Xiong, ZQ (reprint author), Chinese Acad Sci, Inst Neurosci, Yueyang Rd 320,ION Bldg,Room 426, Shanghai 200031, Peoples R China,email@example.com
Serum inducible kinase (SNK), also known as polo-like kinase 2 (PLK2), is a known regulator of mitosis, synaptogenesis and synaptic homeostasis. However, its role in early cortical development is unknown. Herein, we show that snk is expressed in the cortical plate from embryonic day 14, but not in the ventricular/subventricular zones (VZ/SVZ), and SNK protein localizes to the soma and dendrites of cultured immature cortical neurons. Loss of SNK impaired dendritic but not axonal arborization in a dose-dependent manner and overexpression had opposite effects, both in vitro and in vivo. Overexpression of SNK also caused abnormal branching of the leading process of migrating cortical neurons in electroporated cortices. The kinase activity was necessary for these effects. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway activity downstream of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) stimulation led to increases in SNK protein expression via transcriptional regulation, and this upregulation was necessary for the growth-promoting effect of BDNF on dendritic arborization. Taken together, our results indicate that SNK is essential for dendrite morphogenesis in cortical neurons.