Journal Article A short splicing isoform of afadin suppresses the cortical axon branching in a dominant-negative manner

Umeda, Kentaro  ,  Iwasawa, Nariaki  ,  Negishi, Manabu  ,  Oinuma, Izumi

26 ( 10 )  , pp.1957 - 1970 , 2015-05-15 , American Society for Cell Biology
Precise wiring patterns of axons are among the remarkable features of neuronal circuit formation, and establishment of the proper neuronal network requires control of outgrowth, branching, and guidance of axons. R-Ras is a Ras-family small GTPase that has essential roles in multiple phases of axonal development. We recently identified afadin, an F-actin-binding protein, as an effector of R-Ras mediating axon branching through F-actin reorganization. Afadin comprises two isoforms-l-afadin, having the F-actin-binding domain, and s-afadin, lacking the F-actin-binding domain. Compared with l-afadin, s-afadin, the short splicing variant of l-afadin, contains RA domains but lacks the F-actin-binding domain. Neurons express both isoforms; however, the function of s-afadin in brain remains unknown. Here we identify s-afadin as an endogenous inhibitor of cortical axon branching. In contrast to the abundant and constant expression of l-afadin throughout neuronal development, the expression of s-afadin is relatively low when cortical axons branch actively. Ectopic expression and knockdown of s-afadin suppress and promote branching, respectively. s-Afadin blocks the R-Ras-mediated membrane translocation of l-afadin and axon branching by inhibiting the binding of l-afadin to R-Ras. Thus s-afadin acts as a dominant-negative isoform in R-Ras-afadin-regulated axon branching.

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