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Dev Cell. 2010 Jun 15;18(6):950-60. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2010.02.019.

The tripartite motif protein MADD-2 functions with the receptor UNC-40 (DCC) in Netrin-mediated axon attraction and branching.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Anatomy, Program in Neuroscience, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


Neurons innervate multiple targets by sprouting axon branches from a primary axon shaft. We show here that the ventral guidance factor unc-6 (Netrin), its receptor unc-40 (DCC), and the gene madd-2 stimulate ventral axon branching in C. elegans chemosensory and mechanosensory neurons. madd-2 also promotes attractive axon guidance to UNC-6 and assists unc-6- and unc-40-dependent ventral recruitment of the actin regulator MIG-10 in nascent axons. MADD-2 is a tripartite motif protein related to MID-1, the causative gene for the human developmental disorder Opitz syndrome. MADD-2 and UNC-40 proteins preferentially localize to a ventral axon branch that requires their function; genetic results indicate that MADD-2 potentiates UNC-40 activity. Our results identify MADD-2 as an UNC-40 cofactor in axon attraction and branching, paralleling the role of UNC-5 in repulsion, and provide evidence that targeting of a guidance factor to specific axonal branches can confer differential responsiveness to guidance cues.

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