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J Neurosci. 2006 Feb 8;26(6):1767-75.

Impaired neuronal positioning and dendritogenesis in the neocortex after cell-autonomous Dab1 suppression.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Department of Neurology, Program in Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Reelin and Disabled 1 (Dab1) are essential for positioning migrating neurons in the developing neocortex. Cell-autonomous RNA interference-mediated suppression of Dab1 in migrating neurons destined for layer 2/3 shifted the median position of these cells to deeper positions within the cortex. At the time of migration arrest [embryonic day 20 (E20) to E21], Dab1-suppressed cells were underrepresented in the upper approximately 40 microm of the cortex compared with controls, suggesting that Dab1 is essential for somal translocation through the cell-dense cortical plate. Closer examination of the morphology of Dab1-suppressed neurons at E20 revealed simplified leading processes that are less likely to contact the marginal zone (MZ), in which high levels of Reelin are expressed. Examination of Dab1-suppressed cells 3 d later (postnatal day 2) revealed simplified dendrites that are also less likely to contact the MZ. These data reveal a cell-autonomous role of Dab1 in dendritogenesis in the neocortex and suggest that remodeling of the leading process of a migrating neuron into a nascent dendrite by Reelin/Dab1 signaling plays an important role in cell positioning.

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