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Gene Review

Dscam1  -  Down syndrome cell adhesion molecule 1

Drosophila melanogaster

Synonyms: 43Bc, CG17800, CT39257, DSCAM, DScam, ...
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Disease relevance of Dscam


Psychiatry related information on Dscam


High impact information on Dscam

  • Alternative splicing of Dscam generates an enormous molecular diversity with maximally 38,016 different receptors [3].
  • A paper in this issue of Cell (Graveley, 2005) provides a fascinating insight into the perplexing question of how only one exon at a time is chosen from an array of 48 exons in the Drosophila Dscam gene [4].
  • Different subtypes of photoreceptors express broad yet distinctive spectra of Dscam isoforms [5].
  • Genetic studies revealed that Dscam, Dock and Pak, a serine/threonine kinase, act together to direct pathfinding of Bolwig's nerve, containing a subclass of sensory axons, to an intermediate target in the embryo [6].
  • A Drosophila homolog of human Down syndrome cell adhesion molecule (DSCAM), an immunoglobulin superfamily member, was isolated by its affinity to Dock, an SH3/SH2 adaptor protein required for axon guidance [6].

Biological context of Dscam


Anatomical context of Dscam

  • Dscam also is required for the formation of axon pathways in the embryonic central nervous system. cDNA and genomic analyses reveal the existence of multiple forms of Dscam with a conserved architecture containing variable Ig and transmembrane domains [6].
  • Overexpression of Dscam in projection neurons caused dendrites to be more diffuse during development and shifted their relative position in adulthood [10].
  • Here we show that Dscam acts in projection neurons and local interneurons to control the elaboration of dendritic fields [10].
  • Analysis of Dscam diversity in regulating axon guidance in Drosophila mushroom bodies [7].
  • The morphology of Dscam mutant axon terminals in either ectopic or cognate targets was abnormal [11].

Associations of Dscam with chemical compounds


Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of Dscam

  • Single-cell RT-PCR documented that individual cells express several different Dscam isoforms and allowed an estimation of the diversity that is present [5].
  • CONCLUSION: On the basis of comparative sequence analysis, we propose efficient biologic mechanisms of alternative splicing of the Drosophila Dscam gene that rely on the inherent structure of the pre-mRNA [13].


  1. Drosophila Dscam is required for divergent segregation of sister branches and suppresses ectopic bifurcation of axons. Wang, J., Zugates, C.T., Liang, I.H., Lee, C.H., Lee, T. Neuron (2002) [Pubmed]
  2. The zebrafish down syndrome cell adhesion molecule is involved in cell movement during embryogenesis. Yimlamai, D., Konnikova, L., Moss, L.G., Jay, D.G. Dev. Biol. (2005) [Pubmed]
  3. The molecular diversity of dscam is functionally required for neuronal wiring specificity in Drosophila. Chen, B.E., Kondo, M., Garnier, A., Watson, F.L., Püettmann-Holgado, R., Lamar, D.R., Schmucker, D. Cell (2006) [Pubmed]
  4. Alternative splicing--when two's a crowd. Smith, C.W. Cell (2005) [Pubmed]
  5. Stochastic yet biased expression of multiple Dscam splice variants by individual cells. Neves, G., Zucker, J., Daly, M., Chess, A. Nat. Genet. (2004) [Pubmed]
  6. Drosophila Dscam is an axon guidance receptor exhibiting extraordinary molecular diversity. Schmucker, D., Clemens, J.C., Shu, H., Worby, C.A., Xiao, J., Muda, M., Dixon, J.E., Zipursky, S.L. Cell (2000) [Pubmed]
  7. Analysis of Dscam diversity in regulating axon guidance in Drosophila mushroom bodies. Zhan, X.L., Clemens, J.C., Neves, G., Hattori, D., Flanagan, J.J., Hummel, T., Vasconcelos, M.L., Chess, A., Zipursky, S.L. Neuron (2004) [Pubmed]
  8. Transmembrane/juxtamembrane domain-dependent Dscam distribution and function during mushroom body neuronal morphogenesis. Wang, J., Ma, X., Yang, J.S., Zheng, X., Zugates, C.T., Lee, C.H., Lee, T. Neuron (2004) [Pubmed]
  9. The iStem, a long-range RNA secondary structure element required for efficient exon inclusion in the Drosophila Dscam pre-mRNA. Kreahling, J.M., Graveley, B.R. Mol. Cell. Biol. (2005) [Pubmed]
  10. Dendritic patterning by Dscam and synaptic partner matching in the Drosophila antennal lobe. Zhu, H., Hummel, T., Clemens, J.C., Berdnik, D., Zipursky, S.L., Luo, L. Nat. Neurosci. (2006) [Pubmed]
  11. Axonal targeting of olfactory receptor neurons in Drosophila is controlled by Dscam. Hummel, T., Vasconcelos, M.L., Clemens, J.C., Fishilevich, Y., Vosshall, L.B., Zipursky, S.L. Neuron (2003) [Pubmed]
  12. Use of double-stranded RNA-mediated interference to determine the substrates of protein tyrosine kinases and phosphatases. Muda, M., Worby, C.A., Simonson-Leff, N., Clemens, J.C., Dixon, J.E. Biochem. J. (2002) [Pubmed]
  13. Variable window binding for mutually exclusive alternative splicing. Anastassiou, D., Liu, H., Varadan, V. Genome Biol. (2006) [Pubmed]
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