The contactin RIG-6 mediates neuronal and non-neuronal cell migration in Caenorhabditis elegans

Dev Biol. 2013 Jan 1;373(1):184-95. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2012.10.027. Epub 2012 Nov 1.


Cell adhesion molecules of the Immunoglobulin Superfamily (IgCAMs) are key factors in nervous system formation. The contactin subgroup of IgCAMs consists of GPI-anchored glycoproteins implicated in axon outgrowth, guidance, fasciculation and neuronal differentiation. The mechanism by which contactins facilitate neuronal development is not understood. To gain insight into the function of contactins, we characterized RIG-6, the sole contactin of Caenorhabditis elegans. We show that the contactin RIG-6 is involved in excretory cell (EC) tubular elongation. We also show that RIG-6 mediates axon outgrowth and guidance along both the anterior-posterior and dorso-ventral axis, during C. elegans development. We find that optimal RIG-6 expression is critical for accurate mechanosensory neuron axon elongation and ventral nerve cord architecture. In addition, our data suggest that the cytoplasmic UNC-53/NAV2 proteins may contribute to relay signaling via contactins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Axons / physiology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / embryology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Contactins / metabolism*
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology*
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Nervous System / embryology*
  • RNA Interference


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Contactins
  • DNA Primers
  • RIG-6 protein, C elegans