The broad goal of the project is to understand how mutations in the Lis1 protein cause lissencephaly, a childhood epilepsy disorder. Lis1 is important for mitosis and migration in the developing brain. Lis1 interacts with a force-generating microtubule motor, cytoplasmic dynein. Although dynein is critical in mitotic and migrating cells, it is perhaps best known for long distance retrograde trafficking in axons. Axon transport is critical for both function and survival and is a contributing factor in neurodegenerative diseases. Many types of epilepsy are intractable to available drugs that target channels and receptors. Lis1 is expressed in the mature nervous system, and the link between Lis1 and dynein opens up the exciting possibility that transport defects may contribute defective neurons and lead to seizures. Our preliminary data support a role for Lis1 in regulating transport. The proposed experiments will examine the mechanisms contributing to this function, guided in part by the novel finding that Lis1 can stimulate the enzymatic activity of dynein in vitro. We have the following specific aims:
Aim 1. To identify and characterize Lis1 interactions important for dynein stimulation a. Identify interactions disrupted by Lis1 truncation mutants b. Determine if Lis1 binding proteins cooperate with Lis1 to stimulate dynein in vitro c. Examine the effect of Lis1 missense mutations on dynein stimulation in vitro.
Aim 2. To correlate factors that impact dynein stimulation with organelle transport in vivo. a. Determine if dynein is required for the Lis1 overexpression phenotype in Cos-7 cells b. Examine a role for Ndel1 in lysosome distribution and motility in Cos-7 cells c. Determine how Lis1 missense mutants influence organelle transport d. Measure retrograde axon transport in DRG neurons from adult Lis1 mice Aim 3. To measure the impact of Lis1 on motility of individual dynein motors in vitro. a. Use single motor bead motility assays to determine if Lis1 and Ndel1 affect dynein motility b. Test Ndel1 and a phosphomutant for of Ndel1 in the assay. The movement of organelles and proteins within nerves is carried out by force-generating motor proteins. One of these, cytoplasmic dynein, is the principle motor involved in trafficking from synapses to cell bodies, and is crucial to the health and survival of neurons. Lis1 can bind to dynein, but the consequences of this are not clear. Mutations in Lis1 cause a severe brain disorder in humans. The goal of the proposed research is to determine if Lis1 mutations can disrupt dynein- based nerve transport.
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