Harmonization of L1CAM expression facilitates axon outgrowth and guidance of a motor neuron

Tessa Sherry, Ava Handley, Hannah R. Nicholas, Roger Pocock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Brain development requires precise regulation of axon outgrowth, guidance and termination by multiple signaling and adhesion molecules. How the expression of these neurodevelopmental regulators is transcriptionally controlled is poorly understood. The Caenorhabditis elegans SMD motor neurons terminate axon outgrowth upon sexual maturity and partially retract their axons during early adulthood. Here we show that C-terminal binding protein 1 (CTBP-1), a transcriptional corepressor, is required for correct SMD axonal development. Loss of CTBP-1 causes multiple defects in SMD axon development: premature outgrowth, defective guidance, delayed termination and absence of retraction. CTBP-1 controls SMD axon guidance by repressing the expression of SAX-7, an L1 cell adhesion molecule (L1CAM). CTBP-1-regulated repression is crucial because deregulated SAX-7/L1CAM causes severely aberrant SMD axons. We found that axonal defects caused by deregulated SAX-7/L1CAM are dependent on a distinct L1CAM, called LAD-2, which itself plays a parallel role in SMD axon guidance. Our results reveal that harmonization of L1CAM expression controls the development and maturation of a single neuron.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdev193805
Number of pages10
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2020


  • Axon guidance
  • Axon outgrowth
  • C-terminal binding protein
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • L1 cell adhesion molecule
  • SAX-7

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