The Cell Death Pathway Regulates Synapse Elimination through Cleavage of Gelsolin in Caenorhabditis elegans Neurons.
Synapse elimination occurs in development, plasticity, and disease. Although the importance of synapse elimination has been documented in many studies, the molecular mechanisms underlying this process are unclear. Here, using the development of C. elegans RME neurons as a model, we have uncovered a function for the apoptosis pathway in synapse elimination. We find that the conserved apoptotic cell death (CED) pathway and axonal mitochondria are required for the elimination of transiently formed clusters of presynaptic components in RME neurons. This function of the CED pathway involves the activation of the actin-filament-severing protein, GSNL-1. Furthermore, we show that caspase CED-3 cleaves GSNL-1 at a conserved C-terminal region and that the cleaved active form of GSNL-1 promotes its actin-severing ability. Our data suggest that activation of the CED pathway contributes to selective elimination of synapses through disassembly of the actin filament network.
Meng, L; Mulcahy, B; Cook, SJ; Neubauer, M; Wan, A; Jin, Y; Yan, D
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