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Neuron. 2000 May;26(2):345-56.

rpm-1, a conserved neuronal gene that regulates targeting and synaptogenesis in C. elegans.

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Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


Little is known of mechanisms regulating presynaptic differentiation. We identified rpm-1 in a screen for mutants with defects in patterning of a presynaptic marker at certain interneuronal synapses. The predicted RPM-1 protein contains zinc binding, RCC1, and other conserved motifs. In rpm-1 mutants, mechanosensory neurons fail to accumulate tagged vesicles, retract synaptic branches, and ectopically extend axons. Some motor neurons branch and overgrow; others show altered synaptic organization. Expression of RPM-1 in the presynaptic mechanosensory neurons is sufficient to rescue phenotypes in these cells. Certain rpm-1 phenotypes are temperature sensitive, revealing that RPM-1 function can be bypassed by maintaining mutants at the permissive temperature at stages commensurate with synapse formation in wild-type animals. These results indicate that RPM-1 functions cell autonomously during synaptogenesis to regulate neuronal morphology.

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