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Mol. Cell. Biol. 23 (24): 9293-9302

Copyright © 2003 by the American Society for Microbiology. All rights reserved.

Regulation of Protein Tyrosine Kinase Signaling by Substrate Degradation during Brain Development

Lionel Arnaud, Bryan A. Ballif, and Jonathan A. Cooper*

Division of Basic Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington 98109

Received for publication 30 June 2003. Revision received 4 August 2003. Accepted for publication 5 September 2003.

Abstract: Disabled-1 (Dab1) is a cytoplasmic adaptor protein that regulates neuronal migrations during mammalian brain development. Dab1 function in vivo depends on tyrosine phosphorylation, which is stimulated by extracellular Reelin and requires Src family kinases. Reelin signaling also negatively regulates Dab1 protein levels in vivo, and reduced Dab1 levels may be part of the mechanism that regulates neuronal migration. We have made use of mouse embryo cortical neuron cultures in which Reelin induces Dab1 tyrosine phosphorylation and Src family kinase activation. We have found that Dab1 is normally stable, but in response to Reelin it becomes polyubiquitinated and degraded via the proteasome pathway. We have established that tyrosine phosphorylation of Dab1 is required for its degradation. Dab1 molecules lacking phosphotyrosine are not degraded in neurons in which the Dab1 degradation pathway is active. The requirements for Reelin-induced degradation of Dab1 in vitro correctly predict Dab1 protein levels in vivo in different mutant mice. We also provide evidence that Dab1 serine/threonine phosphorylation may be important for Dab1 tyrosine phosphorylation. Our data provide the first evidence for how Reelin down-regulates Dab1 protein expression in vivo. Dab1 degradation may be important for ensuring a transient Reelin response and may play a role in normal brain development.

* Corresponding author. Mailing address: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Mailstop A2-025, 1100 Fairview Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98109-1024. Phone: (206) 667-4454. Fax: (206) 667-6522. E-mail: jcooper{at}

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