Editors' ChoiceNeurobiology

Knowing When to Branch

Science's STKE  14 Oct 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 204, pp. tw406-TW406
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.204.tw406

Neuronal axons form branches to establish precise connections with their targets, but branch control is not well understood. Colavita and Tessier-Lavigne have identified a subset of neurons in Caenorhabditis elegans that require a membrane protein called BAM-2 (branching abnormal) to stop formation of branches and to stabilize their termination. Loss of BAM-2 allowed branches to overshoot their normal termination sites. BAM-2 shows sequence similarity to neurexins that are thought to control the stability of neuronal synapses.

A. Colavita, M. Tessier-Lavigne, A neurexin-related protein, BAM-2, terminates axonal branches in C. elegans. Science 302, 293 (2003). [Abstract] [Full Text]