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Mol Cell Biol. 2010 Sep;30(17):4339-53. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00545-10. Epub 2010 Jul 6.

The early isoform of disabled-1 functions independently of Reelin-mediated tyrosine phosphorylation in chick retina.

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Department of Oncology, University of Alberta, Cross Cancer Institute, Edmonton, AB, Canada.


The Reelin-Disabled-1 (Dab1) signaling pathway plays a key role in the positioning of neurons during brain development. Two alternatively spliced Dab1 isoforms have been identified in chick retina and brain: Dab1-E, expressed at early stages of development, and Dab1-L (commonly referred to as Dab1), expressed at later developmental stages. The well-studied Dab1-L serves as an adaptor protein linking Reelin signal to its downstream effectors; however, nothing is known regarding the role of Dab1-E. Here we show that Dab1-E is primarily expressed in proliferating retinal progenitor cells whereas Dab1-L is found exclusively in differentiated neuronal cells. In contrast to Dab1-L, which is tyrosine phosphorylated upon Reelin stimulation, Dab1-E is not tyrosine phosphorylated and may function independently of Reelin. Knockdown of Dab1-E in chick retina results in a significant reduction in the number of proliferating cells and promotes ganglion cell differentiation. Our results demonstrate a role for Dab1-E in the maintenance of the retinal progenitor pool and determination of cell fate.

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