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J Neurochem. 2008 Feb;104(3):731-44. Epub 2007 Nov 6.

CHL1 promotes Sema3A-induced growth cone collapse and neurite elaboration through a motif required for recruitment of ERM proteins to the plasma membrane.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7260, USA.


Close homolog of L1 (CHL1) is a transmembrane cell adhesion molecule with unique developmental functions in cortical neuronal positioning and dendritic projection within the L1 family, as well as shared functions in promotion of integrin-dependent neurite outgrowth and semaphorin3A (Sema3A)-mediated axon repulsion. The molecular mechanisms by which CHL1 mediates these diverse functions are obscure. Here it is demonstrated using a cytofluorescence assay that CHL1 is able to recruit ezrin, a member of the ezrin-radixin-moesin (ERM) family of filamentous actin binding proteins to the plasma membrane, and that this requires a membrane-proximal motif (RGGKYSV) in the CHL1 cytoplasmic domain. This sequence in CHL1 is shown to have novel functions necessary for Sema3A-induced growth cone collapse and CHL1-dependent neurite outgrowth and branching in cortical embryonic neurons. In addition, stimulation of haptotactic cell migration and cellular adhesion to fibronectin by CHL1 depends on the CHL1/ERM recruitment motif. These findings suggest that a direct or indirect interaction between CHL1 and ERM proteins mediates Sema3A-induced growth cone collapse as well as neurite outgrowth and branching, which are essential determinants of axon guidance and connectivity in cortical development.

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