CYFIP/Sra-1 Controls Neuronal Connectivity in Drosophila and Links the Rac1 GTPase Pathway to the Fragile X Protein
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Neuronal plasticity requires actin cytoskeleton remodeling and local protein translation in response to extracellular signals. Rho GTPase pathways control actin reorganization, while the fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) regulates the synthesis of specific proteins. Mutations affecting either pathway produce neuronal connectivity defects in model organisms and mental retardation in humans. We show that CYFIP, the fly ortholog of vertebrate FMRP interactors CYFIP1 and CYFIP2, is specifically expressed in the nervous system. CYFIP mutations affect axons and synapses, much like mutations in dFMR1 (the Drosophila FMR1 ortholog) and in Rho GTPase dRac1. CYFIP interacts biochemically and genetically with dFMR1 and dRac1. Finally, CYFIP acts as a dRac1 effector that antagonizes FMR1 function, providing a bridge between signal-dependent cytoskeleton remodeling and translation.
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