Individual microtubules (MTs) in the axon consist of a stable domain that is highly acetylated and a labile domain that is not. Traditional MT-severing proteins preferentially cut the MT in the stable domain. In Drosophila, fidgetin behaves in this fashion, with targeted knockdown resulting in neurons with a higher fraction of acetylated (stable) MT mass in their axons. Conversely, in a fidgetin knockout mouse, the fraction of MT mass that is acetylated is lower than in the control animal. When fidgetin is depleted from cultured rodent neurons, there is a 62% increase in axonal MT mass, all of which is labile. Concomitantly, there are more minor processes and a longer axon. Together with experimental data showing that vertebrate fidgetin targets unacetylated tubulin, these results indicate that vertebrate fidgetin (unlike its fly ortholog) regulates neuronal development by tamping back the expansion of the labile domains of MTs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)