C. elegans MAGU-2/Mpp5 homolog regulates epidermal phagocytosis and synapse density

Salvatore J. Cherra, Alexandr Goncharov, Daniela Boassa, Mark Ellisman, Yishi Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Synapses are dynamic connections that underlie essential functions of the nervous system. The addition, removal, and maintenance of synapses govern the flow of information in neural circuits throughout the lifetime of an animal. While extensive studies have elucidated many intrinsic mechanisms that neurons employ to modulate their connections, increasing evidence supports the roles of non-neuronal cells, such as glia, in synapse maintenance and circuit function. We previously showed that C. elegans epidermis regulates synapses through ZIG-10, a cell-adhesion protein of the immunoglobulin domain superfamily. Here we identified a member of the Pals1/MPP5 family, MAGU-2, that functions in the epidermis to modulate phagocytosis and the number of synapses by regulating ZIG-10 localization. Furthermore, we used light and electron microscopy to show that this epidermal mechanism removes neuronal membranes from the neuromuscular junction, dependent on the conserved phagocytic receptor CED-1. Together, our study shows that C. elegans epidermis constrains synaptic connectivity, in a manner similar to astrocytes and microglia in mammals, allowing optimized output of neural circuits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-306
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurogenetics
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • ACR-2
  • glia
  • miniSOG
  • neuromuscular junction
  • synapse elimination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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