Neuronal target identification requires AHA-1-mediated fine-tuning of Wnt signaling in C. elegans.

TitleNeuronal target identification requires AHA-1-mediated fine-tuning of Wnt signaling in C. elegans.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsZhang J, Li X, Jevince AR, Guan L, Wang J, Hall DH, Huang X, Ding M
JournalPLoS genetics
Volume9
Issue6
Paginatione1003618
Date Published2013 Jun
Abstract

Electrical synaptic transmission through gap junctions is a vital mode of intercellular communication in the nervous system. The mechanism by which reciprocal target cells find each other during the formation of gap junctions, however, is poorly understood. Here we show that gap junctions are formed between BDU interneurons and PLM mechanoreceptors in C. elegans and the connectivity of BDU with PLM is influenced by Wnt signaling. We further identified two PAS-bHLH family transcription factors, AHA-1 and AHR-1, which function cell-autonomously within BDU and PLM to facilitate the target identification process. aha-1 and ahr-1 act genetically upstream of cam-1. CAM-1, a membrane-bound receptor tyrosine kinase, is present on both BDU and PLM cells and likely serves as a Wnt antagonist. By binding to a cis-regulatory element in the cam-1 promoter, AHA-1 enhances cam-1 transcription. Our study reveals a Wnt-dependent fine-tuning mechanism that is crucial for mutual target cell identification during the formation of gap junction connections.

DOI10.1038/ncomms3138
Alternate JournalPLoS Genet.