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Mol Cell Neurosci 2022 Dec 01;123:103772. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2022.103772.
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Signal amplification in growth cone gradient sensing by a double negative feedback loop among PTEN, PI(3,4,5)P3 and actomyosin.

Li X , Shim S , Hardin KR , Vanaja KG , Song H , Levchenko A , Ming GL , Zheng JQ .

Axon guidance during neural wiring involves a series of precisely controlled chemotactic events by the motile axonal tip, the growth cone. A fundamental question is how neuronal growth cones make directional decisions in response to extremely shallow gradients of guidance cues with exquisite sensitivity. Here we report that nerve growth cones possess a signal amplification mechanism during gradient sensing process. In neuronal growth cones of Xenopus spinal neurons, phosphatidylinositol-3,4,5-trisphosphate (PIP3), an important signaling molecule in chemotaxis, was actively recruited to the up-gradient side in response to an external gradient of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), resulting in an intracellular gradient with approximate 30-fold amplification of the input. Furthermore, a reverse gradient of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) was induced by BDNF within the growth cone and the increased PTEN activity at the down-gradient side is required for the amplification of PIP3 signals. Mechanistically, the establishment of both positive PIP3 and reverse PTEN gradients depends on the filamentous actin network. Together with computational modeling, our results revealed a double negative feedback loop among PTEN, PIP3 and actomyosin for signal amplification, which is essential for gradient sensing of neuronal growth cones in response to diffusible cues.

PubMed ID: 36055521
PMC ID: PMC9856701
Article link: Mol Cell Neurosci
Grant support: [+]

Genes referenced: bdnf pten tns1