Many faces of drebrin: from building dendritic spines and stabilizing gap junctions to shaping neurite-like cell processes
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In this review we consider the multiple functions of developmentally regulated brain protein (drebrin), an actin-binding protein, in the formation of cellular polarity in different cell types. Drebrin has a well-established role in the morphogenesis, patterning and maintenance of dendritic spines in neurons. We have recently shown that drebrin also stabilizes Connexin-43 containing gap junctions at the plasma membrane. The latest literature and our own data suggest that drebrin may be broadly involved in shaping cell processes and in the formation of stabilized plasma membrane domains, an effect that is likely to be of crucial significance for formation of cell polarity in both neuronal and non-neuronal types.
KeywordsDrebrin Actin binding proteins Dendritic spines Gap junctions Cell morphogenesis Neuronal cell polarity
The authors are grateful to Drs. Eugenia Butkevich and Piotr Bregestovski for critical reading of early versions of this manuscript. We thank Dr. Robin Battye (Quorum Technologies; http://www.quorumtechnologies.com/) for his invaluable help with long-time imaging of cells expressing drebrin, at the “3D Microscopy of Living Cells” course held in 2006 at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada (http://www.3dcourse.ubc.ca/index.htm). This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust (Senior Fellowship to R.D.; grant number 047578).
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