Dpysl2 (CRMP2) and Dpysl3 (CRMP4) are involved in neuronal polarity and axon elongation in cultured neurons. These proteins are expressed in various regions of the developing nervous system, but their roles in vivo are largely unknown. In dpysl2 and dpysl3 double morphants, Rohon-Beard (RB) primary sensory neurons that were originally located bilaterally along the midline shifted their position to a more medial location in the dorsal-most part of spinal cord. A similar phenotype was observed in the cdk5 and dyrk2 double morphants. Dpysl2 and Dpysl3 phosphorylation mimics recovered this phenotype. Cell transplantation analysis demonstrated that this ectopic RB cell positioning was non-cell autonomous and correlated with the abnormal position of neural crest cells (NCCs), which also occupied the dorsal-most part of the spinal cord during the neural rod formation stage. The cell position of other interneuron and motor neurons within the central nervous system was normal in these morphants. These results suggest that the phosphorylation of Dpysl2 and Dpysl3 by Cdk5 and DYRK2 is required for the proper positioning of RB neurons and NCCs during neurulation in zebrafish embryos.
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