Zebrafish atlastin controls motility and spinal motor axon architecture via inhibition of the BMP pathway

Coralie Fassier, James A. Hutt, Steffen Scholpp, Andrew Lumsden, Bruno Giros, Fatiha Nothias, Sylvie Schneider-Maunoury, Corinne Houart, Jamile Hazan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)


To better understand hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP), we characterized the function of atlastin, a protein that is frequently involved in juvenile forms of HSP, by analyzing loss- and gain-of-function phenotypes in the developing zebrafish. We found that knockdown of the gene for atlastin (atl1) caused a severe decrease in larval mobility that was preceded by abnormal architecture of spinal motor axons and was associated with a substantial upregulation of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling pathway. Overexpression analyses confirmed that atlastin inhibits BMP signaling. In primary cultures of zebrafish spinal neurons, Atlastin partially colocalized with type I BMP receptors in late endosomes distributed along neurites, which suggests that atlastin may regulate BMP receptor trafficking. Finally, genetic or pharmacological inhibition of BMP signaling was sufficient to rescue the loss of mobility and spinal motor axon defects of atl1 morphants, emphasizing the importance of fine-tuning the balance of BMP signaling for vertebrate motor axon architecture and stability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1380-7
Number of pages8
JournalNature Neuroscience
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


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