Netrin-1 induces local translation of down syndrome cell adhesion molecule in axonal growth cones

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Down syndrome cell adhesion molecule (DSCAM) plays an important role in many neurodevelopmental processes such as axon guidance, dendrite arborization, and synapse formation. DSCAM is located in the Down syndrome trisomic region of human chromosome 21 and may contribute to the Down syndrome brain phenotype, which includes a reduction in the formation of long-distance connectivity. The local translation of a select group of mRNA transcripts within growth cones is necessary for the formation of appropriate neuronal connectivity. Interestingly, we have found thatDscammRNA is localized to growth cones of mouse hippocampal neurons, and is dynamically regulated in response to the axon guidance molecule, netrin-1. Furthermore, netrin-1 stimulation results in an increase in locally translated DSCAM protein in growth cones. Deleted in colorectal cancer (DCC), a netrin-1 receptor, is required for the netrin-1-induced increase inDscammRNA local translation. We also find that two RNA-binding proteins—fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) and cytoplasmic polyadenylation element binding protein (CPEB)—colocalize withDscammRNA in growth cones, suggesting their regulation ofDscammRNA localization and translation. Finally, overexpression of DSCAM in mouse cortical neurons results in a severe stunting of axon outgrowth and branching, suggesting that an increase in DSCAM protein results in a structural change having functional consequences. Taken together, these results suggest that netrin-1-induced local translation ofDscammRNA during embryonic development may be an important mechanism to regulate axon growth and guidance in the developing nervous system. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol 76: 799–816, 2016

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