Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

New Dystrophin/Dystroglycan interactors control neuron behavior in Drosophila eye

April K Marrone1, Mariya M Kucherenko1, Valentyna M Rishko12 and Halyna R Shcherbata1*

Author Affiliations

1 Max Planck Institute for biophysical chemistry, Research group of Gene Expression and Signaling, Am Fassberg 11, 37077, Goettingen, Germany

2 Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Department of Genetics and Biotechnology, Hrushevsky 4, 79005, Ukraine

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BMC Neuroscience 2011, 12:93  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-12-93

Published: 26 September 2011

Abstract

Background

The Dystrophin Glycoprotein Complex (DGC) is a large multi-component complex that is well known for its function in muscle tissue. When the main components of the DGC, Dystrophin (Dys) and Dystroglycan (Dg) are affected cognitive impairment and mental retardation in addition to muscle degeneration can occur. Previously we performed an array of genetic screens using a Drosophila model for muscular dystrophy in order to find novel DGC interactors aiming to elucidate the signaling role(s) in which the complex is involved. Since the function of the DGC in the brain and nervous system has not been fully defined, we have here continued to analyze the DGC modifiers' function in the developing Drosophila brain and eye.

Results

Given that disruption of Dys and Dg leads to improper photoreceptor axon projections into the lamina and eye neuron elongation defects during development, we have determined the function of previously screened components and their genetic interaction with the DGC in this tissue. Our study first found that mutations in chif, CG34400, Nrk, Lis1, capt and Cam cause improper axon path-finding and loss of SP2353, Grh, Nrk, capt, CG34400, vimar, Lis1 and Cam cause shortened rhabdomere lengths. We determined that Nrk, mbl, capt and Cam genetically interact with Dys and/or Dg in these processes. It is notable that most of the neuronal DGC interacting components encountered are involved in regulation of actin dynamics.

Conclusions

Our data indicate possible DGC involvement in the process of cytoskeletal remodeling in neurons. The identification of new components that interact with the DGC not only helps to dissect the mechanism of axon guidance and eye neuron differentiation but also provides a great opportunity for understanding the signaling mechanisms by which the cell surface receptor Dg communicates via Dys with the actin cytoskeleton.