Neuronal Road Map

Science's STKE  09 Oct 2007:
Vol. 2007, Issue 407, pp. tw365
DOI: 10.1126/stke.4072007tw365

As the neural system develops, a distinctive network of interneuron connections is created. Colón-Ramos et al. now find that, in the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, the supporting glial cells provide the requisite road map for making these connections. Particular glial cells express netrin, a signaling molecule, which tells the postsynaptic neuron where to find its connection and tells the presynaptic neuron where to build the substructures required for the connection. Localization of netrin expression in the glial cells serves to focus the neuronal synapse-building capacity in the right spot.

D. A. Colón-Ramos, M. A. Margeta, K. Shen, Glia promote local synaptogenesis through UNC-6 (netrin) signaling in C. elegans. Science 318, 103-106 (2007). [Abstract] [Full Text]