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J Neurosci. 2013 Oct 2;33(40):15735-46. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1939-13.2013.

Filamin A regulates neuronal migration through brefeldin A-inhibited guanine exchange factor 2-dependent Arf1 activation.

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Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


Periventricular heterotopias is a malformation of cortical development, characterized by ectopic neuronal nodules around ventricle lining and caused by an initial migration defect during early brain development. Human mutations in the Filamin A (FLNA) and ADP-ribosylation factor guanine exchange factor 2 [ARFGEF2; encoding brefeldin-A-inhibited guanine exchange factor-2 (BIG2)] genes give rise to this disorder. Previously, we have reported that Big2 inhibition impairs neuronal migration and binds to FlnA, and its loss promotes FlnA phosphorylation. FlnA phosphorylation dictates FlnA-actin binding affinity and consequently alters focal adhesion size and number to effect neuronal migration. Here we show that FlnA loss similarly impairs migration, reciprocally enhances Big2 expression, but also alters Big2 subcellular localization in both null and conditional FlnA mice. FlnA phosphorylation promotes relocalization of Big2 from the Golgi toward the lipid ruffles, thereby activating Big2-dependent Arf1 at the cell membrane. Loss of FlnA phosphorylation or Big2 function impairs Arf1-dependent vesicle trafficking at the periphery, and Arf1 is required for maintenance of cell-cell junction connectivity and focal adhesion assembly. Loss of Arf1 activity disrupts neuronal migration and cell adhesion. Collectively, these studies demonstrate a potential mechanism whereby coordinated interactions between actin (through FlnA) and vesicle trafficking (through Big2-Arf) direct the assembly and disassembly of membrane protein complexes required for neuronal migration and neuroependymal integrity.

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