ABSTRACT: The teneurins, also known as Ten-m/Odz, are highly conserved type II transmembrane glycoproteins widely expressed throughout the nervous system. Functioning as dimers, these large cell-surface adhesion proteins play a key role in regulating neurodevelopmental processes such as axon targeting, synaptogenesis and neuronal wiring. Synaptic specificity is driven by molecular interactions, which can occur either in a trans-homophilic manner between teneurins or through a trans-heterophilic interaction across the synaptic cleft between teneurins and other cell-adhesion molecules, such as latrophilins. The significance of teneurins interactions during development is reflected in the widespread expression pattern of the four existing paralogs across interconnected regions of the nervous system, which we demonstrate here via in situ hybridization and the generation of transgenic BAC reporter lines in zebrafish. Focusing on the visual system, we will also highlight the recent developments that have been made in furthering our understanding of teneurin interactions and their functionality, including the instructive role of teneurin-3 in specifying the functional wiring of distinct amacrine and retinal ganglion cells in the vertebrate visual system underlying a particular functionality. Based on the distinct expression pattern of all teneurins in different retinal cells, it is conceivable that the combination of different teneurins is crucial for the generation of discrete visual circuits. Finally, mutations in all four human teneurin genes have been linked to several types of neurodevelopmental disorders. The opportunity therefore arises that findings about the roles of zebrafish teneurins or their orthologs in other species shed light on the molecular mechanisms in the etiology of such human disorders.
Project description:Teneurins are ancient metazoan cell adhesion receptors that control brain development and neuronal wiring in higher animals. The extracellular C terminus binds the adhesion GPCR Latrophilin, forming a trans-cellular complex with synaptogenic functions. However, Teneurins, Latrophilins, and FLRT proteins are also expressed during murine cortical cell migration at earlier developmental stages. Here, we present crystal structures of Teneurin-Latrophilin complexes that reveal how the lectin and olfactomedin domains of Latrophilin bind across a spiraling beta-barrel domain of Teneurin, the YD shell. We couple structure-based protein engineering to biophysical analysis, cell migration assays, and in utero electroporation experiments to probe the importance of the interaction in cortical neuron migration. We show that binding of Latrophilins to Teneurins and FLRTs directs the migration of neurons using a contact repulsion-dependent mechanism. The effect is observed with cell bodies and small neurites rather than their processes. The results exemplify how a structure-encoded synaptogenic protein complex is also used for repulsive cell guidance.
Project description:The teneurins are a family of glycosylated type II transmembrane proteins synthesized in several tissue from both vertebrate and invertebrate species. These proteins interact with the latrophilins, a group of adhesion G protein-coupled receptors. Both teneurins and latrophilins may have been acquired by choanoflagellates through horizontal gene transfer from a toxin-target system present in prokaryotes. Teneurins are highly conserved in eukaryotes, with four paralogs (TEN1, TEN2, TEN3, and TEN4) in most vertebrates playing a role in the normal neural development, axonal guiding, synapse formation and synaptic maintenance. In this review, we summarize the main findings concerning the distribution and morphology of the teneurins and latrophilins, both during development and in adult animals. We also briefly discuss the current knowledge in the distribution of the teneurin C-terminal associated protein (TCAP), a peptidergic sequence at the terminal portion of teneurins that may be independently processed and secreted. Through the analysis of anatomical data, we draw parallels to the evolution of those proteins and the increasing complexity of this system, which mirrors the increase in metazoan sensory complexity. This review underscores the need for further studies investigating the distribution of teneurins and latrophilins and the use of different animal models.
Project description:Bidirectional signaling by cell adhesion molecules is thought to mediate synapse formation, but the mechanisms involved remain elusive. We found that the adhesion G protein-coupled receptors latrophilin-2 and latrophilin-3 selectively direct formation of perforant-path and Schaffer-collateral synapses, respectively, to hippocampal CA1-region neurons. Latrophilin-3 binds to two transcellular ligands: fibronectin leucine-rich repeat transmembrane proteins (FLRTs) and teneurins. In transgenic mice in vivo, both binding activities were required for input-specific synapse formation, which suggests that coincident binding of both ligands is necessary for synapse formation. In cultured neurons in vitro, teneurin or FLRT alone did not induce excitatory synapse formation, whereas together they potently did so. Thus, postsynaptic latrophilins promote excitatory synapse formation by simultaneous binding of two unrelated presynaptic ligands, which is required for formation of synaptic inputs at specific dendritic localizations.
