Brain structure & function

Mtss1 promotes maturation and maintenance of cerebellar neurons via splice variant-specific effects.

PMID 28214917


Efficient coupling of the actin cytoskeleton to the cell membrane is crucial for histogenesis and maintenance of the nervous system. At this critical interface, BAR (Bin-Amphiphysin-Rvs) proteins regulate membrane bending, shown to be instrumental for mobility and morphogenesis of individual cells. Yet, the systemic significance of these proteins remains largely unexplored. Here, we probe the role of a prominent member of this protein family, the inverse-BAR protein Mtss1, for the development and function of a paradigmatic neuronal circuit, the cerebellar cortex. Mtss1-null mice show granule cell ectopias, dysmorphic Purkinje cells, malformed axons, and a protracted neurodegeneration entailing age-dependent motor deficits. In postmitotic granule cells, which transiently express Mtss1 while they migrate and form neurites, Mtss1 impinges on directional persistence and neuritogenesis. The latter effect can be specifically attributed to its exon 12a splice variant. Targeted re-expression of Mtss1 in Mtss1-null animals indicated that these pathologies were largely due to cell type-specific and intrinsic effects. Together, our results provide a mechanistic perspective on Mtss1 function for brain development and degeneration and relate it to structural features of this protein.