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      The C. elegans L1CAM homologue LAD-2 functions as a coreceptor in MAB-20/Sema2–mediated axon guidance

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          The L1 cell adhesion molecule (L1CAM) participates in neuronal development. Mutations in the human L1 gene can cause the neurological disorder CRASH (corpus callosum hypoplasia, retardation, adducted thumbs, spastic paraplegia, and hydrocephalus). This study presents genetic data that shows that L1-like adhesion gene 2 (LAD-2), a Caenorhabditis elegans L1CAM, functions in axon pathfinding. In the SDQL neuron, LAD-2 mediates dorsal axon guidance via the secreted MAB-20/Sema2 and PLX-2 plexin receptor, the functions of which have largely been characterized in epidermal morphogenesis. We use targeted misexpression experiments to provide in vivo evidence that MAB-20/Sema2 acts as a repellent to SDQL. Coimmunoprecipitation assays reveal that MAB-20 weakly interacts with PLX-2; this interaction is increased in the presence of LAD-2, which can interact independently with MAB-20 and PLX-2. These results suggest that LAD-2 functions as a MAB-20 coreceptor to secure MAB-20 coupling to PLX-2. In vertebrates, L1 binds neuropilin1, the obligate receptor to the secreted Sema3A. However, invertebrates lack neuropilins. LAD-2 may thus function in the semaphorin complex by combining the roles of neuropilins and L1CAMs.

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          Most cited references 40

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          Semaphorins command cells to move.

          Semaphorins are secreted or transmembrane proteins that regulate cell motility and attachment in axon guidance, vascular growth, immune cell regulation and tumour progression. The main receptors for semaphorins are plexins, which have established roles in regulating Rho-family GTPases. Recent work shows that plexins can also influence R-Ras, which, in turn, can regulate integrins. Such regulation is probably a common feature of semaphorin signalling and contributes substantially to our understanding of semaphorin biology.
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            Systematic analysis of genes required for synapse structure and function.

            Chemical synapses are complex structures that mediate rapid intercellular signalling in the nervous system. Proteomic studies suggest that several hundred proteins will be found at synaptic specializations. Here we describe a systematic screen to identify genes required for the function or development of Caenorhabditis elegans neuromuscular junctions. A total of 185 genes were identified in an RNA interference screen for decreased acetylcholine secretion; 132 of these genes had not previously been implicated in synaptic transmission. Functional profiles for these genes were determined by comparing secretion defects observed after RNA interference under a variety of conditions. Hierarchical clustering identified groups of functionally related genes, including those involved in the synaptic vesicle cycle, neuropeptide signalling and responsiveness to phorbol esters. Twenty-four genes encoded proteins that were localized to presynaptic specializations. Loss-of-function mutations in 12 genes caused defects in presynaptic structure.
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              Signaling at the growth cone: ligand-receptor complexes and the control of axon growth and guidance.

              The guidance of axons during the establishment of the nervous system is mediated by a variety of extracellular cues that govern cytoskeletal dynamics in axonal growth cones. A large number of these guidance cues and their cell-surface receptors have now been identified, and the intracellular signaling pathways by which these cues induce cytoskeletal rearrangements are becoming defined. This review summarizes our current understanding of the major families of axon guidance cues and their receptors, with a particular emphasis on receptor signaling mechanisms. We also discuss recent advances in understanding receptor cross talk and how the activities of guidance cues and their receptors are modulated during neural development.

                Author and article information

                J Cell Biol
                The Journal of Cell Biology
                The Rockefeller University Press
                14 January 2008
                : 180
                : 1
                : 233-246
                [1 ]Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development, Developmental Biology Center, and [2 ]University of Minnesota Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455
                [3 ]Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, 69210 Heidelberg, Germany
                [4 ]Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby V5A 1S6, Canada
                Author notes

                Correspondence to L. Chen: chenx260@

                Copyright © 2008, The Rockefeller University Press
                Research Articles

                Cell biology


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