Publications by authors named "Alison T DePew"

2 Publications

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Conservation and Innovation: Versatile Roles for LRP4 in Nervous System Development.

J Dev Biol 2021 Mar 14;9(1). Epub 2021 Mar 14.

Department of Neuroscience, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.

As the nervous system develops, connections between neurons must form to enable efficient communication. This complex process of synaptic development requires the coordination of a series of intricate mechanisms between partner neurons to ensure pre- and postsynaptic differentiation. Many of these mechanisms employ transsynaptic signaling via essential secreted factors and cell surface receptors to promote each step of synaptic development. One such cell surface receptor, LRP4, has emerged as a synaptic organizer, playing a critical role in conveying extracellular signals to initiate diverse intracellular events during development. To date, LRP4 is largely known for its role in development of the mammalian neuromuscular junction, where it functions as a receptor for the synaptogenic signal Agrin to regulate synapse development. Recently however, LRP4 has emerged as a synapse organizer in the brain, where new functions for the protein continue to arise, adding further complexity to its already versatile roles. Additional findings indicate that LRP4 plays a role in disorders of the nervous system, including myasthenia gravis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Alzheimer's disease, demonstrating the need for further study to understand disease etiology. This review will highlight our current knowledge of how LRP4 functions in the nervous system, focusing on the diverse developmental roles and different modes this essential cell surface protein uses to ensure the formation of robust synaptic connections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jdb9010009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8006230PMC
March 2021

The Tenets of Teneurin: Conserved Mechanisms Regulate Diverse Developmental Processes in the Nervous System.

Front Neurosci 2019 30;13:27. Epub 2019 Jan 30.

Department of Neuroscience, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, United States.

To successfully integrate a neuron into a circuit, a myriad of developmental events must occur correctly and in the correct order. Neurons must be born and grow out toward a destination, responding to guidance cues to direct their path. Once arrived, each neuron must segregate to the correct sub-region before sorting through a milieu of incorrect partners to identify the correct partner with which they can connect. Finally, the neuron must make a synaptic connection with their correct partner; a connection that needs to be broadly maintained throughout the life of the animal while remaining responsive to modes of plasticity and pruning. Though many intricate molecular mechanisms have been discovered to regulate each step, recent work showed that a single family of proteins, the Teneurins, regulates a host of these developmental steps in - an example of biological adaptive reuse. Teneurins first influence axon guidance during early development. Once neurons arrive in their target regions, Teneurins enable partner matching and synapse formation in both the central and peripheral nervous systems. Despite these diverse processes and systems, the Teneurins use conserved mechanisms to achieve these goals, as defined by three tenets: (1) transsynaptic interactions with each other, (2) membrane stabilization via an interaction with and regulation of the cytoskeleton, and (3) a role for presynaptic Ten-a in regulating synaptic function. These processes are further distinguished by (1) the nature of the transsynaptic interaction - homophilic interactions (between the same Teneurins) to engage partner matching and heterophilic interactions (between different Teneurins) to enable synaptic connectivity and the proper apposition of pre- and postsynaptic sites and (2) the location of cytoskeletal regulation (presynaptic cytoskeletal regulation in the CNS and postsynaptic regulation of the cytoskeleton at the NMJ). Thus, both the roles and the mechanisms governing them are conserved across processes and synapses. Here, we will highlight the contributions of synaptic biology to our understanding of the Teneurins, discuss the mechanistic conservation that allows the Teneurins to achieve common neurodevelopmental goals, and present new data in support of these points. Finally, we will posit the next steps for understanding how this remarkably versatile family of proteins functions to control multiple distinct events in the creation of a nervous system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2019.00027DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6363694PMC
January 2019