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beta-Spectrin functions independently of Ankyrin to regulate the establishment and maintenance of axon connections in the Drosophila embryonic CNS.

Authors
  • Garbe, David S
  • Das, Amlan
  • Dubreuil, Ronald R
  • Bashaw, Greg J
Type
Published Article
Journal
Development (Cambridge, England)
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2007
Volume
134
Issue
2
Pages
273–284
Identifiers
PMID: 17121810
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

alpha- and beta-Spectrin are major components of a submembrane cytoskeletal network connecting actin filaments to integral plasma membrane proteins. Besides its structural role in red blood cells, the Spectrin network is thought to function in non-erythroid cells during protein targeting and membrane domain formation. Here, we demonstrate that beta-Spectrin is required in neurons for proper midline axon guidance in the Drosophila embryonic CNS. In beta-spectrin mutants many axons inappropriately cross the CNS midline, suggesting a role for beta-Spectrin in midline repulsion. Surprisingly, neither the Ankyrin-binding nor the pleckstrin homology (PH) domains of beta-Spectrin are required for accurate guidance decisions. alpha-Spectrin is dependent upon beta-Spectrin for its normal subcellular localization and/or maintenance, whereas alpha-spectrin mutants exhibit a redistribution of beta-Spectrin to the axon scaffold. beta-spectrin mutants show specific dose-dependent genetic interactions with the midline repellent slit and its neuronal receptor roundabout (robo), but not with other guidance molecules. The results suggest that beta-Spectrin contributes to midline repulsion through the regulation of Slit-Robo pathway components. We propose that the Spectrin network is playing a role independently of Ankyrin in the establishment and/or maintenance of specialized membrane domains containing guidance molecules that ensure the fidelity of axon repulsion at the midline.

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