Project description:Teneurins and latrophilins are both conserved families of cell adhesion proteins that mediate cellular communication and play critical roles in embryonic and neural development. However, their mechanisms of action remain poorly understood. In the past several years, three-dimensional structures of teneurins and latrophilins have been reported at atomic resolutions and revealed distinct protein folds and unique structural features. In this review, we discuss these structures which, together with structure-guided biochemical and functional analyses, provide hints for the mechanisms of trans-cellular communication at the synapse and other cell-cell contact sites.
Project description:Teneurins are type II transmembrane proteins expressed during pattern formation and neurogenesis with an intracellular domain that can be transported to the nucleus and an extracellular domain that can be shed into the extracellular milieu. In Drosophila melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans, and mouse the knockdown or knockout of teneurin expression can lead to abnormal patterning, defasciculation, and abnormal pathfinding of neurites, and the disruption of basement membranes. Here, we have identified and analyzed teneurins from a broad range of metazoan genomes for nuclear localization sequences, protein interaction domains, and furin cleavage sites and have cloned and sequenced the intracellular domains of human and avian teneurins to analyze alternative splicing. The basic organization of teneurins is highly conserved in Bilateria: all teneurins have epidermal growth factor (EGF) repeats, a cysteine-rich domain, and a large region identical in organization to the carboxy-half of prokaryotic YD-repeat proteins. Teneurins were not found in the genomes of sponges, cnidarians, or placozoa, but the choanoflagellate Monosiga brevicollis has a gene encoding a predicted teneurin with a transmembrane domain, EGF repeats, a cysteine-rich domain, and a region homologous to YD-repeat proteins. Further examination revealed that most of the extracellular domain of the M. brevicollis teneurin is encoded on a single huge 6,829-bp exon and that the cysteine-rich domain is similar to sequences found in an enzyme expressed by the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum. This leads us to suggest that teneurins are complex hybrid fusion proteins that evolved in a choanoflagellate via horizontal gene transfer from both a prokaryotic gene and a diatom or algal gene, perhaps to improve the capacity of the choanoflagellate to bind to its prokaryotic prey. As choanoflagellates are considered to be the closest living relatives of animals, the expression of a primitive teneurin by an ancestral choanoflagellate may have facilitated the evolution of multicellularity and complex histogenesis in metazoa.
Project description:Teneurins are a family of highly conserved pair-rule proteins involved in morphogenesis and development of the central nervous system. Their function in adult tissues and in disease is largely unknown. Recent evidence suggests a role for dysregulated expression of Teneurins in human tumors, but systematic investigations are missing. Here, we investigated Teneurin-2 and Teneurin-4 expression in various cancer cell lines and in ovarian tumor tissues. Teneurin-2 and Teneurin-4 were expressed in most of the breast cancer cell lines tested. Teneurin-4 was also detected in ovarian cancer cell lines, and throughout ovarian tumors and normal ovary tissue. Ovarian tumors with low Teneurin-4 expression showed less differentiated phenotypes and these patients had shorter mean overall survival. Similarly, Teneurin-2 expression correlated with overall survival as well, especially in patients with serous tumors. In the various cell lines, 5-Aza-cytidine-induced changes in DNA methylation did not alter expression of Teneurin-2 and Teneurin-4, despite the existence of predicted CpG islands in both genes. Interestingly, however, we found evidence for the control of Teneurin-2 expression by the oncogenic growth factor FGF8. Furthermore, we identified multiple transcript splicing variants for Teneurin-2 and Teneurin-4, indicating complex gene expression patterns in malignant cells. Finally, downregulation of Teneurin-4 expression using siRNA caused a cell-type dependent increase in proliferation and resistance to cisplatin. Altogether, our data suggest that low Teneurin-4 expression provides a growth advantage to cancer cells and marks an undifferentiated state characterized by increased drug resistance and clinical aggressiveness. We conclude that Teneurin-2 and Teneurin-4 expression levels could be of prognostic value in ovarian cancer.
