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Curr Biol. 2006 Aug 22;16(16):1678-83.

Control of axonal sprouting and dendrite branching by the Nrg-Ank complex at the neuron-glia interface.

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Laboratory of Cell Recognition and Pattern Formation, Graduate School of Biostudies, South Campus Research Building, Room 118, Kyoto University, Yoshida Konoe-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan.


Neurons are highly polarized cells with distinct subcellular compartments, including dendritic arbors and an axon. The proper function of the nervous system relies not only on correct targeting of axons, but also on development of neuronal-class-specific geometry of dendritic arbors [1-4]. To study the intercellular control of the shaping of dendritic trees in vivo, we searched for cell-surface proteins expressed by Drosophila dendritic arborization (da) neurons [5-7]. One of them was Neuroglian (Nrg), a member of the Ig superfamily ; Nrg and vertebrate L1-family molecules have been implicated in various aspects of neuronal wiring, such as axon guidance, axonal myelination, and synapse formation [9-12]. A subset of the da neurons in nrg mutant embryos exhibited deformed dendritic arbors and abnormal axonal sprouting. Our functional analysis in a cell-type-selective manner strongly suggested that those da neurons employed Nrg to interact with the peripheral glia for suppressing axonal sprouting and for forming second-order dendritic branches. At least for the former role, Nrg functioned in concert with the intracellular adaptor protein Ankyrin (Ank) [13]. Thus, the neuron-glia interaction that is mediated by Nrg, together with Ank under some situations, contributes to axonal and dendritic morphogenesis.

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