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Glutathione S-transferase Pi (Gstp) Proteins Regulate Neuritogenesis In The Developing Cerebral Cortex

Xiaonan Liu, Sara M. Blazejewski, Sarah A. Bennison, Kazuhito Toyo-oka

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AbstractGSTP proteins are metabolic enzymes involved in removal of oxidative stress and intracellular signaling and also have inhibitory effects on JNK activity. However, the functions of Gstp proteins in the developing brain are unknown. In mice, there are three Gstp proteins, Gstp1, 2 and 3, while there is only one GSTP in humans. By RT-PCR analysis, we found that Gstp1 was expressed beginning at E15.5 in the cortex, but Gstp2 and 3 started expressing at E18.5. Gstp 1 and 2 knockdown caused decreased neurite number in cortical neurons, implicating them in neurite initiation. Using in utero electroporation to knockdown Gstp1 and 2 in layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons in vivo, we found abnormal swelling of the apical dendrite at P3 and reduced neurite number at P15. Using time-lapse live imaging, we found that the apical dendrite orientation was skewed compared to the control, but these defects were ameliorated. Overexpression of Gstp 1 or 2 resulted in changes in neurite length, suggesting a role in neurite elongation. We explored the molecular mechanism and found that JNK inhibition rescued reduced neurite number caused by Gstp knockdown, indicating that Gstp regulates neurite formation through JNK signaling. Thus, we found novel functions of Gstp proteins in neurite initiation during cortical development. Furthermore, the overexpression experiments suggest different functions of Gstp1 and 2 in neurite elongation. Since previous studies have shown the potential implication of Gstp in Autism Spectrum Disorder, our findings will attract more clinical interests in Gstp proteins in neurodevelopmental disorders.SignificanceNeurite formation, including neurite initiation and elongation, is the first step of generating polarized neuronal morphology in developing neurons, and thus is essential for establishing a neuronal network. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the mechanisms of neurite formation. Limited studies have been performed to clarify the mechanisms of neurite formation, especially neurite initiation. In this present study, we report a novel, essential role of Gstp in neurite initiation in mouse cortical neurons in vitro and in vivo. We also found that Gstp regulates neurite formation via JNK signaling pathways. These findings not only provide novel functions of Gstp proteins in neuritogenesis during cortical development but also help us to understand the complexity of neurite formation.