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Heiman, MG and Shaham, S (2009) DEX-1 and DYF-7 establish sensory dendrite length by anchoring dendritic tips during cell migration. Cell 137:344-55


Cells are devices whose structures delimit function. For example, in the nervous system, neuronal and glial shapes dictate paths of information flow. To understand how cells acquire their shapes, we examined the formation of a sense organ in C. elegans. Using time-lapse imaging, we found that sensory dendrites form by stationary anchoring of dendritic tips during cell-body migration. A genetic screen identified DEX-1 and DYF-7, extracellular proteins required for dendritic tip anchoring, which act cooperatively at the time and place of anchoring. DEX-1 and DYF-7 contain, respectively, zonadhesin and zona pellucida domains, and DYF-7 self-associates into multimers important for anchoring. Thus, unlike other dendrites, amphid dendritic tips are positioned by DEX-1 and DYF-7 without the need for long-range guidance cues. In sequence and function, DEX-1 and DYF-7 resemble tectorins, which anchor stereocilia in the inner ear, suggesting that a sensory dendrite anchor may have evolved into part of a mechanosensor.


PubMed PMC2673108 Online version:10.1016/j.cell.2009.01.057


Animals; Caenorhabditis elegans/cytology; Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins/chemistry; Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins/genetics; Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins/metabolism; Cell Movement; Cell Shape; Dendrites/metabolism; Nerve Tissue Proteins/chemistry; Nerve Tissue Proteins/genetics; Nerve Tissue Proteins/metabolism; Neuroglia/cytology; Neurons/cytology