Synaptic organization in health and disease

Netrin and its receptor, DCC, are best known for their role in axon migration. Yet, recent findings from our group and others have identified roles for DCC and netrin in synaptogenesis. We recently showed that, in C. elegans, DCC/UNC-40 is dynamically regulated spatially and temporally through ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation and that this regulation controls the maintenance of synaptic connections. Building on this finding, we are now combining cutting-edge research in C. elegans, human cell culture and mouse models of neurodegeneration to elucidate the emerging role of DCC/UNC-40 in the maintenance and malfunction of the adult nervous system.

Dopamine neurons

Dopaminergic neurons of C. elegans