Dab2ip (DOC-2/DAB2 interacting protein) is a member of the Ras GTPase-activating protein (GAP) family that has been previously shown to function as a tumor suppressor in several systems. Dab2ip is also highly expressed in the brain where it interacts with Dab1, a key mediator of the Reelin pathway that controls several aspects of brain development and function. We found that Dab2ip is highly expressed in the developing cerebral cortex, but that mutations in the Reelin signaling pathway do not affect its expression. To determine whether Dab2ip plays a role in brain development, we knocked down or over expressed it in neuronal progenitor cells of the embryonic mouse neocortex using in utero electroporation. Dab2ip down-regulation severely disrupts neuronal migration, affecting preferentially late-born principal cortical neurons. Dab2ip overexpression also leads to migration defects. Structure-function experiments in vivo further show that both PH and GRD domains of Dab2ip are important for neuronal migration. A detailed analysis of transfected neurons reveals that Dab2ip down- or up-regulation disrupts the transition from a multipolar to a bipolar neuronal morphology in the intermediate zone. Knock down of Dab2ip in neurons ex-vivo indicates that this protein is necessary for proper neurite development and for the expression of several major neuronal microtubule associated proteins (MAPs), which are important for neurite growth and stabilization. Thus, our study identifies, for the first time, a critical role for Dab2ip in mammalian cortical development and begins to reveal molecular mechanisms that underlie this function.
Lee, G. H., Kim, S. H., Homayouni, R., & D’Arcangelo, G. (2012). Dab2ip Regulates Neuronal Migration and Neurite Outgrowth in the Developing Neocortex. PLoS ONE, 7(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0046592