Dendrites develop elaborate morphologies in concert with surrounding glia, but the molecules that coordinate dendrite and glial morphogenesis are mostly unknown. C. elegans offers a powerful model for identifying such factors. Previous work in this system examined dendrites and glia that develop within epithelia, similar to mammalian sense organs. Here, we focus on the neurons BAG and URX, which are not part of an epithelium but instead form membranous attachments to a single glial cell at the nose, reminiscent of dendrite-glia contacts in the mammalian brain. We show that these dendrites develop by retrograde extension, in which the nascent dendrite endings anchor to the presumptive nose and then extend by stretch during embryo elongation. Using forward genetic screens, we find that dendrite development requires the adhesion protein SAX-7/L1CAM and the cytoplasmic protein GRDN-1/CCDC88C to anchor dendrite endings at the nose. SAX-7 acts in neurons and glia, while GRDN-1 acts in glia to non-autonomously promote dendrite extension. Thus, this work shows how glial factors can help to shape dendrites, and identifies a novel molecular mechanism for dendrite growth by retrograde extension.
Dendrites with specialized glial attachments develop by retrograde extension using SAX-7 and GRDN-1
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Elizabeth R. Cebul, Ian G. McLachlan, Maxwell G. Heiman; Dendrites with specialized glial attachments develop by retrograde extension using SAX-7 and GRDN-1. Development 2020; dev.180448. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/dev.180448
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