After being severed from the cell body, axons initiate an active degeneration program known as Wallerian degeneration. Although dendrites also seem to have an active injury-induced degeneration program, no endogenous regulators of this process are known. Because microtubule disassembly has been proposed to play a role in both pruning and injury-induced degeneration, we used a Drosophila model to identify microtubule regulators involved in dendrite degeneration. We found that, when levels of fidgetin were reduced using mutant or RNA interference (RNAi) strategies, dendrite degeneration was delayed, but axon degeneration and dendrite pruning proceeded with normal timing. We explored two possible ways in which fidgetin could promote dendrite degeneration: (1) by acting constitutively tomoderate microtubule stability in dendrites, or (2) by acting specifically after injury to disassemble microtubules. When comparing microtubule dynamics and stability in uninjured neurons with and without fidgetin, we could not find evidence that fidgetin regulated microtubule stability constitutively. However, we identified a fidgetin-dependent increase in microtubule dynamics in severed dendrites. We conclude that fidgetin acts after injury to promote disassembly of microtubules in dendrites severed from the cell body.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology