Derlin family members (Derlins) are primarily known as components of the endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation pathway that eliminates misfolded proteins. Here we report a function of Derlins in the brain development. Deletion of Derlin-1 or Derlin-2 in the central nervous system of mice impaired postnatal brain development, particularly of the cerebellum and striatum, and induced motor control deficits. Derlin-1 or Derlin-2 deficiency reduced neurite outgrowth in vitro and in vivo and surprisingly also inhibited sterol regulatory element binding protein 2 (SREBP-2)-mediated brain cholesterol biosynthesis. In addition, reduced neurite outgrowth due to Derlin-1 deficiency was rescued by SREBP-2 pathway activation. Overall, our findings demonstrate that Derlins sustain brain cholesterol biosynthesis, which is essential for appropriate postnatal brain development and function.
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