Unlike the processes of dendritic pruning and axon degeneration, little is understood about the mechanism that controls dendrite disassembly. In fact, no endogenous regulators of this process have been identified. In their study on page 3274, Melissa Rolls and colleagues seek to identify regulators of dendrite disassembly after injury. Because microtubule disassembly is thought to be involved in pruning and injury-induced degeneration, the authors conducted a candidate screen of microtubule regulators required for degeneration in a Drosophila model. Based on this screen, they identified the microtubule-severing protein fidgetin as a candidate for further investigation. The authors find that fidgetin is required for the normal timing of injury-induced dendrite degeneration but not for axon degeneration or dendrite pruning. They show that reducing the levels of fidgetin does not alter microtubule behaviour in uninjured neurons but, in at least two different types of injured neurons, fidgetin is required to increase the number of microtubule ends. These data demonstrate that fidgetin functions to increase microtubule dynamics after dendrite injury.
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