Project description:Neurons are interconnected with extraordinary precision to assemble a functional nervous system. Compared to axon guidance, far less is understood about how individual pre- and postsynaptic partners are matched. To ensure the proper relay of olfactory information in the fruitfly Drosophila, axons of ?50 classes of olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) form one-to-one connections with dendrites of ?50 classes of projection neurons (PNs). Here, using genetic screens, we identified two evolutionarily conserved, epidermal growth factor (EGF)-repeat containing transmembrane Teneurin proteins, Ten-m and Ten-a, as synaptic-partner-matching molecules between PN dendrites and ORN axons. Ten-m and Ten-a are highly expressed in select PN-ORN matching pairs. Teneurin loss- and gain-of-function cause specific mismatching of select ORNs and PNs. Finally, Teneurins promote homophilic interactions in vitro, and Ten-m co-expression in non-partner PNs and ORNs promotes their ectopic connections in vivo. We propose that Teneurins instruct matching specificity between synaptic partners through homophilic attraction.
Project description:A striking feature of the CNS is the precise wiring of its neuronal connections. During vertebrate visual system development, different subtypes of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) form specific connections with their corresponding synaptic partners. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain to be fully elucidated. Here, we report that the cell-adhesive transmembrane protein Teneurin-3 (Tenm3) is required by zebrafish RGCs for acquisition of their correct morphological and functional connectivity in vivo. Teneurin-3 is expressed by RGCs and their presynaptic amacrine and postsynaptic tectal cell targets. Knockdown of Teneurin-3 leads to RGC dendrite stratification defects within the inner plexiform layer, as well as mistargeting of dendritic processes into outer portions of the retina. Moreover, a subset of RGC axons exhibits tectal laminar arborization errors. Finally, functional analysis of RGCs targeting the tectum reveals a selective deficit in the development of orientation selectivity after Teneurin-3 knockdown. These results suggest that Teneurin-3 plays an instructive role in the functional wiring of the vertebrate visual system.
Project description:Brain functions rely on specific patterns of connectivity. Teneurins are evolutionarily conserved transmembrane proteins that instruct synaptic partner matching in Drosophila and are required for vertebrate visual system development. The roles of vertebrate teneurins in connectivity beyond the visual system remain largely unknown and their mechanisms of action have not been demonstrated. Here we show that mouse teneurin-3 is expressed in multiple topographically interconnected areas of the hippocampal region, including proximal CA1, distal subiculum, and medial entorhinal cortex. Viral-genetic analyses reveal that teneurin-3 is required in both CA1 and subicular neurons for the precise targeting of proximal CA1 axons to distal subiculum. Furthermore, teneurin-3 promotes homophilic adhesion in vitro in a splicing isoform-dependent manner. These findings demonstrate striking genetic heterogeneity across multiple hippocampal areas and suggest that teneurin-3 may orchestrate the assembly of a complex distributed circuit in the mammalian brain via matching expression and homophilic attraction.
Project description:Latrophilins (LPHNs) are adhesion GPCRs that are originally discovered as spider's toxin receptors, but are now known to be involved in brain development and linked to several neuronal and non-neuronal disorders. Latrophilins act in conjunction with other cell adhesion molecules and may play a leading role in its network organization. Here, we focus on the main protein partners of latrophilins, namely teneurins, FLRTs and contactins and summarize their respective temporal and spatial expression patterns, links to neurodevelopmental disorders as well as their structural characteristics. We discuss how more recent insights into the separate cell biological functions of these proteins shed light on the central role of latrophilins in this network. We postulate that latrophilins control the refinement of synaptic properties of specific subtypes of neurons, requiring discrete combinations of proteins.