May 8, 2010

The fusogen EFF-1 controls sculpting of mechanosensory dendrites

Science
Meital Oren-SuissaBenjamin Podbilewicz

Abstract

The mechanisms controlling the formation and maintenance of neuronal trees are poorly understood. We examined the dynamic development of two arborized mechanoreceptor neurons (PVDs) required for reception of strong mechanical stimuli in Caenorhabditis elegans. The PVDs elaborated dendritic trees comprising structural units we call "menorahs." We studied how the number, structure, and function of menorahs were maintained. EFF-1, an essential protein mediating cell fusion, acted autonomously in the PVDs to trim developing menorahs. eff-1 mutants displayed hyperbranched, disorganized menorahs. Overexpression of EFF-1 in the PVD reduced branching. Neuronal pruning appeared to involve EFF-1-dependent branch retraction and neurite-neurite autofusion. Thus, EFF-1 activities may act as a quality control mechanism during the sculpting of dendritic trees.

Mentioned in this Paper

Meissner's Corpuscle
Keratitis, Dendritic
Caenorhabditis elegans
Neurons
Mutant Proteins
Neurites
Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
Cell Fusion
Neuronal
Dendrites

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