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Patterning the Mammalian Brain

10/10/2007

Patterning the Mammalian Brain



In a paper published online ahead of its October 15th print date, Dr. Aaron DiAntonio (Washington University) and colleagues reveal that Phr1 – the sole mammalian ortholog of the invertebrate ubiquitin ligase genes highwire (in Drosophila) and rpm-1 (in C. elegans) – also plays a crucial role in sculpting the mammalian nervous system, albeit in a distinctly different manner. Using targeted conditional Phr1 mouse mutants, the researchers determined that Phr1, like highwire and rpm-1, regulates formation of the neuromuscular synapse. However, unlike its invertebrate orthologs, Phr1 guides axon tract formation both cell-nonautonomously and independent of the enzyme DLK.

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