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J Neurochem. 2013 Jun;125(5):685-97. doi: 10.1111/jnc.12230. Epub 2013 Mar 25.

GSK-3α/β-mediated phosphorylation of CRMP-2 regulates activity-dependent dendritic growth.

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Department of Pharmacology and the Proteomics Center, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.


Neuronal activity shapes the dendritic arbour; however, most of the molecular players in this process remain to be identified. We observed that depolarization-induced neuronal activity causes an increase in the phosphorylation of glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3)α/β on Ser21/9 in cerebellar granule neurons. Using several approaches, including gene knockdown and GSK-3α/β(S21A/S21A/S9A/S9A) double knockin mice, we demonstrated that both GSK-3β and GSK-3α mediate activity-dependent dendritic growth and that Ser21/9 phosphorylation of GSK-3α/β plays an important role in this process. Collapsin response mediator protein-2 (CRMP-2), which is crucial for axon development, is phosphorylated at Thr514 and inactivated by GSK-3. We found CRMP-2 was located mainly in the dendrites of cerebellar granule neurons, in contrast to the axonal distribution in hippocampal neurons. Over-expression of CRMP-2 promoted and knockdown of CRMP-2 impaired dendritic growth, suggesting that CRMP-2 is necessary and sufficient for activity-dependent dendritic development. Furthermore, silencing CRMP-2 completely blocked the dendritic growth-promoting effects of GSK-3 knockdown, and expression of Thr514 nonphosphorylated form of CRMP-2 counteracted the inhibitory effect of constitutively active GSK-3. This data indicate that CRMP-2 functions downstream of GSK-3. Together, these findings identify a novel GSK-3/CRMP-2 pathway that connects neuronal activity to dendritic growth.

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