The cyclin-dependent kinase Cdk5 controls multiple aspects of axon patterning in vivo

Curr Biol. 2000 May 18;10(10):599-602. doi: 10.1016/s0960-9822(00)00487-5.


Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) is one of a subfamily of Cdks involved in the control of cell differentiation and morphology rather than cell division. Specifically, Cdk5 and its activating subunit, p35, have been implicated in growth cone motility during axon extension. Both Cdk5 and p35 are expressed in post-mitotic neurons and are localized to growth cones [1] [2] [3] [4]. The Cdk5-p35 complex interacts with the Rac GTPase, a protein required for growth cone motility [5]. Studies using cultured neurons have suggested that Cdk5 activity controls the efficiency of neurite extension [3] [4]. Mutant mice lacking p35 exhibit subtle axon-guidance defects [6], but these mice have severe defects in neuronal migration [6] [7] [8], making it difficult to define precisely the role of the Cdk5-p35 complex in vivo. Here, we examined Cdk5 function in axon patterning in the Drosophila embryo. Although our data support the idea that Cdk5-p35 is involved in axonogenesis, they do not support the view that Cdk5 simply promotes growth cone motility. Instead, we found that disrupting Cdk5 function caused widespread errors in axon patterning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 5
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases / metabolism*
  • Drosophila / embryology
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neurons / metabolism


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • neuronal Cdk5 activator (p25-p35)
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 5
  • Cdk5 protein, Drosophila
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF231134