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Neuron. 2002 Jan 17;33(2):249-59.

Regulation of retrograde signaling at neuromuscular junctions by the novel C2 domain protein AEX-1.

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Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology, Neuroscience Research Institute AIST, Tsukuba, 305-8566, Japan.


Retrograde signaling from postsynaptic cells to presynaptic neurons is essential for regulation of synaptic development, maintenance, and plasticity. Here we report that the novel protein AEX-1 controls retrograde signaling at neuromuscular junctions in C. elegans. aex-1 mutants show neural defects including reduced presynaptic activity and abnormal localization of the synaptic vesicle fusion protein UNC-13. Muscle-specific AEX-1 expression rescues these defects but neuron-specific expression does not. AEX-1 has an UNC-13 homologous domain and appears to regulate exocytosis in muscles. This retrograde signaling requires prohormone-convertase function in muscles, suggesting that a peptide is the retrograde signal. This signal regulates synaptic vesicle release via the EGL-30 Gq(alpha) protein at presynaptic terminals.

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