UMMS Affiliation

Department of Neurobiology; Tzumin Lee Lab; Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Neuroscience Program

Publication Date


Document Type



Animals; Animals, Genetically Modified; Dendrites; Drosophila; Drosophila Proteins; Dynein ATPase; Membrane Proteins; Microtubule-Associated Proteins; Models, Biological; Mosaicism; Multiprotein Complexes; Organ Specificity; Protein Binding; Protein Isoforms; Protein Structure, Tertiary; Protein Transport


Neuroscience and Neurobiology


BACKGROUND: Many membrane proteins, including Drosophila Dscam, are enriched in dendrites or axons within neurons. However, little is known about how the differential distribution is established and maintained.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we investigated the mechanisms underlying the dendritic targeting of Dscam[TM1]. Through forward genetic mosaic screens and by silencing specific genes via targeted RNAi, we found that several genes, encoding various components of the dynein-dynactin complex, are required for restricting Dscam[TM1] to the mushroom body dendrites. In contrast, compromising dynein/dynactin function did not affect dendritic targeting of two other dendritic markers, Nod and Rdl. Tracing newly synthesized Dscam[TM1] further revealed that compromising dynein/dynactin function did not affect the initial dendritic targeting of Dscam[TM1], but disrupted the maintenance of its restriction to dendrites.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The results of this study suggest multiple mechanisms of dendritic protein targeting. Notably, dynein-dynactin plays a role in excluding dendritic Dscam, but not Rdl, from axons by retrograde transport.

Rights and Permissions

Copyright: © 2008 Yang et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

DOI of Published Version



PLoS One. 2008;3(10):e3504. Epub 2008 Oct 23. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

PloS one


Co-author Jacob S. Yang is a student in the Neuroscience program in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) at UMass Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID