Competing molecular interactions of aPKC isoforms regulate neuronal polarity

Sara S. Parker, Edward K. Mandell, Sophie M. Hapak, Irina Y. Maskaykina, Yael Kusne, Ji Young Kim, Jamie K. Moy, Paul A St John, Jean M. Wilson, Katalin M. Gothard, Theodore J. Price, Sourav Ghosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Atypical protein kinase C (aPKC) isoforms ζ and λ interact with polarity complex protein Par3 and are evolutionarily conserved regulators of cell polarity. Prkcz encodes aPKC-ζ and PKM-ζ, a truncated, neuron-specific alternative transcript, and Prkcl encodes aPKC-λ. Here we show that, in embryonic hippocampal neurons, two aPKC isoforms, aPKC-λ and PKM-ζ, are expressed. The localization of these isoforms is spatially distinct in a polarized neuron. aPKC-λ, as well as Par3, localizes at the presumptive axon, whereas PKM-ζ and Par3 are distributed at non-axon-forming neurites. PKM-ζ competes with aPKC-λ for binding to Par3 and disrupts the aPKC-λ-Par3 complex. Silencing of PKM-ζ or overexpression of aPKC-λ in hippocampal neurons alters neuronal polarity, resulting in neurons with supernumerary axons. In contrast, the overexpression of PKM-ζ prevents axon specification. Our studies suggest a molecular model wherein mutually antagonistic intermolecular competition between aPKC isoforms directs the establishment of neuronal polarity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14450-14455
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number35
StatePublished - Aug 27 2013


  • Axonogenesis
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Symmetry breaking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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