Loss of Drosophila melanogaster p21-activated kinase 3 suppresses defects in synapse structure and function caused by spastin mutations.
ABSTRACT Microtubules are dynamic structures that must elongate, disassemble, and be cleaved into smaller pieces for proper neuronal development and function. The AAA ATPase Spastin severs microtubules along their lengths and is thought to regulate the balance between long, stable filaments and shorter fragments that seed extension or are transported. In both Drosophila and humans, loss of Spastin function results in reduction of synaptic connections and disabling motor defects. To gain insight into how spastin is regulated, we screened the Drosophila melanogaster genome for deletions that modify a spastin overexpression phenotype, eye size reduction. One suppressor region deleted p21-activated kinase 3 (pak3), which encodes a member of the Pak family of actin-regulatory enzymes, but whose in vivo function is unknown. We show that pak3 mutants have only mild synaptic defects at the larval neuromuscular junction, but exhibit a potent genetic interaction with spastin mutations. Aberrant bouton morphology, microtubule distribution, and synaptic transmission caused by spastin loss of function are all restored to wild type when pak3 is simultaneously reduced. Neuronal overexpression of pak3 induces actin-rich thin projections, suggesting that it functions in vivo to promote filopodia during presynaptic terminal arborization. pak3 therefore regulates synapse development in vivo, and when mutated, suppresses the synaptic defects that result from spastin loss.
Article: Hereditary spastic paraplegia: advances in genetic research. Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia Working group.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) is a diverse group of inherited disorders characterized by progressive lower-extremity spasticity and weakness. Insight into the genetic basis of these disorders is expanding rapidly. Uncomplicated autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive, and X-linked HSP are genetically heterogeneous: different genes cause clinically indistinguishable disorders. A locus for autosomal recessive HSP is on chromosome 8q. Loci for autosomal dominant HSP have been identified on chromosomes 2p, 14q, and 15q. One locus (Xq22) has been identified for X-linked, uncomplicated HSP and shown to be due to a proteolipoprotein gene mutation in one family. The existence of HSP families for whom these loci are excluded indicates the existence of additional, as yet unidentified HSP loci. There is marked clinical similarity among HSP families linked to each of these loci, suggesting that gene products from HSP loci may participate in a common biochemical cascade, which, if disturbed, results in axonal degeneration that is maximal at the ends of the longest CNS axons. Identifying the single gene defects that cause HSPs distal axonopathy may provide insight into factors responsible for development and maintenance of axonal integrity. We review clinical, genetic, and pathologic features of HSP and present differential diagnosis and diagnostic criteria of this important group of disorders. We discuss polymorphic microsatellite markers useful for genetic linkage analysis and genetic counseling in HSP.Neurology 07/1996; 46(6):1507-14. · 8.31 Impact Factor
Article: Trio combines with dock to regulate Pak activity during photoreceptor axon pathfinding in Drosophila.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Correct pathfinding by Drosophila photoreceptor axons requires recruitment of p21-activated kinase (Pak) to the membrane by the SH2-SH3 adaptor Dock. Here, we identify the guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) Trio as another essential component in photoreceptor axon guidance. Regulated exchange activity of one of the two Trio GEF domains is critical for accurate pathfinding. This GEF domain activates Rac, which in turn activates Pak. Mutations in trio result in projection defects similar to those observed in both Pak and dock mutants, and trio interacts genetically with Rac, Pak, and dock. These data define a signaling pathway from Trio to Rac to Pak that links guidance receptors to the growth cone cytoskeleton. We propose that distinct signals transduced via Trio and Dock act combinatorially to activate Pak in spatially restricted domains within the growth cone, thereby controlling the direction of axon extension.Cell 05/2000; 101(3):283-94. · 32.40 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Microtubules are hollow tubes some 25 nm in diameter participating in the eukaryotic cytoskeleton. They are built from alphabeta-tubulin heterodimers that associate to form protofilaments running lengthwise along the microtubule wall with the beta-tubulin subunit facing the microtubule plus end conferring a structural polarity. The alpha- and beta-tubulins are highly conserved. A third member of the tubulin family, gamma-tubulin, plays a role in microtubule nucleation and assembly. Other members of the tubulin family appear to be involved in microtubule nucleation. Microtubule assembly is accompanied by hydrolysis of GTP associated with beta-tubulin so that microtubules consist principally of 'GDP-tubulin' stabilized at the plus end by a short 'cap'. An important property of microtubules is dynamic instability characterized by growth randomly interrupted by pauses and shrinkage. Many proteins interact with microtubules within the cell and are involved in essential functions such as microtubule growth, stabilization, destabilization, and interactions with chromosomes during cell division. The motor proteins kinesin and dynein use microtubules as pathways for transport and are also involved in cell division. Crystallography and electron microscopy are providing a structural basis for understanding the interactions of microtubules with antimitotic drugs, with motor proteins and with plus end tracking proteins.Molecular Biotechnology 07/2009; 43(2):177-91. · 2.17 Impact Factor