Rpsa Signaling Regulates Cortical Neuronal Morphogenesis via Its Ligand, PEDF, and Plasma Membrane Interaction Partner, Itga6

Cereb Cortex. 2022 Feb 8;32(4):770-795. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhab242.


Neuromorphological defects underlie neurodevelopmental disorders and functional defects. We identified a function for Rpsa in regulating neuromorphogenesis using in utero electroporation to knockdown Rpsa, resulting in apical dendrite misorientation, fewer/shorter extensions, and decreased spine density with altered spine morphology in upper neuronal layers and decreased arborization in upper/lower cortical layers. Rpsa knockdown disrupts multiple aspects of cortical development, including radial glial cell fiber morphology and neuronal layering. We investigated Rpsa's ligand, PEDF, and interacting partner on the plasma membrane, Itga6. Rpsa, PEDF, and Itga6 knockdown cause similar phenotypes, with Rpsa and Itga6 overexpression rescuing morphological defects in PEDF-deficient neurons in vivo. Additionally, Itga6 overexpression increases and stabilizes Rpsa expression on the plasma membrane. GCaMP6s was used to functionally analyze Rpsa knockdown via ex vivo calcium imaging. Rpsa-deficient neurons showed less fluctuation in fluorescence intensity, suggesting defective subthreshold calcium signaling. The Serpinf1 gene coding for PEDF is localized at chromosome 17p13.3, which is deleted in patients with the neurodevelopmental disorder Miller-Dieker syndrome. Our study identifies a role for Rpsa in early cortical development and for PEDF-Rpsa-Itga6 signaling in neuromorphogenesis, thus implicating these molecules in the etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders like Miller-Dieker syndrome and identifying them as potential therapeutics.

Keywords: calcium imaging; dendrite formation; dendritic spines; in utero electroporation; ubiquitination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cell Membrane
  • Dendrites* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Integrin alpha6
  • Ligands
  • Morphogenesis
  • Neurons* / physiology


  • ITGA6 protein, human
  • Integrin alpha6
  • Ligands