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 Chemical Synapses (AG Gundelfinger)

 The neuromuscular junction of Drosophila - a glutamatergic model synapse

The neuromuscular junction (NMJ) of body wall muscles of Drosophila larvae is an easily accessible glutamatergic synapse. The power of Drosophila classical and molecular genetics can be employed to study assembly and function of this synapse. In parallel with work on vertebrate brain synapses we are studying the molecular organization of the fly's NMJ.

Synaptic boutons of a 3rd instar larval neuromuscular junction. The motoneuron is visualized by HRP staining (green). Boutons are immunostained with antibodies against the postsynaptic proteins Dlg (red) and Dlin-7 (magenta). Muscle cell nuclei are visualized by DAPI staining (light blue)

Figure 10: Synaptic boutons of a 3rd instar larval neuromuscular junction. The motoneuron is visualized by HRP staining (green). Boutons are immunostained with antibodies against the postsynaptic proteins Dlg (red) and Dlin-7 (magenta). Muscle cell nuclei are visualized by DAPI staining (light blue).

Collaborators in the project:

  • Ulrich Thomas (FAN GmbH)
  • Marco Timmer
  • Oliver Kobler

External collaborations:

  • Vivian Budnik, University of Massachusetts, Worchester
  • Jimena Sierralta, Universidad de Chile
  • Stephan Sigrist, ENI Göttingen
  • Elisabeth Knust, University of Düsseldorf

Selected publications:

Bachmann A, Timmer M, Sierralta J, Pietrini G, Gundelfinger ED, Knust E, Thomas U (2004) Cell type-specific recruitment of Drosophila Lin-7 to distinct MAGUK-based protein complexes defines novel roles for Sdt and Dlg-S97. J Cell Sci 117(Pt 10):1899-1909.[Link]

Mendoza C, Olguin P, Lafferte G, Thomas U, Ebitsch S, Gundelfinger ED, Kukuljan M, Sierralta J (2003) Novel isoforms of Dlg are fundamental for neuronal development in Drosophila. J Neurosci 23(6):2093-2101.[Link]

Diagana TT, Thomas U, Prokopenko SN, Xiao B, Worley PF, Thomas JB (2002) Mutation of Drosophila homer disrupts control of locomotor activity and behavioral plasticity. J Neurosci 22(2):428-436.[Link]

Mathew D, Gramates LS, Packard M, Thomas U, Bilder D, Perrimon N, Gorczyca M, Budnik V (2002) Recruitment of scribble to the synaptic scaffolding complex requires GUK-holder, a novel DLG binding protein. Curr Biol 12(7):531-539.[Link]

Thomas U, Ebitsch S, Gorczyca M, Koh YH, Hough CD, Woods D, Gundelfinger ED, Budnik V (2000) Synaptic targeting and localization of discs-large is a stepwise process controlled by different domains of the protein. Curr Biol 10(18):1108-1117.

Koh YH, Popova E, Thomas U, Griffith LC, Budnik V (1999) Regulation of DLG localization at synapses by CaMKII-dependent phosphorylation. Cell 98(3):353-363.

Thomas U, Kim E, Kuhlendahl S, Koh YH, Gundelfinger ED, Sheng M, Garner CC, Budnik V (1997) Synaptic clustering of the cell adhesion molecule fasciclin II by discs-large and its role in the regulation of presynaptic structure. Neuron 19(4):787-799.[Link]

Thomas U, Phannavong B, Muller B, Garner CC, Gundelfinger ED (1997) Functional expression of rat synapse-associated proteins SAP97 and SAP102 in Drosophila dlg-1 mutants: effects on tumor suppression and synaptic bouton structure. Mech Dev 62(2):161-174.[Link]

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