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Article
A Transcriptional Program Promotes Remodeling of GABAergic Synapses in Caenorhabditis elegans
Journal of Neuroscience
  • Sarah Petersen
  • et al.
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
10-26-2011
Disciplines
Abstract
Although transcription factors are known to regulate synaptic plasticity, downstream genes that contribute to neural circuit remodeling are largely undefined. In Caenorhabditis elegans, GABAergic Dorsal D (DD) motor neuron synapses are relocated to new sites during larval development. This remodeling program is blocked in Ventral D (VD) GABAergic motor neurons by the COUP-TF (chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter transcription factor) homolog, UNC-55. We exploited this UNC-55 function to identify downstream synaptic remodeling genes that encode a diverse array of protein types including ion channels, cytoskeletal components, and transcription factors. We show that one of these targets, the Iroquois-like homeodomain protein, IRX-1, functions as a key regulator of remodeling in DD neurons. Our discovery of irx-1 as an unc-55-regulated target defines a transcriptional pathway that orchestrates an intricate synaptic remodeling program. Moreover, the well established roles of these conserved transcription factors in mammalian neural development suggest that a similar cascade may also control synaptic plasticity in more complex nervous systems.
Comments

doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3181-11.2011

Citation Information
Neurotoxic unc-8 mutants encode constitutively active DEG/ENaC channels that are blocked by divalent cations The Journal of General Physiology, 29 July 2013, 142(2):157-169