For normal neurogenesis and circuit formation, delamination of differentiating neurons from the proliferative zone must be precisely controlled; however, the regulatory mechanisms underlying cell attachment are poorly understood. Here, we show that Down syndrome cell adhesion molecule (DSCAM) controls neuronal delamination by local suppression of the RapGEF2-Rap1-N-cadherin cascade at the apical endfeet in the dorsal midbrain. Dscam transcripts were expressed in differentiating neurons, and DSCAM protein accumulated at the distal part of the apical endfeet. Cre-loxP-based neuronal labeling revealed that Dscam knockdown impaired endfeet detachment from ventricles. DSCAM associated with RapGEF2 to inactivate Rap1, whose activity is required for membrane localization of N-cadherin. Correspondingly, Dscam knockdown increased N-cadherin localization and ventricular attachment area at the endfeet. Furthermore, excessive endfeet attachment by Dscam knockdown was restored by co-knockdown of RapGEF2 or N-cadherin. Our findings shed light on the molecular mechanism that regulates a critical step in early neuronal development.
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