Knot/Collier and cut control different aspects of dendrite cytoskeleton and synergize to define final arbor shape

Neuron. 2007 Dec 20;56(6):963-78. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2007.10.031.


In a complex nervous system, neuronal functional diversity is reflected in the wide variety of dendritic arbor shapes. Different neuronal classes are defined by class-specific transcription factor combinatorial codes. We show that the combination of the transcription factors Knot and Cut is particular to Drosophila class IV dendritic arborization (da) neurons. Knot and Cut control different aspects of the dendrite cytoskeleton, promoting microtubule- and actin-based dendritic arbors, respectively. Knot delineates class IV arbor morphology by simultaneously synergizing with Cut to promote complexity and repressing Cut-mediated promotion of dendritic filopodia/spikes. Knot increases dendritic arbor outgrowth through promoting the expression of Spastin, a microtubule-severing protein disrupted in autosomal dominant hereditary spastic paraplegia (AD-HSP). Knot and Cut may modulate cellular mechanisms that are conserved between Drosophila and vertebrates. Hence, this study gives significant general insight into how multiple transcription factors combine to control class-specific dendritic arbor morphology through controlling different aspects of the cytoskeleton.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Dendrites / metabolism*
  • Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Homeodomain Proteins / physiology*
  • Morphogenesis
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Nuclear Proteins / physiology*
  • Pseudopodia / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • ct protein, Drosophila
  • kn protein, Drosophila
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • spas protein, Drosophila