The ELAV/Hu protein Found in neurons regulates cytoskeletal and ECM adhesion inputs for space-filling dendrite growth.
Dendritic arbor morphology influences how neurons receive and integrate extracellular signals. We show that the ELAV/Hu family RNA-binding protein Found in neurons (Fne) is required for space-filling dendrite growth to generate highly branched arbors of Drosophila larval class IV dendritic arborization neurons. Dendrites of fne mutant neurons are shorter and more dynamic than in wild-type, leading to decreased arbor coverage. These defects result from both a decrease in stable microtubules and loss of dendrite-substrate interactions within the arbor. Identification of transcripts encoding cytoskeletal regulators and cell-cell and cell-ECM interacting proteins as Fne targets using TRIBE further supports these results. Analysis of one target, encoding the cell adhesion protein Basigin, indicates that the cytoskeletal defects contributing to branch instability in fne mutant neurons are due in part to decreased Basigin expression. The ability of Fne to coordinately regulate the cytoskeleton and dendrite-substrate interactions in neurons may shed light on the behavior of cancer cells ectopically expressing ELAV/Hu proteins.