Article

Highwire regulates guidance of sister axons in the Drosophila mushroom body.

Department of Developmental Biology, Hope Center for Neurological Disorders, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.75). 11/2011; 31(48):17689-700. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3902-11.2011
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Axons often form synaptic contacts with multiple targets by extending branches along different paths. PHR (Pam/Highwire/RPM-1) family ubiquitin ligases are important regulators of axon development, with roles in axon outgrowth, target selection, and synapse formation. Here we report the function of Highwire, the Drosophila member of the PHR family, in promoting the segregation of sister axons during mushroom body (MB) formation. Loss of highwire results in abnormal development of the axonal lobes in the MB, leading to thinned and shortened lobes. The highwire defect is attributable to guidance errors after axon branching, in which sister axons that should target different lobes instead extend together into the same lobe. The highwire mutant MB displays elevation in the level of the MAPKKK Wallenda/DLK (dual leucine zipper kinase), a previously identified substrate of Highwire, and genetic suppression studies show that Wallenda/DLK is required for the highwire MB phenotype. The highwire lobe defect is limited to α/β lobe axons, but transgenic expression of highwire in the pioneering α'/β' neurons rescues the phenotype. Mosaic analysis further shows that α/β axons of highwire mutant clones develop normally, demonstrating a non-cell-autonomous role of Highwire for axon guidance. Genetic interaction studies suggest that Highwire and Plexin A signals may interact to regulate normal morphogenesis of α/β axons.

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