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Mol Biol Cell. 2014 May;25(9):1458-71. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E13-04-0215. Epub 2014 Mar 5.

Nonenzymatic domains of Kalirin7 contribute to spine morphogenesis through interactions with phosphoinositides and Abl.

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Department of Neuroscience, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06030 WM Keck Foundation Biotechnology Resource Laboratory, Yale/NIDA Neuroproteomics Center, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511.


Like several Rho GDP/GTP exchange factors (GEFs), Kalirin7 (Kal7) contains an N-terminal Sec14 domain and multiple spectrin repeats. A natural splice variant of Kalrn lacking the Sec14 domain and four spectrin repeats is unable to increase spine formation; our goal was to understand the function of the Sec14 and spectrin repeat domains. Kal7 lacking its Sec14 domain still increased spine formation, but the spines were short. Strikingly, Kal7 truncation mutants containing only the Sec14 domain and several spectrin repeats increased spine formation. The Sec14 domain bound phosphoinositides, a minor but crucial component of cellular membranes, and binding was increased by a phosphomimetic mutation. Expression of KalSec14-GFP in nonneuronal cells impaired receptor-mediated endocytosis, linking Kal7 to membrane trafficking. Consistent with genetic studies placing Abl, a non-receptor tyrosine kinase, and the Drosophila orthologue of Kalrn into the same signaling pathway, Abl1 phosphorylated two sites in the fourth spectrin repeat of Kalirin, increasing its sensitivity to calpain-mediated degradation. Treating cortical neurons of the wild-type mouse, but not the Kal7(KO) mouse, with an Abl inhibitor caused an increase in linear spine density. Phosphorylation of multiple sites in the N-terminal Sec14/spectrin region of Kal7 may allow coordination of the many signaling pathways contributing to spine morphogenesis.

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