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Neurexin and Frizzled signaling intercept axonal-transport at microtubule minus-ends to control synapse formation

By Santiago Balseiro-Gomez, Yang Yue, Lin Shao, Selim Cetinkaya, Caroline Kuzoian, Kristen J. Verhey, Shaul Yogev

Posted 22 Mar 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.03.22.436477

Precise synaptic connectivity defines neuronal circuits. 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 control of cargo delivery from microtubule 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 on synaptic microtubule minus-ends are controlled by Frizzled and Neurexin, its loss mimics neurexin mutants or Frizzled hyperactivation, and its overexpression can rescue synapse-loss in these backgrounds. VAB-8/KIF26 protects other minus-end proteins and promotes pausing of retrograde transport to allow delivery into synapses. Consistently, reducing retrograde transport rescues synapse-loss in vab-8 and neurexin mutants. These results uncover an important mechanistic link between synaptogenic signaling and axonal transport.

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