The E3 ubiquitin ligase Cdc20-anaphase promoting complex (Cdc20-APC) has important roles in the control of the cell division cycle. Yang et al. now show that Cdc20-APC also appears to be required for proper formation of synapses by developing neurons in the rat brain. When Cdc20-APC was depleted from cultured neurons or in the brains of developing rat pups, synapse formation was inhibited. The brain-enriched transcription factor NeuroD2 was shown to be a possible target of Cdc20-APC–stimulated degradation. NeuroD2 may act by promoting synthesis of Complexin II, a protein that regulates synaptic vesicle fusion.
Y. Yang, A. H. Kim, T. Yamada, B. Wu, P. M. Bilimoria, Y. Ikeuchi, N. de la Iglesia, J. Shen, A. Bonni, A Cdc20-APC ubiquitin signaling pathway regulates presynaptic differentiation. Science 326, 575–578 (2009). [Abstract] [Full Text]