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Neuron. 2005 May 19;46(4):581-94.

The Ror receptor tyrosine kinase CAM-1 is required for ACR-16-mediated synaptic transmission at the C. elegans neuromuscular junction.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City 84112, USA.


Nicotinic (cholinergic) neurotransmission plays a critical role in the vertebrate nervous system, underlies nicotine addiction, and nicotinic receptor dysfunction leads to neurological disorders. The C. elegans neuromuscular junction (NMJ) shares many characteristics with neuronal synapses, including multiple classes of postsynaptic currents. Here, we identify two genes required for the major excitatory current found at the C. elegans NMJ: acr-16, which encodes a nicotinic AChR subunit homologous to the vertebrate alpha7 subunit, and cam-1, which encodes a Ror receptor tyrosine kinase. acr-16 mutants lack fast cholinergic current at the NMJ and exhibit synthetic behavioral deficits with other known AChR mutants. In cam-1 mutants, ACR-16 is mislocalized and ACR-16-dependent currents are disrupted. The postsynaptic deficit in cam-1 mutants is accompanied by alterations in the distribution of cholinergic vesicles and associated synaptic proteins. We hypothesize that CAM-1 contributes to the localization or stabilization of postsynaptic ACR-16 receptors and presynaptic release sites.

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