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Science 328 (5983): 1285-1288

Copyright © 2010 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

The Fusogen EFF-1 Controls Sculpting of Mechanosensory Dendrites

Meital Oren-Suissa,1 David H. Hall,2 Millet Treinin,3 Gidi Shemer,1,*,{dagger} Benjamin Podbilewicz1,{dagger}

Abstract: The mechanisms controlling the formation and maintenance of neuronal trees are poorly understood. We examined the dynamic development of two arborized mechanoreceptor neurons (PVDs) required for reception of strong mechanical stimuli in Caenorhabditis elegans. The PVDs elaborated dendritic trees comprising structural units we call "menorahs." We studied how the number, structure, and function of menorahs were maintained. EFF-1, an essential protein mediating cell fusion, acted autonomously in the PVDs to trim developing menorahs. eff-1 mutants displayed hyperbranched, disorganized menorahs. Overexpression of EFF-1 in the PVD reduced branching. Neuronal pruning appeared to involve EFF-1–dependent branch retraction and neurite-neurite autofusion. Thus, EFF-1 activities may act as a quality control mechanism during the sculpting of dendritic trees.

1 Department of Biology, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel.
2 Center for C. elegans Anatomy, Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, NY 10461, USA.
3 Department of Physiology, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem 91120, Israel.

* Present address: Department of Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.

{dagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: podbilew{at} (B.P.); bishemer{at} (G.S.)

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