Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

Keep On Neurexin

Sci. Signal.  28 Aug 2012:
Vol. 5, Issue 239, pp. ec224
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2003529

Mutations altering neurexin and neuroligin have been linked to several psychiatric disorders, including autism and schizophrenia. However, it remains uncertain how these mutations alter neural circuit development and function. Working in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, Hu et al. found that neurexin and neuroligin function downstream of a muscle microRNA (miR-1), mediating a retrograde synaptic signal that inhibits neurotransmitter release. This retrograde signal inhibited transmission by adjusting the rate and duration of synaptic vesicle release.

Z. Hu, S. Hom, T. Kudze, X.-J. Tong, S. Choi, G. Aramuni, W. Zhang, J. M. Kaplan, Neurexin and neuroligin mediate retrograde synaptic inhibition in C. elegans. Science 337, 980–984 (2012). [Abstract] [Full Text]