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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
Type
Published Article
Journal
Development (Cambridge, England)
Publication Date
Volume
134
Issue
2
Pages
273–284
Identifiers
PMID: 17121810
Source
Medline

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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