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Phosphorylation of collapsin response mediator protein-2 disrupts neuronal maturation in a model of adult neurogenesis: Implications for neurodegenerative disorders

  • Author(s): Crews, Leslie
  • Ruf, Rebecca
  • Patrick, Christina
  • Dumaop, Wilmar
  • Trejo-Morales, Margarita
  • Achim, Cristian L
  • Rockenstein, Edward
  • Masliah, Eliezer
  • et al.
Abstract

Abstract Background Recent studies suggest that the pathogenic process in neurodegenerative disorders may disrupt mature neuronal circuitries and neurogenesis in the adult brain. Abnormal activation of CDK5 is associated with neurodegenerative disorders, and recently a critical role for CDK5 in adult neurogenesis has been identified. We have developed an in vitro model of abnormal CDK5 activation during adult hippocampal neurogenesis, and here we used this model to investigate aberrantly phosphorylated downstream targets of CDK5. Results Abnormal CDK5 activation in an in vitro model of adult neurogenesis results in hyperphosphorylation of collapsin-response mediator protein-2 (CRMP2) and impaired neurite outgrowth. Inhibition of CDK5, or expression of a non-phosphorylatable (S522A) CRMP2 construct reduced CRMP2 hyperphosphorylation, and reversed neurite outgrowth deficits. CRMP2 plays a role in microtubule dynamics; therefore we examined the integrity of microtubules in this model using biochemical and electron microscopy techniques. We found that microtubule organization was disrupted under conditions of CDK5 activation. Finally, to study the relevance of these findings to neurogenesis in neurodegenerative conditions associated with HIV infection, we performed immunochemical analyses of the brains of patients with HIV and transgenic mice expressing HIV-gp120 protein. CDK5-mediated CRMP2 phosphorylation was significantly increased in the hippocampus of patients with HIV encephalitis and in gp120 transgenic mice, and this effect was rescued by genetic down-modulation of CDK5 in the mouse model. Conclusions These results reveal a functional mechanism involving microtubule destabilization through which abnormal CDK5 activation and CRMP2 hyperphosphorylation might contribute to defective neurogenesis in neurodegenerative disorders such as HIV encephalitis.

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