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Gene Expr Patterns. 2011 Jan-Feb;11(1-2):144-50. doi: 10.1016/j.gep.2010.10.008. Epub 2010 Nov 3.

The neurexin superfamily of Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Department of Molecular Cell Biology, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel.


The neurexin superfamily is a group of transmembrane molecules mediating cell-cell contacts and generating specialized membranous domains in polarized epithelial and nerves cells. We describe here the domain organization and expression of the entire, core neurexin superfamily in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, which is composed of three family members. One of the superfamily members, nrx-1, is an ortholog of vertebrate neurexin, the other two, itx-1 and nlr-1, are orthologs of the Caspr subfamily of neurexin-like genes. Based on reporter gene analysis, we find that nrx-1 is exclusively expressed in most if not all cells of the nervous system and localizes to presynaptic specializations. itx-1 and nrx-1 reporter genes are expressed in non-overlapping patterns within and outside the nervous system. ITX-1 protein co-localizes with β-G-spectrin to a subapical domain within intestinal cells. These studies provide a starting point for further functional analysis of this family of proteins.

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