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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A genetic screen for neurite outgrowth mutants in Caenorhabditis elegans reveals a new function for the F-box ubiquitin ligase component LIN-23.

Axon pathfinding and target recognition are highly dynamic and tightly regulated cellular processes. One of the mechanisms involved in regulating protein activity levels during axonal and synaptic development is protein ubiquitination. We describe here the isolation of several Caenorhabditis elegans mutants, termed eno (ectopic/erratic neurite outgrowth) mutants, that display defects in axon outgrowth of specific neuron classes. One retrieved mutant is characterized by abnormal termination of axon outgrowth in a subset of several distinct neuron classes, including ventral nerve cord motor neurons, head motor neurons, and mechanosensory neurons. This mutant is allelic to lin-23, which codes for an F-box-containing component of an SCF E3 ubiquitin ligase complex that was previously shown to negatively regulate postembryonic cell divisions. We demonstrate that LIN-23 is a broadly expressed cytoplasmically localized protein that is required autonomously in neurons to affect axon outgrowth. Our newly isolated allele of lin-23, a point mutation in the C-terminal tail of the protein, displays axonal outgrowth defects similar to those observed in null alleles of this gene, but does not display defects in cell cycle regulation. We have thus defined separable activities of LIN-23 in two distinct processes, cell cycle control and axon patterning. We propose that LIN-23 targets distinct substrates for ubiquitination within each process.[1]


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