The role of C. elegans Ena/VASP homolog UNC-34 in neuronal polarity and motility

Tinya Fleming, Shih Chieh Chien, Pamela J. Vanderzalm, Megan Dell, Megan K. Gavin, Wayne C. Forrester, Gian Garriga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ena/VASP proteins mediate the effects of guidance cues on the actin cytoskeleton. The single C. elegans homolog of the Ena/VASP family of proteins, UNC-34, is required for the migrations of cells and growth cones. Here we show that unc-34 mutant alleles also interact genetically with Wnt mutants to reveal a role for unc-34 in the establishment of neuronal polarity along the C. elegans anterior-posterior axis. Our mutant analysis shows that eliminating UNC-34 function results in neuronal migration and polarity phenotypes that are enhanced at higher temperatures, revealing a heat-sensitive process that is normally masked by the presence of UNC-34. Finally, we show that the UNC-34 protein is expressed broadly and accumulates in axons and at the apical junctions of epithelial cells. While most mutants lacked detectable UNC-34, three unc-34 mutants that contained missense mutations in the EVH1 domain produced full-length UNC-34 that failed to localize to apical junctions and axons, supporting the role for the EVH1 domain in localizing Ena/VASP family members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-106
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Volume344
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2010

Keywords

  • Axon guidance
  • C. elegans
  • Cell migration
  • Neuronal polarity
  • UNC-34

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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    Fleming, T., Chien, S. C., Vanderzalm, P. J., Dell, M., Gavin, M. K., Forrester, W. C., & Garriga, G. (2010). The role of C. elegans Ena/VASP homolog UNC-34 in neuronal polarity and motility. Developmental Biology, 344(1), 94-106. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ydbio.2010.04.025