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Cell Signal. 2009 Nov;21(11):1586-94. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2009.06.005. Epub 2009 Jul 2.

Sorting nexin 3, a protein upregulated by lithium, contains a novel phosphatidylinositol-binding sequence and mediates neurite outgrowth in N1E-115 cells.

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Department of Pharmacology, National Research Institute for Child Health and Development, 2-10-1 Okura, Setagaya, Tokyo 157-8535, Japan.


Lithium, a drug in the treatment of bipolar disorder, modulates many aspects of neuronal developmental processes such as neurogenesis, survival, and neuritogenesis. However, the underlying mechanism still remains to be understood. Here, we show that lithium upregulates the expression of sorting nexin 3 (SNX3), one of the Phox (PX) domain-containing proteins involved in endosomal sorting, and regulates neurite outgrowth in mouse N1E-115 neuroblastoma cells. The inhibition of SNX3 function by its knockdown decreases lithium-induced outgrowth of neurites. Transfection of the full-length SNX3 construct into cells facilitates the outgrowth. We also find that the C-terminus, as well as the PX domain, of SNX3 has a functional binding sequence with phosphatidylinositol monophosphates. Transfection of the C-terminal deletion mutant or only the C-terminus does not have an effect on the outgrowth. These results suggest that SNX3, a protein upregulated by lithium, is an as yet unknown regulator of neurite formation and that it contains another functional phosphatidylinositol phosphate-binding region at the C-terminus.

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