Conditional Deletion of PDK1 in the Forebrain Causes Neuron Loss and Increased Apoptosis during Cortical Development
Neurons migrate a long radial distance by a process known as locomotion in the developing mammalian neocortex. During locomotion, immature neurons undergo saltatory movement along radial glia fibers. The molecular mechanisms that regulate the speed of locomotion are largely unknown. We now show that the serine/threonine kinase Akt and its activator phosphoinositide-dependent protein kinase 1 (PDK1) regulate the speed of locomotion of mouse neocortical neurons through the cortical plate. Inactivation of the PDK1-Akt pathway impaired the coordinated movement of the nucleus and centrosome, a microtubule-dependent process, during neuronal migration. Moreover, the PDK1-Akt pathway was found to control microtubules, likely by regulating the binding of accessory proteins including the dynactin subunit p150(glued) Consistent with this notion, we found that PDK1 regulates the expression of cytoplasmic dynein intermediate chain and light intermediate chain at a posttranscriptional level in the developing neocortex. Our results thus reveal an essential role for the PDK1-Akt pathway in the regulation of a key step of neuronal migration.