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Review
. 2009;23(1-2):48-67.
doi: 10.1080/01677060802471668. Epub 2009 Jan 7.

The Irre Cell Recognition Module (IRM) Proteins

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Review

The Irre Cell Recognition Module (IRM) Proteins

Karl-Friedrich Fischbach et al. J Neurogenet. .

Abstract

One of the most challenging problems in developmental neurosciences is to understand the establishment and maintenance of specific membrane contacts between axonal, dendritic, and glial processes in the neuropils, which eventually secure neuronal connectivity. However, underlying cell recognition events are pivotal in other tissues as well. This brief review focuses on the pleiotropic functions of a small, evolutionarily conserved group of proteins of the immunoglobulin superfamily involved in cell recognition. In Drosophila, this protein family comprises Irregular chiasm C/Roughest (IrreC/Rst), Kin of irre (Kirre), and their interacting protein partners, Sticks and stones (SNS) and Hibris (Hbs). For simplicity, we propose to name this ensemble of proteins the irre cell recognition module (IRM) after the first identified member of this family. Here, we summarize evidence that the IRM proteins function together in various cellular interactions, including myoblast fusion, cell sorting, axonal pathfinding, and target recognition in the optic neuropils of Drosophila. Understanding IRM protein function will help to unravel the epigenetic rules by which the intricate neurite networks in sensory neuropils are formed.

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