Cell Biology

Lis1 Lis1 Lis1

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Science  27 Oct 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5492, pp. 675
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5492.675c

A variety of brain disorders have been linked to the lack of one functional copy of the Lis1 gene. The function of the Lis1 protein itself has not been clear. Now three independent studies have characterized some of the cellular processes in which Lis1 is implicated.

Because a total genetic knockout of Lis1 is fatal, Smith et al. generated heterozygous Lis1 knockout mice and examined their phenotype. They observed a role for Lis1 in regulating cytoskeletal dynamics. Lis1 interacts with the microtubule motor dynein and normal levels of Lis1 were important in promoting neuronal migration and axon growth.

Faulkner et al. focused on the effects of expressing Lis1 protein in cultured mammalian cells. They also found an interaction between Lis1 protein and dynein and demonstrated that high levels of Lis1 protein interfered with mitosis. Liu et al. found that Drosophila Lis1 was required for proliferation of neuroblasts and for the development of normal neuronal dendrites and for axonal transport.

Thus, Lis1 is a key player in neuronal motor dynamics both at the level of neuronal cell proliferation and at the level of ongoing motor-driven processes in neurons. — SMH

Nature Cell Biol. 2, 767; 784; 776 (2000).

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