Kinetochore protein Spindly controls microtubule polarity in Drosophila axons

Urko Del Castillo*, Hans Arno J. Müller, Vladimir I. Gelfand

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Microtubule polarity in axons and dendrites defines the direction of intracellular transport in neurons. Axons contain arrays of uniformly polarized microtubules with plus-ends facing the tips of the processes (plus-end-out), while dendrites contain microtubules with a minus-end-out orientation. It has been shown that cytoplas-mic dynein, targeted to cortical actin, removes minus-end-out micro-tubules from axons. Here we have identified Spindly, a protein known for recruitment of dynein to kinetochores in mitosis, as a key factor required for dynein-dependent microtubule sorting in axons of Drosophila neurons. Depletion of Spindly affects polarity of axonal microtubules in vivo and in primary neuronal cultures. In addition to these defects, depletion of Spindly in neurons causes major collapse of axonal patterning in the third-instar larval brain as well as severe coordination impairment in adult flies. These defects can be fully rescued by full-length Spindly, but not by variants with mutations in its dynein-binding site. Biochemical analysis demonstrated that Spindly binds F-actin, suggesting that Spindly serves as a link between dynein and cortical actin in axons. Therefore, Spindly plays a critical role during neurodevelopment by mediating dynein-driven sorting of axonal microtubules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume117
Issue number22
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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