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Dev Biol. 2010 May 1;341(1):213-21. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2010.02.032. Epub 2010 Mar 1.

GDP-bound Galphai2 regulates spinal motor neuron differentiation through interaction with GDE2.

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  • 1The Solomon Snyder Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 725 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


Galphai proteins play major roles in the developing and mature nervous system, ranging from the control of cellular proliferation to modulating synaptic plasticity. Although best known for transducing signals from activated seven transmembrane G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) when bound to GTP, key cellular functions for Galphai-GDP are beginning to emerge. Here, we show that Galphai2 is expressed in motor neuron progenitors that are differentiating to form postmitotic motor neurons in the developing spinal cord. Ablation of Galphai2 causes deficits in motor neuron generation but no changes in motor neuron progenitor patterning or specification, consistent with a function for Galphai2 in regulating motor neuron differentiation. We show that Galphai2 function is mediated in part by its interaction with GDE2, a known regulator of motor neuron differentiation, and that disruption of the GDE2/Galphai2 complex in vivo causes motor neuron deficits analogous to Galphai2 ablation. Galphai2 preferentially associates with GDE2 when bound to GDP, invoking GPCR-independent functions for Galphai2 in the control of spinal motor neuron differentiation.

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