In the axon terminal, microtubule stability is decreased relative to the axon shaft. The dynamic microtubule plus ends found in the axon terminal have many functions, including serving as a docking site for the Cytoplasmic dynein motor. Here, we report an unexplored function of dynein in microtubule regulation in axon terminals: regulation of microtubule stability. Using a forward genetic screen, we identified a mutant with an abnormal axon terminal structure owing to a loss of function mutation in NudC. We show that, in the axon terminal, NudC is a chaperone for the protein Lis1. Decreased Lis1 in nudc axon terminals causes dynein/dynactin accumulation and increased microtubule stability. Microtubule dynamics can be restored by pharmacologically inhibiting dynein, implicating excess dynein motor function in microtubule stabilization. Together, our data support a model in which local NudC-Lis1 modulation of the dynein motor is critical for the regulation of microtubule stability in the axon terminal.
- Molecular neuroscience
- developmental neuroscience
- functional aspects of cell biology
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