Although mutations in the human doublecortin gene (DCX) cause profound defects in cortical neuronal migration, a genetic deletion of Dcx in mice produces a milder defect. A second locus, doublecortin-like kinase (Dclk), encodes a protein with similar "doublecortin domains" and microtubule stabilization properties that may compensate for Dcx. Here, we generate a mouse with a Dclk mutation that causes no obvious migrational abnormalities but show that mice mutant for both Dcx and Dclk demonstrate perinatal lethality, disorganized neocortical layering, and profound hippocampal cytoarchitectural disorganization. Surprisingly, Dcx-/y;Dclk- /- mutants have widespread axonal defects, affecting the corpus callosum, anterior commissure, subcortical fiber tracts, and internal capsule. Dcx/Dclk-deficient dissociated neurons show abnormal axon outgrowth and dendritic structure, with defects in axonal transport of synaptic vesicle proteins. Dcx and Dclk may directly or indirectly regulate microtubule-based vesicle transport, a process critical to both neuronal migration and axon outgrowth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-53
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 5 2006


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