1. Neuroscience
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Regulation of Neuronal Axon Specification by Glia-Neuron Gap Junctions in C. elegans

  1. Lingfeng Meng
  2. Albert Zhang
  3. Yishi Jin
  4. Dong Yan  Is a corresponding author
  1. Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, United States
  2. University of California, San Diego, United States
Research Article
  • Cited 14
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Cite this article as: eLife 2016;5:e19510 doi: 10.7554/eLife.19510

Abstract

Axon specification is a critical step in neuronal development, and the function of glial cells in this process is not fully understood. Here we show that C. elegans GLR glial cells regulate axon specification of their nearby GABAergic RME neurons through GLR-RME gap junctions. Disruption of GLR-RME gap junctions causes misaccumulation of axonal markers in non-axonal neurites of RME neurons and converts microtubules in those neurites to form an axon-like assembly. We further uncover that GLR-RME gap junctions regulate RME axon specification through activation of the CDK-5 pathway in a calcium-dependent manner, involving a calpain clp-4. Therefore, our study reveals the function of glia-neuron gap junctions in neuronal axon specification and shows that calcium originated from glial cells can regulate neuronal intracellular pathways through gap junctions.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Lingfeng Meng

    Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, Durham, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Albert Zhang

    Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, Durham, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Yishi Jin

    Neurobiology Section, Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-9371-9860
  4. Dong Yan

    Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, Durham, United States
    For correspondence
    dong.yan@duke.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-7542-1251

Funding

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NS094171(R01))

  • Dong Yan

Duke University School of Medicine (faculty startup)

  • Dong Yan

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NS076646 (R00))

  • Dong Yan

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Oliver Hobert, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Columbia University, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: July 11, 2016
  2. Accepted: October 20, 2016
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: October 21, 2016 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: October 27, 2016 (version 2)

Copyright

This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.

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