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Neuropathology. 2012 Aug;32(4):432-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1789.2012.01301.x. Epub 2012 Mar 7.

A unique role of dynein and nud family proteins in corticogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Genetic Disease Research, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan.


Heterozygous LIS1 mutations are the most common cause of human lissencephaly, a human neuronal migration defect, and DCX mutations are the most common cause of X-linked lissencephaly. Lissencephaly is characterized by a smooth cerebral surface, thick cortex and dilated lateral ventricles associated with mental retardation and seizures due to defective neuronal migration. Lissencephaly due to the heterozygous loss of the gene LIS1 is a good example of a haploinsufficiency disorder. LIS1 was deleted or mutated in a large proportion of patients with lissencephaly in a heterozygous fashion. A series of studies discovered that LIS1 is an essential regulator of cytoplasmic dynein. Notably, the role of LIS1 in regulating dynein activity is highly conserved among eukaryotes. In particular, we reported that LIS1 and NDEL1 are essential for dynein transport to the plus-end of microtubules by kinesin, which is essential to maintain the proper distribution of cytoplasmic dynein within the cell. In addition, we report that mNUDC (mammalian NUDC) interacts with kinesin-1 and is required for the anterograde transport of a cytoplasmic dynein complex by kinesin-1. A microtubule organization and motor proteins are further modulated by post-translational modifications, including phosphorylation and palmitoylation. These modifications share a common pathway with mitotic cell division. For example, Aurora-A is activated during neurite elongation, and phosphorylates NDEL1, which facilitates microtubule extension into neurite processes. Elucidations of molecular pathways involving neuronal migrations provide us a chance to design a novel strategy for neurological disorder due to defective neuronal migration. For example, inhibition of calpain protects LIS1 from proteolysis resulting in the augmentation of LIS1 levels, which leads to rescue of the phenotypes that are observed in Lis1+/- mice. Endeavoring to address the regulation of the microtubule network and motor proteins will help in understanding not only corticogenesis but neurodegenerative disorders.

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