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An organelle gatekeeper function for Caenorhabditis elegans UNC-16 (JIP3) at the axon initial segment.


ABSTRACT: Neurons must cope with extreme membrane trafficking demands to produce axons with organelle compositions that differ dramatically from those of the cell soma and dendrites; however, the mechanism by which they accomplish this is not understood. Here we use electron microscopy and quantitative imaging of tagged organelles to show that Caenorhabditis elegans axons lacking UNC-16 (JIP3/Sunday Driver) accumulate Golgi, endosomes, and lysosomes at levels up to 10-fold higher than wild type, while ER membranes are largely unaffected. Time lapse microscopy of tagged lysosomes in living animals and an analysis of lysosome distributions in various regions of unc-16 mutant axons revealed that UNC-16 inhibits organelles from escaping the axon initial segment (AIS) and moving to the distal synaptic part of the axon. Immunostaining of native UNC-16 in C. elegans neurons revealed a localized concentration of UNC-16 at the initial segment, although UNC-16 is also sparsely distributed in distal regions of axons, including the synaptic region. Organelles that escape the AIS in unc-16 mutants show bidirectional active transport within the axon commissure that occasionally deposits them in the synaptic region, where their mobility decreases and they accumulate. These results argue against the long-standing, untested hypothesis that JIP3/Sunday Driver promotes anterograde organelle transport in axons and instead suggest an organelle gatekeeper model in which UNC-16 (JIP3/Sunday Driver) selectively inhibits the escape of Golgi and endosomal organelles from the AIS. This is the first evidence for an organelle gatekeeper function at the AIS, which could provide a regulatory node for controlling axon organelle composition.

SUBMITTER: Edwards SL 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3632462 | BioStudies | 2013-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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