Nestin selectively facilitates the phosphorylation of the Lissencephaly-linked protein doublecortin (DCX) by cdk5/p35 to regulate growth cone morphology and Sema3a sensitivity in developing neurons.

April 29, 2020 by rls9ha@virginia.edu


Chris Bott

Nestin selectively facilitates the phosphorylation of the Lissencephaly-linked protein doublecortin (DCX) by cdk5/p35 to regulate growth cone morphology and Sema3a sensitivity in developing neurons.

Nestin selectively facilitates the phosphorylation of the Lissencephaly-linked protein doublecortin (DCX) by cdk5/p35 to regulate growth cone morphology and Sema3a sensitivity in developing neurons.
Bott CJ, McMahon LP, Keil JM, Yap CC, Kwan KY, Winckler B.
J Neurosci. 2020, 40(19):3720–3740.

PMID: 32273484

Abstract

Nestin, an intermediate filament protein widely used as a marker of neural progenitors, was recently found to be expressed transiently in developing cortical neurons in culture and in developing mouse cortex. In young cortical cultures, nestin regulates axonal growth cone morphology. In addition, nestin, which is known to bind the neuronal cdk5/p35 kinase, affects responses to axon guidance cues upstream of cdk5, specifically, to Sema3a. Changes in growth cone morphology require rearrangements of cytoskeletal networks, and changes in microtubules and actin filaments are well studied. In contrast, the roles of intermediate filament proteins in this process are poorly understood, even in cultured neurons. Here, we investigate the molecular mechanism by which nestin affects growth cone morphology and Sema3a sensitivity. We find that nestin selectively facilitates the phosphorylation of the lissencephaly-linked protein doublecortin (DCX) by cdk5/p35, but the phosphorylation of other cdk5 substrates is not affected by nestin. We uncover that this substrate selectivity is based on the ability of nestin to interact with DCX, but not with other cdk5 substrates. Nestin thus creates a selective scaffold for DCX with activated cdk5/p35. Lastly, we use cortical cultures derived from DCX knockout mice to show that the effects of nestin on growth cone morphology and on Sema3a sensitivity are DCX-dependent, thus suggesting a functional role for the DCX-nestin complex in neurons. We propose that nestin changes growth cone behavior by regulating the intracellular kinase signaling environment in developing neurons. The sex of animal subjects is unknown.Significance StatementNestin, an intermediate filament protein highly expressed in neural progenitors, was recently identified in developing neurons where it regulates growth cone morphology and responsiveness to the guidance cue Sema3a. Changes in growth cone morphology require rearrangements of cytoskeletal networks, but the roles of intermediate filaments in this process are poorly understood. We now report that nestin selectively facilitates phosphorylation of the lissencephaly-linked doublecortin (DCX) by cdk5/p35, but the phosphorylation of other cdk5 substrates is not affected. This substrate selectivity is based on preferential scaffolding of DCX, cdk5, and p35 by nestin. Additionally, we demonstrate a functional role for the DCX-nestin complex in neurons. We propose that nestin changes growth cone behavior by regulating intracellular kinase signaling in developing neurons.


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