Li, N (reprint author), Chinese Acad Sci, Shanghai Inst Biol Sci, Inst Neurosci, Shanghai, Peoples R China,email@example.com
In the murine cerebral cortex, mammalian homologues of the Cux family transcription factors, Cux1 and Cux2, have been identified as restricted molecular markers for the upper layer (II-IV) pyramidal neurons. However, their functions in cortical development are largely unknown. Here we report that increasing the intracellular level of Cux1, but not Cux2, reduced the dendritic complexity of cultured cortical pyramidal neurons. Consistently, reducing the expression of Cux1 promoted the dendritic arborization in these pyramidal neurons. This effect required the existence of the DNA-binding domains, hence the transcriptional passive repression activity of Cux1. Analysis of downstream signals suggested that Cux1 regulates dendrite development primarily through suppressing the expression of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27(Kip1), and RhoA may mediate the regulation of dendritic complexity by Cux1 and p27. Thus, Cux1 functions as a negative regulator of dendritic complexity for cortical pyramidal neurons.