C. elegansfmi-1/flamingo and Wnt pathway components interact genetically to control the anteroposterior neurite growth of the VD GABAergic neurons

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During development, multiple environmental cues, e.g., growth factors, cell adhesion molecules, etc., interact to influence the pattern of outgrowth of axons and dendrites in a cell-specific fashion. As a result, individual neurons may receive similar signals, but make unique choices, leading to distinct wiring within the nervous system.C. eleganshas been useful in identifying molecular cues that influence neuronal development, as well as the downstream mechanisms that allow individual neurons to make cell-specific responses. Recently, we described a role for the conserved cadherin domain-containing protein, FMI-1/flamingo, in multiple stages of neural development inC. elegans.During the initial phase of neurite outgrowth, FMI-1 seems to have a relatively cell-specific effect on the VD neurons to promote the initial neurite formed to grow toward the anterior. In this capacity, FMI-1 appears to work coordinately with at least two Wnt ligands, EGL-20 and LIN-44, and multiple downstream Wnt signaling components (including LIN-17/Frizzled, DSH-1/Disheveled, and BAR-1/β-catenin). Here I will discuss some of the ideas we considered about how FMI-1 could affect neurons as they acquire their morphology during development.

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