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Dev Biol. 2002 Nov 15;251(2):348-66.

UNC-5 function requires phosphorylation of cytoplasmic tyrosine 482, but its UNC-40-independent functions also require a region between the ZU-5 and death domains.

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Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, 600 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5G 1X5, Canada.


Members of the UNC-5 protein family are transmembrane receptors for UNC-6/netrin guidance cues. To analyze the functional roles of different UNC-5 domains, we sequenced mutations in seven severe and three weak alleles of unc-5 in Caenorhabditis elegans. Four severe alleles contain nonsense mutations. Two weak alleles are truncations of the cytodomain, but one is a missense mutation in an extracellular immunoglobulin domain. To survey the function of different regions of UNC-5, wild-type and mutant unc-5::HA transgenes were tested for their ability to rescue the unc-5(e53) null mutant. Our data reveal partial functional requirements for the extracellular domains and identify a portion of the cytoplasmic juxtamembrane (JM) region as essential for rescue of migrations. When nine cytodomain tyrosines, including seven in the JM region, are mutated to phenylalanine, UNC-5 function and tyrosine phosphorylation are largely compromised. When F482 in the JM region of the mutant protein is reverted to tyrosine, UNC-5 tyrosine phosphorylation and in vivo function are largely recovered, suggesting that Y482 phosphorylation is critical to UNC-5 function in vivo. Our data also show that part of the ZU-5 motif is required for UNC-40-independent signaling of UNC-5.

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