Background. The SCFskp2complex is an E3 ubiquitin ligase that is known to target a number of cell cycle regulators, including cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, for proteolysis. While its role in regulation of cell division has been well documented, additional functions in differentiation, including in the nervous system, have not been investigated. Results. Using Xenopus as a model system, here we demonstrate that skp2 has an additional role in regulation of differentiation of primary neurons, the first neurons to differentiate in the neural plate. Xenopus skp2 shows a dynamic expression pattern in early embryonic neural tissue and depletion of skp2 results in generation of extra primary neurons. In contrast, over-expression of skp2 inhibits neurogenesis in a manner dependent on its ability to act as part of the SCFskp2complex. Moreover, inhibition of neurogenesis by skp2 occurs upstream of the proneural gene encoding NeuroD and prior to cell cycle exit. We have previously demonstrated that the Xenopus cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor Xic1 is essential for primary neurogenesis at an early stage, and before these cells exit the cell cycle. We show that SCFskp2degrades Xic1 in embryos and this contributes to the ability of skp2 to regulate neurogenesis. Conclusion. We conclude that the SCFskp2complex has functions in the control of neuronal differentiation additional to its role in cell cycle regulation. Thus, it is well placed to be a co-ordinating factor regulating both cell proliferation and cell differentiation directly.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Neuroscience