Building arborisations of the right size and shape is fundamental for neural network function. Live imaging in vertebrate brains strongly suggests that nascent synapses are critical for branch growth during development. The molecular mechanisms underlying this are largely unknown. Here we present a novel system in Drosophila for studying the development of complex arborisations live, in vivo during metamorphosis. In growing arborisations we see branch dynamics and localisations of presynaptic proteins very similar to the 'synaptotropic growth' described in fish/frogs. These accumulations of presynaptic proteins do not appear to be presynaptic release sites and are not paired with neurotransmitter receptors. Knockdowns of either evoked or spontaneous neurotransmission do not impact arbor growth. Instead, we find that axonal branch growth is regulated by dynamic, focal localisations of Neurexin and Neuroligin. These adhesion complexes provide stability for filopodia by a 'stick-and-grow' based mechanism wholly independent of synaptic activity.
- William D Constance
- Amrita Mukherjee
- Yvette E Fisher
- Sinziana Pop
- Eric Blanc
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- K VijayRaghavan, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, India
© 2018, Constance et al.
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