Genetic analysis of growth cone guidance choice points in Drosophila identified neuronal receptor protein tyrosine phosphatases (RPTPs) as key determinants of axon pathfinding behavior. We now demonstrate that the Drosophila Abl tyrosine kinase functions in the intersegmental nerve b (ISNb) motor choice point pathway as an antagonist of the RPTP Dlar. The function of Abl in this pathway is dependent on an intact catalytic domain. We also show that the Abl phosphoprotein substrate Enabled (Ena) is required for choice point navigation. Both Abl and Ena proteins associate with the Dlar cytoplasmic domain and serve as substrates for Dlar in vitro, suggesting that they play a direct role in the Dlar pathway. These data suggest that Dlar, Abl, and Ena define a phosphorylation state-dependent switch that controls growth cone behavior by transmitting signals at the cell surface to the actin cytoskeleton.
Wills, Zachary; Bateman, Jack; Korey, Christopher A.; Comer, Allen; and Van Vactor, David, "The tyrosine kinase Abl and its substrate enabled collaborate with the receptor phosphatase Dlar to control motor axon guidance" (1999). Biology Faculty Publications. 30.