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Migration of neurons and neural crest cells is of central importance to the development of nervous systems. In Caenorhabditis elegans, the QL neuroblast on the left migrates posteriorly, and QR on the right migrates anteriorly, despite similar lineages and birth positions with regard to the left-right axis. Initial migration is independent of a Wnt signal that controls later anterior-posterior Q descendant migration. Previous studies showed that the transmembrane proteins UNC-40/DCC and MIG-21, a novel thrombospondin type I repeat containing protein, act redundantly in left-side QL posterior migration. Here we show that the LAR receptor protein tyrosine phosphatase PTP-3 acts with MIG-21 in parallel to UNC-40 in QL posterior migration. We also show that in right-side QR, the UNC-40 and PTP-3/MIG-21 pathways mutually inhibit each other's role in posterior migration, allowing anterior QR migration. Finally, we present evidence that these proteins act autonomously in the Q neuroblasts. These studies indicate an inherent left-right asymmetry in the Q neuroblasts with regard to UNC-40, PTP-3, and MIG-21 function that results in posterior vs. anterior migration.


Lakshmi Sundararajan, Erik A Lundquist. Transmembrane proteins UNC-40/DCC, PTP-3/LAR, and MIG-21 control anterior-posterior neuroblast migration with left-right functional asymmetry in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics. 2012 Dec;192(4):1373-88

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PMID: 23051647

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