A neuronal MAP kinase constrains growth of a Caenorhabditis elegans sensory dendrite throughout the life of the organism

PLoS Genetics
Ian G McLachlanMaxwell G Heiman


Neurons develop elaborate morphologies that provide a model for understanding cellular architecture. By studying C. elegans sensory dendrites, we previously identified genes that act to promote the extension of ciliated sensory dendrites during embryogenesis. Interestingly, the nonciliated dendrite of the oxygen-sensing neuron URX is not affected by these genes, suggesting it develops through a distinct mechanism. Here, we use a visual forward genetic screen to identify mutants that affect URX dendrite morphogenesis. We find that disruption of the MAP kinase MAPK-15 or the βH-spectrin SMA-1 causes a phenotype opposite to what we had seen before: dendrites extend normally during embryogenesis but begin to overgrow as the animals reach adulthood, ultimately extending up to 150% of their normal length. SMA-1 is broadly expressed and acts non-cell-autonomously, while MAPK-15 is expressed in many sensory neurons including URX and acts cell-autonomously. MAPK-15 acts at the time of overgrowth, localizes at the dendrite ending, and requires its kinase activity, suggesting it acts locally in time and space to constrain dendrite growth. Finally, we find that the oxygen-sensing guanylate cyclase GCY-35, which normally localizes at the de...Continue Reading


Mar 19, 2019·Annual Review of Neuroscience·Aakanksha Singhvi, Shai Shaham


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Calcinus elegans
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