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Review
. 2012 Jun;22(3):431-7.
doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2011.10.002. Epub 2011 Oct 28.

Expanding Views of Presynaptic Terminals: New Findings From Caenorhabditis Elegans

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Free PMC article
Review

Expanding Views of Presynaptic Terminals: New Findings From Caenorhabditis Elegans

Dong Yan et al. Curr Opin Neurobiol. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

The unique ability of chemical synapses to transmit information relies on the structural organization of presynaptic terminals. Empowered by forward genetics, research using Caenorhabditis elegans has continued to make pivotal contributions to discover conserved regulators and pathways for presynaptic development. Recent advances in microscopy have begun to pave the path for linking molecular dynamics with subsynaptic structures. Studies using diverse reporters for synapses further broaden the landscape of regulatory mechanisms underlying presynaptic differentiation. The identification of novel regulators at transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels raises new questions for understanding synapse formation at the genomic scale.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Towards an ultraview of presynaptic structures in C. elegans. (a)(a′): Localization of the active zone protein, SYD-2/Liprin-α by super-resolution fluorescent imaging on electron micrographs. STED image (a), (a′) and (a″) of a thin section (70 nm) from a worm expressing SYD-2/Liprin-α–Citrine was overlaid with the EM image (a), (a′) and (a″) from the same section (a), (a′) and (a″). Scale bar 500 nm. Images are adapted with permission from Watanabe et al. [12••].
Figure 2
Figure 2
Schematic summary of multiple steps coordinating the formation of presynaptic terminals. SAM-10 and SYDN-1 localize in the nucleus and control gene expression at the transcription and pre-mRNA 3′ end processing steps. A novel protein CALF-1 and the VGCC α2/δ subunit UNC-36 act as cofactors in ER to gate the sorting or exit of the pore-forming calcium channel UNC-2 to presynaptic terminals. AZ proteins are probably preassembled in the Golgi apparatus. Biogenesis and maturation of DCVs require UNC-108/RAB-2 and RIC-19, respectively. Transport of SVPs is regulated by the ARF like protein ARL-8, and SYD-2 acts as an adaptor to link SVPs to the motor protein UNC-104. Two innexins, UNC-7 and UNC-9, co-localize near chemical synapses and regulate AZ formation.

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