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J Neurobiol. 2000 Jan;42(1):104-16.

Functional dissection of drosophila capricious: its novel roles in neuronal pathfinding and selective synapse formation.

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National Institute for Basic Biology, Myodaiji-cho, Okazaki 444-8585, Japan.


Drosophila Capricious (CAPS) is a transmembrane protein with leucine-rich repeat (LRR) motifs, expressed on small subsets of neurons and muscles, including muscle 12 and the motoneurons that innervate it (muscle 12 MNs). Panmuscle ectopic expression of CAPS alters the target specificity of muscle 12 MNs, indicating that CAPS can function in muscles as a target recognition molecule. In this study, we first examined the effect of ectopic panneural expression of CAPS on the motoneuronal circuit. We found that panneural expression of CAPS alters the pathfinding of muscle 12 MNs. The defect appeared to be caused by changes in the steering behavior of muscle 12 MNs at a specific choice point along their pathway to the target muscle. These results revealed a novel function of CAPS in axon pathfinding. We then performed deletion analyses of CAPS. We expressed CAPS lacking the intracellular domain in all neurons or in all muscles, and studied their ability to induce the pathfinding and targeting phenotypes. We found that the function of muscularly expressed CAPS in target recognition is intracellular domain dependent, whereas the function of neurally expressed CAPS in pathfinding is not, suggesting that CAPS may function in neurons and muscles in a different manner. The requirement of the intracellular domain for the function of muscularly expressed CAPS suggests the presence of a signaling event within muscle cells that is essential for selective synapse formation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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