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Cellular prion protein is required for neuritogenesis: fine-tuning of multiple signaling pathways involved in focal adhesions and actin cytoskeleton dynamics

Authors Alleaume-Butaux A, Dakowski C, Pietri M, Mouillet-Richard S, Launay J, Kellermann O, Schneider B

Received 28 March 2013

Accepted for publication 24 May 2013

Published 11 July 2013 Volume 2013:5 Pages 1—12

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CHC.S28081

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 5


Aurélie Alleaume-Butaux,1,2 Caroline Dakowski,1,2 Mathéa Pietri,1,2 Sophie Mouillet-Richard,1,2 Jean-Marie Launay,3,4 Odile Kellermann,1,2 Benoit Schneider1,2

1INSERM, UMR-S 747, 2Paris Descartes University, Sorbonne Paris Cité, UMR-S 747, 3Public Hospital of Paris, Department of Biochemistry, INSERM UMR-S 942, Lariboisière Hospital, Paris, France; 4Pharma Research Department, Hoffmann La Roche Ltd, Basel, Switzerland

Abstract: Neuritogenesis is a dynamic phenomenon associated with neuronal differentiation that allows a rather spherical neuronal stem cell to develop dendrites and axon, a prerequisite for the integration and transmission of signals. The acquisition of neuronal polarity occurs in three steps: (1) neurite sprouting, which consists of the formation of buds emerging from the postmitotic neuronal soma; (2) neurite outgrowth, which represents the conversion of buds into neurites, their elongation and evolution into axon or dendrites; and (3) the stability and plasticity of neuronal polarity. In neuronal stem cells, remodeling and activation of focal adhesions (FAs) associated with deep modifications of the actin cytoskeleton is a prerequisite for neurite sprouting and subsequent neurite outgrowth. A multiple set of growth factors and interactors located in the extracellular matrix and the plasma membrane orchestrate neuritogenesis by acting on intracellular signaling effectors, notably small G proteins such as RhoA, Rac, and Cdc42, which are involved in actin turnover and the dynamics of FAs. The cellular prion protein (PrPC), a glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored membrane protein mainly known for its role in a group of fatal neurodegenerative diseases, has emerged as a central player in neuritogenesis. Here, we review the contribution of PrPC to neuronal polarization and detail the current knowledge on the signaling pathways fine-tuned by PrPC to promote neurite sprouting, outgrowth, and maintenance. We emphasize that PrPC-dependent neurite sprouting is a process in which PrPC governs the dynamics of FAs and the actin cytoskeleton via ß1 integrin signaling. The presence of PrPC is necessary to render neuronal stem cells competent to respond to neuronal inducers and to develop neurites. In differentiating neurons, PrPC exerts a facilitator role towards neurite elongation. This function relies on the interaction of PrPC with a set of diverse partners such as elements of the extracellular matrix, plasma membrane receptors, adhesion molecules, and soluble factors that control actin cytoskeleton turnover through Rho-GTPase signaling. Once neurons have reached their terminal stage of differentiation and acquired their polarized morphology, PrPC also takes part in the maintenance of neurites. By acting on tissue nonspecific alkaline phosphatase, or matrix metalloproteinase type 9, PrPC stabilizes interactions between neurites and the extracellular matrix.

Keywords: prion, neuronal differentiation, neurite sprouting, neurite outgrowth, signaling, multiprotein complexes

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