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Neuroscience. 2010 Feb 17;165(4):1261-74. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.11.056. Epub 2009 Dec 1.

Ror1-Ror2 complexes modulate synapse formation in hippocampal neurons.

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  • 1Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.


Ror1 and Ror2, a small family of tyrosine kinase receptors, have been implicated in multiple aspects of brain development in C. elegans and X. laevis. More recently, we have shown that these receptors modulate the rate of neurite elongation in cultured rat hippocampal neurons. However, no information is available regarding a potential role of these receptors in other developmental milestones in mammalian central neurons. Neither is the identity known of the Ror ligand(s) and/or the signal transduction pathway(s) in which they participate. Here we report that the down regulation of either Ror1 or Ror2 led to a significant decrease in synapse formation in cultured hippocampal neurons. Simultaneous targeting of Ror proteins, however, did not result in an additive phenotype. Our results also indicated that Ror1 and Ror2 physically interact in the mouse brain, suggesting that they might function as heterodimers in central neurons. In addition, these Ror complexes interacted with Wnt-5a mediating its effects on synaptogenesis. Together, these data suggest that Ror proteins play a key role in Wnt-5a-activated signaling pathways leading to synapse formation in the mammalian CNS.

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