Neurexin and frizzled intercept axonal transport at microtubule minus ends to control synapse formation

Dev Cell. 2022 Aug 8;57(15):1802-1816.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2022.06.009. Epub 2022 Jul 8.


Synapse formation is locally determined by transmembrane proteins, yet synaptic material is synthesized remotely and undergoes processive transport in axons. How local synaptogenic signals intercept synaptic cargo in transport to promote its delivery and synapse formation is unknown. We found that the control of synaptic cargo delivery at microtubule (MT) minus ends mediates pro- and anti-synaptogenic activities of presynaptic neurexin and frizzled in C. elegans and identified the atypical kinesin VAB-8/KIF26 as a key molecule in this process. VAB-8/KIF26 levels at synaptic MT minus ends are controlled by frizzled and neurexin; loss of VAB-8 mimics neurexin mutants or frizzled hyperactivation, and its overexpression can rescue synapse loss in these backgrounds. VAB-8/KIF26 is required for the synaptic localization of other minus-end proteins and promotes the pausing of retrograde transport to allow delivery to synapses. Consistently, reducing retrograde transport rescues synapse loss in vab-8 and neurexin mutants. These results uncover a mechanistic link between synaptogenic signaling and axonal transport.

Keywords: C. elegans; KIF26; axonal transport; microtubule minus-end; neurexin; synapse; vab-8.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axonal Transport*
  • Axons / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans* / genetics
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Synapses / physiology