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Semaphorin-1 and netrin signal in parallel and permissively to position the male ray 1 sensillum in Caenorhabditis elegans.


ABSTRACT: Netrin and semaphorin axon guidance cues have been found to function in the genesis of several mammalian organs; however, little is known about the underlying molecular mechanisms involved. A genetic approach could help to reveal the underpinnings of these mechanisms. The most anterior ray sensillum (ray 1) in the Caenorhabditis elegans male tail is frequently displaced anterior to its normal position in smp-1/semaphorin-1a and plexin-1/plx-1 mutants. Here we report that UNC-6/netrin and its UNC-40/DCC receptor signal in parallel to SMP-1/semaphorin-1a and its PLX-1/plexin-1 receptor to prevent the anterior displacement of ray 1 and that UNC-6 plus SMP-1 signaling can account entirely for this function. We also report that mab-20/semaphorin-2a mutations, which prevent the separation of neighboring rays and cause ray fusions, suppress the anterior displacements of ray 1 caused by deficiencies in SMP-1 and UNC-6 signaling and this is independent of the ray fusion phenotype, whereas overexpression of UNC-40 and PLX-1 cause ray fusions. This suggests that for ray 1 positioning, a balance is struck between a tendency of SMP-1 and UNC-6 signaling to prevent ray 1 from moving away from ray 2 and a tendency of MAB-20/semaphorin-2a signaling to separate all rays from each other. Additional evidence suggests this balance involves the relative adhesion of the ray 1 structural cell to neighboring SET and hyp 7 hypodermal cells. This finding raises the possibility that changes in ray 1 positioning depend on passive movements caused by attachment to the elongating SET cell in opposition to the morphologically more stable hyp 7 cell. Several lines of evidence indicate that SMP-1 and UNC-6 function permissively in the context of ray 1 positioning.

SUBMITTER: Dalpe G 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3522169 | BioStudies | 2012-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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