DOI: 10.1101/462796Sep 17, 2019Paper

Stress-induced neuron remodeling reveals differential interplay between neurexin and environmental factors

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Michael P Hart


Neurexins are neuronal adhesion molecules important for synapse maturation, function, and plasticity. Neurexins have been genetically associated with neurodevelopmental disorders including autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and schizophrenia, but can have variable penetrance and phenotypic severity. Heritability studies indicate that a significant percentage of risk for ASD and schizophrenia includes environmental factors, highlighting the poorly understood interplay between genetic and environmental factors in pathogenesis of these disorders. The singular C. elegans ortholog of human neurexins, nrx-1, controls experience-dependent morphologic remodeling of a GABAergic neuron in adult males. Here I show that this GABAergic neurons morphology is altered in response to each of three environmental stressors (nutritional, heat, or genotoxic stress) applied during sexual maturation, but not during adulthood. Increased outgrowth of axon-like neurites following adolescent stress results from an altered morphologic plasticity that occurs upon entry into adulthood. Despite axonal remodeling being induced by each of the three stressors, only nutritional stress (starvation) impacts behavior and is dependent on neurexin/nrx-1. Heat or genoto...Continue Reading

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