ABSTRACT: Disabled-1 (Dab1) plays a key role in reelin-mediated neuronal migration during brain development. Tyrosine phosphorylation of Dab1 at two YQXI and two YXVP motifs recruits multiple SH2 domains, resulting in activation of a wide range of signaling cascades. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the coordinated regulation of Dab1 downstream effectors remain poorly understood. Here, we show that alternative splicing results in inclusion of different combinations of YQXI and YXVP motifs in Dab1 isoforms during development. Dab1 variants with partial or complete loss of YQXI motifs are preferentially expressed at early developmental stages, whereas the commonly studied Dab1 is predominantly expressed at late developmental stages. Expression of Dab1 variants in 293T and Neuro2a cells reveals reduced levels or absence of tyrosine phosphorylation in variants that have lost one or both YQXI motifs. We further demonstrate that Dab1 variants differ in their abilities to activate Src and recruit distinct SH2 domains involved in specific downstream signaling pathways. We propose that coordinated expression of specific Dab1 isoforms in different populations of cells in the developing brain contributes to precise neuronal migration by modulating the activity of subsets of Dab1 downstream effectors.
Molecular and cellular biology 05/2012; 32(14):2794-808. · 6.06 Impact Factor