Xiong, WC (reprint author), Med Coll Georgia, Inst Mol Med & Genom, Augusta, GA 30912 USA,email@example.com
Neurite extension is essential for wiring the nervous system during development. Although several factors are known to regulate neurite outgrowth, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we provide evidence for a role of phosphatidylinositol transfer protein-alpha ( PITP alpha) in neurite extension in response to netrin-1, an extracellular guidance cue. PITP alpha interacts with the netrin receptor DCC ( deleted in colorectal cancer) and neogenin. Netrin-1 stimulates PITP alpha binding to DCC and to phosphatidylinositol ( 5) phosphate [ PI( 5) P], increases its lipid-transfer activity and elevates hydrolysis of phosphatidylinositol bisphosphate (PIP2). In addition, the stimulated PIP2 hydrolysis requires PITP alpha. Furthermore, cortical explants of PITP alpha mutant mice are defective in extending neurites in response to netrin-1. Commissural neurons from chicken embryos expressing a dominant-negative PITP alpha mutant show reduced axon outgrowth. Morpholino-mediated knockdown of PITP alpha expression in zebrafish embryos leads to dose-dependent defects in motor-neuron axons and reduced numbers of spinal-cord neurons. Taken together, these results identify a crucial role for PITP alpha in netrin-1-induced neurite outgrowth, revealing a signalling mechanism for DCC/neogenin and PITP alpha regulation.