Defects in neocortical neurogenesis and migration cause severe brain developmental disease. LIS1, mutations in which cause lissencephaly (smooth brain), was the first neuronal migration gene to be identified. LIS1 functions in the cytoplasmic dynein pathway, indicating that microtubule motor proteins play a role in brain development. In earlier work supported by this grant we identified multiple discrete LIS1- and dynein- requiring stages in neurogenesis and migration, leading to a comprehensive model for the cellular basis of classical (type I) lissencephaly. We also found LIS1 to be required for the long-mysterious cell-cycle- dependent interkinetic nuclear migration (INM), a general feature of neuroepithelial and radial glial progenitor cell (RGPC) behavior. We have determined further that INM requires the activity of opposite-directed microtubule motor proteins, the plus end-directed unconventional kinesin Kif1a and cytoplasmic dynein. This model appears to explain the underlying mechanism for INM, and should allow us to address further basic and long-standing questions regarding its function and purpose.
The Specific Aims are to determine the mechanism of nuclear transport by Kif1a;to determine how specific inhibition of basal and apical INM affect cell cycle progression and cell fate;and to determine the mechanisms for cell cycle control of INM using small molecule protein kinase inhibitors and other reagents. These issues have important implications for understanding how brain size, composition, and organization are controlled, and how stem cell proliferation is regulated under normal or neoplastic conditions. The analysis of genes responsible for INM and the use of small molecule cell cycle inhibitors will also identify potential targets for modulating neurogenesis and migration during early brain development.

Public Health Relevance

This proposal addresses the mechanisms responsible for neural progenitor cell behavior in the developing brain. We will test the consequences of inhibiting specific genes and protein kinases on the developmental fate of progenitor cells. These studies will identify important new therapeutic targets for developmental conditions, and elucidate the causes of microcephaly, lissencephaly, and heterotopic disorders.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Synapses, Cytoskeleton and Trafficking Study Section (SYN)
Program Officer
Urv, Tiina K
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Columbia University (N.Y.)
Schools of Medicine
New York
United States
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Hu, Daniel Jun-Kit; Baffet, Alexandre Dominique; Nayak, Tania et al. (2013) Dynein recruitment to nuclear pores activates apical nuclear migration and mitotic entry in brain progenitor cells. Cell 154:1300-13
Harms, M B; Ori-McKenney, K M; Scoto, M et al. (2012) Mutations in the tail domain of DYNC1H1 cause dominant spinal muscular atrophy. Neurology 78:1714-20
Vallee, Richard B; McKenney, Richard J; Ori-McKenney, Kassandra M (2012) Multiple modes of cytoplasmic dynein regulation. Nat Cell Biol 14:224-30
Ori-McKenney, Kassandra M; Vallee, Richard B (2011) Neuronal migration defects in the Loa dynein mutant mouse. Neural Dev 6:26
Tsai, Jin-Wu; Vallee, Richard B (2011) Live microscopy of neural stem cell migration in brain slices. Methods Mol Biol 750:131-42
Yi, Julie Y; Ori-McKenney, Kassandra M; McKenney, Richard J et al. (2011) High-resolution imaging reveals indirect coordination of opposite motors and a role for LIS1 in high-load axonal transport. J Cell Biol 195:193-201
McKenney, Richard J; Weil, Sarah J; Scherer, Julian et al. (2011) Mutually exclusive cytoplasmic dynein regulation by NudE-Lis1 and dynactin. J Biol Chem 286:39615-22
Cappello, Silvia; Monzo, Pascale; Vallee, Richard B (2011) NudC is required for interkinetic nuclear migration and neuronal migration during neocortical development. Dev Biol 357:326-35
Tsai, Jin-Wu; Lian, Wei-Nan; Kemal, Shahrnaz et al. (2010) Kinesin 3 and cytoplasmic dynein mediate interkinetic nuclear migration in neural stem cells. Nat Neurosci 13:1463-71
McKenney, Richard J; Vershinin, Michael; Kunwar, Ambarish et al. (2010) LIS1 and NudE induce a persistent dynein force-producing state. Cell 141:304-14

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