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Persistence of the cell-cycle checkpoint kinase Wee1 in SadA- and SadB-deficient neurons disrupts neuronal polarity.

Muller M., Lutter D., Puschel A.W.

Wee1 is well characterized as a cell-cycle checkpoint kinase that regulates the entry into mitosis in dividing cells. Here we identify a novel function of Wee1 in postmitotic neurons during the establishment of distinct axonal and dendritic compartments, which is an essential step during neuronal development. Wee1 is expressed in unpolarized neurons but is downregulated after neurons have extended an axon. Suppression of Wee1 impairs the formation of minor neurites but does not interfere with axon formation. However, neuronal polarity is disrupted when neurons fail to downregulate Wee1. The kinases SadA and SadB (Sad kinases) phosphorylate Wee1 and are required to initiate its downregulation in polarized neurons. Wee1 expression persists in neurons that are deficient in SadA and SadB and disrupts neuronal polarity. Knockdown of Wee1 rescues the Sada(-/-);Sadb(-/-) mutant phenotype and restores normal polarity in these neurons. Our results demonstrate that the regulation of Wee1 by SadA and SadB kinases is essential for the differentiation of polarized neurons.

J. Cell Sci. 123:286-294(2010) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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