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PLoS Genet. 2016 Apr 28;12(4):e1006010. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1006010. eCollection 2016 Apr.

The MADD-3 LAMMER Kinase Interacts with a p38 MAP Kinase Pathway to Regulate the Display of the EVA-1 Guidance Receptor in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The Collaborative Programme in Developmental Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


The proper display of transmembrane receptors on the leading edge of migrating cells and cell extensions is essential for their response to guidance cues. We previously discovered that MADD-4, which is an ADAMTSL secreted by motor neurons in Caenorhabditis elegans, interacts with an UNC-40/EVA-1 co-receptor complex on muscles to attract plasma membrane extensions called muscle arms. In nematodes, the muscle arm termini harbor the post-synaptic elements of the neuromuscular junction. Through a forward genetic screen for mutants with disrupted muscle arm extension, we discovered that a LAMMER kinase, which we call MADD-3, is required for the proper display of the EVA-1 receptor on the muscle's plasma membrane. Without MADD-3, EVA-1 levels decrease concomitantly with a reduction of the late-endosomal marker RAB-7. Through a genetic suppressor screen, we found that the levels of EVA-1 and RAB-7 can be restored in madd-3 mutants by eliminating the function of a p38 MAP kinase pathway. We also found that EVA-1 and RAB-7 will accumulate in madd-3 mutants upon disrupting CUP-5, which is a mucolipin ortholog required for proper lysosome function. Together, our data suggests that the MADD-3 LAMMER kinase antagonizes the p38-mediated endosomal trafficking of EVA-1 to the lysosome. In this way, MADD-3 ensures that sufficient levels of EVA-1 are present to guide muscle arm extension towards the source of the MADD-4 guidance cue.

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