Coupling of terminal differentiation deficit with neurodegenerative pathology in Vps35-deficient pyramidal neurons

Fu Lei Tang, Lu Zhao, Yang Zhao, Dong Sun, Xiao Juan Zhu, Lin Mei, Wen Cheng Xiong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Vps35 (vacuolar protein sorting 35) is a key component of retromer that regulates transmembrane protein trafficking. Dysfunctional Vps35 is a risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Vps35 is highly expressed in developing pyramidal neurons, and its physiological role in developing neurons remains to be explored. Here, we provide evidence that Vps35 in embryonic neurons is necessary for axonal and dendritic terminal differentiation. Loss of Vps35 in embryonic neurons results in not only terminal differentiation deficits, but also neurodegenerative pathology, such as cortical brain atrophy and reactive glial responses. The atrophy of neocortex appears to be in association with increases in neuronal death, autophagosome proteins (LC3-II and P62), and neurodegeneration associated proteins (TDP43 and ubiquitin-conjugated proteins). Further studies reveal an increase of retromer cargo protein, sortilin1 (Sort1), in lysosomes of Vps35-KO neurons, and lysosomal dysfunction. Suppression of Sort1 diminishes Vps35-KO-induced dendritic defects. Expression of lysosomal Sort1 recapitulates Vps35-KO-induced phenotypes. Together, these results demonstrate embryonic neuronal Vps35’s function in terminal axonal and dendritic differentiation, reveal an association of terminal differentiation deficit with neurodegenerative pathology, and uncover an important lysosomal contribution to both events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2099-2116
Number of pages18
JournalCell Death and Differentiation
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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