Journal of neurochemistry

Developmentally regulated alternative splicing of densin modulates protein-protein interaction and subcellular localization.

PMID 18248607


Densin is a member of the leucine-rich repeat (LRR) and PDZ domain (LAP) protein family that binds several signaling molecules via its C-terminal domains, including calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII). In this study, we identify several novel mRNA splice variants of densin that are differentially expressed during development. The novel variants share the LRR domain but are either prematurely truncated or contain internal deletions relative to mature variants of the protein (180 kDa), thus removing key protein-protein interaction domains. For example, CaMKIIalpha coimmunoprecipitates with densin splice variants containing an intact C-terminal domain from lysates of transfected HEK293 cells, but not with variants that only contain N-terminal domains. Immunoblot analyses using antibodies to peptide epitopes in the N- and C- terminal domains of densin are consistent with developmental regulation of splice variant expression in brain. Moreover, putative splice variants display different subcellular fractionation patterns in brain extracts. Expression of green fluorescent protein (GFP)-fused densin splice variants in HEK293 cells shows that the LRR domain can target densin to a plasma membrane-associated compartment, but that the splice variants are differentially localized and have potentially distinct effects on cell morphology. In combination, these data show that densin splice variants have distinct functional characteristics suggesting multiple roles during neuronal development.