SUMOylation of FOXP1 regulates transcriptional repression via CtBP1 to drive dendritic morphogenesis

Sci Rep. 2017 Apr 13;7(1):877. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-00707-6.


Forkhead Box P (FOXP) transcriptional repressors play a major role in brain development and their dysfunction leads to human cognitive disorders. However, little is known about how the activity of these proteins is regulated. Here, we show that FOXP1 SUMOylation at lysine 670 is required for recruiting the co-repressor CtBP1 and transcriptional repression. FOXP1 SUMOylation is tightly controlled by neuronal activity, in which synapse to nucleus signalling, mediated via NMDAR and L-type calcium channels, results in rapid FOXP1 deSUMOylation. Knockdown of FOXP1 in cultured cortical neurons stunts dendritic outgrowth and this phenotype cannot be rescued by replacement with a non-SUMOylatable FOXP1-K670R mutant, indicating that SUMOylation of FOXP1 is essential for regulation of proper neuronal morphogenesis. These results suggest that activity-dependent SUMOylation of FOXP1 may be an important mediator of early cortical development and neuronal network formation in the brain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Channels, L-Type / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Dendrites / metabolism
  • Down-Regulation*
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / chemistry
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Lysine / chemistry*
  • Morphogenesis
  • Mutation
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / chemistry
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Sumoylation
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Calcium Channels, L-Type
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Ctbp1 protein, rat
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • FoxP1 protein, rat
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Lysine