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Authors: Bottenberg, Wolfgang
Title: Neuronal differentiation and epithelial integrity: the role of Drosophila Short stop
Online publication date: 9-Jan-2007
Year of first publication: 2007
Language: english
Abstract: The nervous system is the most complex organ in animals and the ordered interconnection of neurons is an essential prerequisite for normal behaviour. Neuronal connectivity requires controlled neuronal growth and differentiation. Neuronal growth essentially depends on the actin and microtubule cytoskeleton, and it has become increasingly clear, that crosslinking of these cytoskeletal fractions is a crucial regulatory process. The Drosophila Spectraplakin family member Short stop (Shot) is such a crosslinker and is crucial for several aspects of neuronal growth. Shot comprises various domains: An actin binding domain, a plakin-like domain, a rod domain, calcium responsive EF-hand motifs, a microtubule binding Gas2 domain, a GSR motif and a C-terminal EB1aff domain. Amongst other phenotypes, shot mutant animals exhibit severely reduced dendrites and neuromuscular junctions, the subcellular compartmentalisation of the transmembrane protein Fasciclin2 is affected, but it is also crucially required in other tissues, for example for the integrity of tendon cells, specialised epidermal cells which anchor muscles to the body wall. Despite these striking phenotypes, Shot function is little understood, and especially we do not understand how it can carry out functions as diverse as those described above. To bridge this gap, I capitalised on the genetic possibilities of the model system Drosophila melanogaster and carried out a structure-function analysis in different neurodevelopmental contexts and in tendon cells. To this end, I used targeted gene expression of existing and newly generated Shot deletion constructs in Drosophila embryos and larvae, analyses of different shot mutant alleles, and transfection of Shot constructs into S2 cells or cultured fibroblasts. My analyses reveal that a part of the Shot C-terminus is not essential in the nervous system but in tendon cells where it stabilises microtubules. The precise molecular mechanism underlying this activity is not yet elucidated but, based on the findings presented here, I have developed three alternative testable hypothesis. Thus, either binding of the microtubule plus-end tracking molecule EB1 through an EB1aff domain, microtubulebundling through a GSR rich motif or a combination of both may explain a context-specific requirement of the Shot C-terminus for tendon cell integrity. Furthermore, I find that the calcium binding EF-hand motif in Shot is exclusively required for a subset of neuronal functions of Shot but not in the epidermal tendon cells. These findings pave the way for complementary studies studying the impact of [Ca2+] on Shot function. Besides these differential requirements of Shot domains I find, that most Shot domains are required in the nervous system and tendon cells alike. Thus the microtubule Gas2 domain shows no context specific requirements and is equally essential in all analysed cellular contexts. Furthermore, I could demonstrate a partial requirement of the large spectrin-repeat rod domain of Shot in neuronal and epidermal contexts. I demonstrate that this domain is partially required in processes involving growth and/or tissue stability but dispensable for cellular processes where no mechanical stress resistance is required. In addition, I ndemonstrate that the CH1 domain a part of the N-terminal actin binding domain of Shot is only partially required for all analysed contexts. Thus, I conclude that Shot domains are functioning different in various cellular environments. In addition my study lays the base for future projects, such as the elucidation of Shot function in growth cones. Given the high degree of conservation between Shot and its mammalian orthologues MACF1/ACF7 and BPAG1, I believe that the findings presented in this study will contribute to the general understanding of spectraplakins across species borders.
DDC: 500 Naturwissenschaften
500 Natural sciences and mathematics
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 10 Biologie
Place: Mainz
URN: urn:nbn:de:hebis:77-12059
Version: Original work
Publication type: Dissertation
License: In Copyright
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