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Schumacher J.A.,Childrens Hospital Medical Center Research Foundation | Hsieh Y.-W.,Childrens Hospital Medical Center Research Foundation | Chen S.,University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center | Pirri J.K.,University of Massachusetts Medical School | And 4 more authors.
Development (Cambridge) | Year: 2012

The C. elegans left and right AWC olfactory neurons specify asymmetric subtypes, one default AWCOFF and one induced AWCON, through a stochastic, coordinated cell signaling event. Intercellular communication between AWCs and non-AWC neurons via a NSY-5 gap junction network coordinates AWC asymmetry. However, the nature of intercellular signaling across the network and how individual non-AWC cells in the network influence AWC asymmetry is not known. Here, we demonstrate that intercellular calcium signaling through the NSY-5 gap junction neural network coordinates a precise 1AWCON/1AWCOFF decision. We show that NSY-5 gap junctions in C. elegans cells mediate small molecule passage. We expressed vertebrate calcium-buffer proteins in groups of cells in the network to reduce intracellular calcium levels, thereby disrupting intercellular communication. We find that calcium in non-AWC cells of the network promotes the AWCON fate, in contrast to the autonomous role of calcium in AWCs to promote the AWCOFF fate. In addition, calcium in specific non-AWCs promotes AWCON side biases through NSY-5 gap junctions. Our results suggest a novel model in which calcium has dual roles within the NSY-5 network: autonomously promoting AWCOFF and non-autonomously promoting AWCON. © 2012. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.


Chang C.,Childrens Hospital Medical Center Research Foundation | Hsieh Y.-W.,Childrens Hospital Medical Center Research Foundation | Lesch B.J.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute | Bargmann C.I.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute | Chuang C.-F.,Childrens Hospital Medical Center Research Foundation
Development | Year: 2011

The axons of C. elegans left and right AWC olfactory neurons communicate at synapses through a calcium-signaling complex to regulate stochastic asymmetric cell identities called AWC ON and AWC OFF. However, it is not known how the calcium-signaling complex, which consists of UNC-43/CaMKII, TIR-1/SARM adaptor protein and NSY-1/ASK1 MAPKKK, is localized to postsynaptic sites in the AWC axons for this lateral interaction. Here, we show that microtubule-based localization of the TIR-1 signaling complex to the synapses regulates AWC asymmetry. Similar to unc-43, tir-1 and nsy-1 loss-of-function mutants, specific disruption of microtubules in AWC by nocodazole generates two AWC ON neurons. Reduced localization of UNC-43, TIR-1 and NSY-1 proteins in the AWC axons strongly correlates with the 2AWC ON phenotype in nocodazole-treated animals. We identified kinesin motor unc-104/kif1a mutants for enhancement of the 2AWC ON phenotype of a hypomorphic tir-1 mutant. Mutations in unc-104, like microtubule depolymerization, lead to a reduced level of UNC-43, TIR-1 and NSY-1 proteins in the AWC axons. In addition, dynamic transport of TIR-1 in the AWC axons is dependent on unc-104, the primary motor required for the transport of presynaptic vesicles. Furthermore, unc-104 acts non-cell autonomously in the AWC ON neuron to regulate the AWC OFF identity. Together, these results suggest a model in which UNC-104 may transport some unknown presynaptic factor(s) in the future AWC ON cell that non-cell autonomously control the trafficking of the TIR-1 signaling complex to postsynaptic regions of the AWC axons to regulate the AWC OFF identity. © 2011. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.


PubMed | Childrens Hospital Medical Center Research Foundation
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Development (Cambridge, England) | Year: 2011

The axons of C. elegans left and right AWC olfactory neurons communicate at synapses through a calcium-signaling complex to regulate stochastic asymmetric cell identities called AWC(ON) and AWC(OFF). However, it is not known how the calcium-signaling complex, which consists of UNC-43/CaMKII, TIR-1/SARM adaptor protein and NSY-1/ASK1 MAPKKK, is localized to postsynaptic sites in the AWC axons for this lateral interaction. Here, we show that microtubule-based localization of the TIR-1 signaling complex to the synapses regulates AWC asymmetry. Similar to unc-43, tir-1 and nsy-1 loss-of-function mutants, specific disruption of microtubules in AWC by nocodazole generates two AWC(ON) neurons. Reduced localization of UNC-43, TIR-1 and NSY-1 proteins in the AWC axons strongly correlates with the 2AWC(ON) phenotype in nocodazole-treated animals. We identified kinesin motor unc-104/kif1a mutants for enhancement of the 2AWC(ON) phenotype of a hypomorphic tir-1 mutant. Mutations in unc-104, like microtubule depolymerization, lead to a reduced level of UNC-43, TIR-1 and NSY-1 proteins in the AWC axons. In addition, dynamic transport of TIR-1 in the AWC axons is dependent on unc-104, the primary motor required for the transport of presynaptic vesicles. Furthermore, unc-104 acts non-cell autonomously in the AWC(ON) neuron to regulate the AWC(OFF) identity. Together, these results suggest a model in which UNC-104 may transport some unknown presynaptic factor(s) in the future AWC(ON) cell that non-cell autonomously control the trafficking of the TIR-1 signaling complex to postsynaptic regions of the AWC axons to regulate the AWC(OFF) identity.

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