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Although Caenorhabditis elegans has been utilized extensively to study synapse formation and function, relatively little is known about synaptic plasticity in C. elegans. We show that a brief treatment with the cholinesterase inhibitor aldicarb induces a form of presynaptic potentiation whereby ACh release at neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) is doubled.(More)
During development, circuits are refined by the dynamic addition and removal of synapses; however, little is known about the molecular mechanisms that dictate where and when synaptic refinement occurs. Here we describe transcriptional mechanisms that pattern remodeling of C. elegans neuromuscular junctions (NMJs). The embryonic GABAergic DD motor neurons(More)
Two models have been proposed for endophilin function in synaptic vesicle (SV) endocytosis. The scaffolding model proposes that endophilin's SH3 domain recruits essential endocytic proteins, whereas the membrane-bending model proposes that the BAR domain induces positively curved membranes. We show that mutations disrupting the scaffolding function do not(More)
Sphingolipids are potent lipid second messengers that regulate cell differentiation, migration, survival, and secretion, and alterations in sphingolipid signaling have been implicated in a variety of diseases. However, how sphingolipid levels are regulated, particularly in the nervous system, remains poorly understood. Here, we show that the generation of(More)
Synaptic transmission consists of fast and slow components of neurotransmitter release. Here we show that these components are mediated by distinct exocytic proteins. The Caenorhabditis elegans unc-13 gene is required for SV exocytosis, and encodes long and short isoforms (UNC-13L and S). Fast release was mediated by UNC-13L, whereas slow release required(More)
A neuropeptide (NLP-12) and its receptor (CKR-2) potentiate tonic and evoked ACh release at Caenorhabditis elegans neuromuscular junctions. Increased evoked release is mediated by a presynaptic pathway (egl-30 Gαq and egl-8 PLCβ) that produces DAG, and by DAG binding to short and long UNC-13 proteins. Potentiation of tonic ACh release persists in mutants(More)
The synaptic adhesion molecules neurexin and neuroligin alter the development and function of synapses and are linked to autism in humans. Here, we found that Caenorhabditis elegans neurexin (NRX-1) and neuroligin (NLG-1) mediated a retrograde synaptic signal that inhibited neurotransmitter release at neuromuscular junctions. Retrograde signaling was(More)
BACKGROUND Synaptic transmission can occur in a binary or graded fashion, depending on whether transmitter release is triggered by action potentials or by gradual changes in membrane potential. Molecular differences of these two types of fusion events and their differential regulation in a physiological context have yet to be addressed. Complexin is a(More)
Cell surface Ig superfamily proteins (IgSF) have been implicated in several aspects of neuron development and function. Here, we describe the function of a Caenorhabditis elegans IgSF protein, RIG-3. Mutants lacking RIG-3 have an exaggerated paralytic response to a cholinesterase inhibitor, aldicarb. Although RIG-3 is expressed in motor neurons, heightened(More)
The highly cooperative nature of Ca2+-dependent exocytosis is very important for the precise regulation of transmitter release. It is not known whether the number of binding sites on the Ca2+ sensor can be modulated or not. We have previously reported that protein kinase C (PKC) activation sensitizes the Ca2+ sensor for exocytosis in pituitary gonadotropes.(More)