The Cerebellum

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 451-466

First online:

Both Cell-Autonomous and Cell Non-Autonomous Functions of GAP-43 are Required for Normal Patterning of the Cerebellum In Vivo

  • Yiping ShenAffiliated withDepartment of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, Tufts University School of Medicine
  • , Rashmi MishraAffiliated withNational Brain Research Center
  • , Shyamala ManiAffiliated withNational Brain Research Center
  • , Karina F. MeiriAffiliated withDepartment of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, Tufts University School of Medicine Email author 

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Growth-associated protein 43 (GAP-43) is required for development of a functional cerebral cortex in vertebrates; however, its role in cerebellar development is not well understood. Recently, we showed that absence of GAP-43 caused defects in proliferation, differentiation, and polarization of cerebellar granule cells. In this paper, we show that absence of GAP-43 causes defects in cerebellar patterning that reflect both cell-autonomous and non-autonomous functions. Cell-autonomous effects of GAP-43 impact precursor proliferation and axon targeting: In its absence, (1) proliferation of granule cell precursors in response to sonic hedgehog and fibroblast growth factor is inhibited, (2) proliferation of neuroepithelial precursors is inhibited, and (3) targeting of climbing fibers to the central lobe is disrupted. Cell non-autonomous effects of GAP-43 impact differentiated Purkinje cells in which GAP-43 has been downregulated: In its absence, both maturation and mediolateral patterning of Purkinje cells are inhibited. Both cell-autonomous and non-autonomous functions of GAP-43 involve its phosphorylation by protein kinase C. GAP-43 is phosphorylated in granule cell precursors in response to sonic hedgehog in vitro, and phosphorylated GAP-43 is also found in proliferating neuroepithelium and climbing fibers. Phosphorylated GAP-43 is specifically enriched in the presynaptic terminals of parallel and climbing fibers that innervate Purkinje cell bodies and dendrites. The cell-autonomous and non-autonomous effects of GAP-43 converge on the central lobe. The multiple effects of GAP-43 on cerebellar development suggest that it is a critical downstream transducer of signaling mechanisms that integrate generation of cerebellar structure with functional parcellation at the central lobe.


GAP-43 Knockout mouse Cerebellar granule cell proliferation Purkinje cell patterning Sonic hedgehog Climbing fibers