New research sheds light on the molecular mechanisms underlying axon growth and synapse formation in the nematode worm C.elegans. In a study published today in the open access journal Journal of Biology, researchers have characterised a new protein, UNC-69, required for proper locomotion . They show that UNC-69 interacts with UNC-76 in a protein complex likely to be involved in the trafficking of vesicles along axons - a process that drives axon growth and helps synapse formation. The research also shows that UNC-69 is directly involved in the formation of new synapses.
A group led by Michael Hengartner, from the University of Zurich in Switzerland, cloned and characterised UNC-69, a previously known protein that had never been characterised. By studying mutants lacking unc-69 they show that the protein is widely expressed in the C.elegans nervous system and is required for normal axon development.
Hengartner and colleagues then show that UNC-69 physically interacts with another protein expressed in the nervous system, UNC-76. Through experiments on double mutant combinations, the authors show that the two proteins cooperate to regulate axon development. The authors also show that UNC-69 is needed for the formation or maintenance of new synapses.
It is known that UNC-76 binds to molecular 'motor' proteins called kinesins that transport vesicles along growing axons. Hengartner and colleagues propose that the UNC-69/UNC-76 complex may be implicated in vesicle trafficking, a process that is necessary for axon growth and new synapse formation.
The short coiled-coil domain-containing protein UNC-69 cooperates with UNC-76 to regulate axonal outgrowth and normal presynaptic organization in Caenorhabditis elegansPage: 1 2 Related biology news :1
Cheng-Wen Su, Suzanne Tharin, Yishi Jin, Bruce Wightman, Mona Spector, David Meili, Nancy Tsung, Christa Rhiner, Dimitris Bourikas, Esther Stoeckli, Gian Garriga, H Robert Horvitz and Michael O Hengartner
Journal of Biolog
. Newly-discovered class of genes determines ?and restricts ?stem cell fate2
. Newly discovered virus linked to childhood lung disorders and Kawasaki disease3
. Newly Discovered Compound Blocks Known Cancer-Causing Protein4
. Newly discovered pathway might help in design of cancer drugs5
. Newly Discovered Branding Process Helps Immune System Cells Pick Their Fights6
. Newly discovered protein an important tool for sleeping sickness research7
. Newly discovered genetic disease sheds light on bodys water balance8
. Newly Discovered Role for Heart Response Enzyme May Yield Better Heart Failure Therapy9
. Newly recognized gene mutation may reduce seeds, resurrect plants10
. Newly discovered birdlike dinosaur is oldest raptor ever found in South America11
. Fitting in: Newly evolved genes adopt a variety of strategies to remain in the gene pool