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Nat Neurosci. 2012 Jan 15;15(3):373-80, S1-2. doi: 10.1038/nn.3020.

A role for mDia, a Rho-regulated actin nucleator, in tangential migration of interneuron precursors.

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Department of Pharmacology, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan.


In brain development, distinct types of migration, radial migration and tangential migration, are shown by excitatory and inhibitory neurons, respectively. Whether these two types of migration operate by similar cellular mechanisms remains unclear. We examined neuronal migration in mice deficient in mDia1 (also known as Diap1) and mDia3 (also known as Diap2), which encode the Rho-regulated actin nucleators mammalian diaphanous homolog 1 (mDia1) and mDia3. mDia deficiency impaired tangential migration of cortical and olfactory inhibitory interneurons, whereas radial migration and consequent layer formation of cortical excitatory neurons were unaffected. mDia-deficient neuroblasts exhibited reduced separation of the centrosome from the nucleus and retarded nuclear translocation. Concomitantly, anterograde F-actin movement and F-actin condensation at the rear, which occur during centrosomal and nuclear movement of wild-type cells, respectively, were impaired in mDia-deficient neuroblasts. Blockade of Rho-associated protein kinase (ROCK), which regulates myosin II, also impaired nuclear translocation. These results suggest that Rho signaling via mDia and ROCK critically regulates nuclear translocation through F-actin dynamics in tangential migration, whereas this mechanism is dispensable in radial migration.

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