Abstract | The Caenorhabditis elegans microtubule minus-end binding homolog PTRN-1 stabilizes synapses and neurites
Microtubule dynamics facilitate neurite growth and establish morphology, but the role of minus-end binding proteins in these processes is largely unexplored. CAMSAP homologs associate with microtubule minus-ends, and are important for the stability of epithelial cell adhesions. In this study, we report morphological defects in neurons and neuromuscular defects in mutants of the C. elegans CAMSAP, ptrn-1. Mechanosensory neurons initially extend wild-type neurites, and subsequently remodel by overextending neurites and retracting synaptic branches and presynaptic varicosities. This neuronal remodeling can be activated by mutations known to alter microtubules, and depends on a functioning DLK-1 MAP kinase pathway. We found that PTRN-1 localizes to both neurites and synapses, and our results suggest that alterations of microtubule structures caused by loss of PTRN-1 function activates a remodeling program leading to changes in neurite morphology. We propose a model whereby minus-end microtubule stabilization mediated by a functional PTRN-1 is necessary for morphological maintenance of neurons.