tech immunostaining apparent in the cell bodies and dendrites of these cells. In vitro studies with prototypical members of the major Rho subfamilies, RhoA, Rac1 and Cdc42, indicate that Tech binds selectively to and activates RhoA. To assess whether Tech may be involved in the regulation of neuronal morphology, we examined the effects of Tech constructs on the morphology of cortical neurons grown in primary culture. We found that a constitutively active Tech construct, Tech 245DeltaC, decreases the number of dendritic processes present on these neurons. This reduction appears to be mediated by activation of RhoA as it is blocked by insertion of a point mutation into the DH domain of Tech which blocks its ability to activate RhoA or coexpression of a dominant negative RhoA construct. As Tech protein levels increase during post-natal development and remain at peak levels into adulthood, these results indicate that Tech regulates RhoA signaling pathways in developing and mature forebrain neurons.

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