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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Apr 1;94(7):3414-9.

The Caenorhabditis elegans gene unc-76 and its human homologs define a new gene family involved in axonal outgrowth and fasciculation.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge 02139, USA.


The gene unc-76 (unc, uncoordinated) is necessary for normal axonal bundling and elongation within axon bundles in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. The UNC-76 protein and two human homologs identified as expressed sequence tags are not similar to previously characterized proteins and thus represent a new protein family. At least one of these human homologs can function in C. elegans, suggesting that it, like UNC-76, acts in axonal outgrowth. We propose that the UNC-76 protein, which is found in cell bodies and processes of all neurons throughout development, either has a structural role in the formation and maintenance of axonal bundles or transduces signals to the intracellular machinery that regulates axonal extension and adhesion.

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