Neurons receive excitatory or sensory inputs through their dendrites, which often branch extensively to form unique neuron-specific structures. How neurons regulate the formation of their particular arbor is only partially understood. In genetic screens using the multidendritic arbor of PVD somatosensory neurons in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, we identified a mutation in the ER stress sensor IRE-1/Ire1 (inositol requiring enzyme 1) as crucial for proper PVD dendrite arborization in vivo. We further found that regulation of dendrite growth in cultured rat hippocampal neurons depends on Ire1 function, showing an evolutionarily conserved role for IRE-1/Ire1 in dendrite patterning. PVD neurons of nematodes lacking ire-1 display reduced arbor complexity, whereas mutations in genes encoding other ER stress sensors displayed normal PVD dendrites, specifying IRE-1 as a selective ER stress sensor that is essential for PVD dendrite morphogenesis. Although structure function analyses indicated that IRE-1’s nuclease activity is necessary for its role in dendrite morphogenesis, mutations in xbp-1, the best-known target of non-canonical splicing by IRE-1/Ire1, do not exhibit PVD phenotypes. We further determined that secretion and distal localization to dendrites of the DMA-1/leucine rich transmembrane receptor (DMA-1/LRR-TM) is defective in ire-1 but not xbp-1 mutants, suggesting a block in the secretory pathway. Interestingly, reducing Insulin/IGF1 signaling can bypass the secretory block and restore normal targeting of DMA-1, and consequently normal PVD arborization even in the complete absence of functional IRE-1. This bypass of ire-1 requires the DAF-16/FOXO transcription factor. In sum, our work identifies a conserved role for ire-1 in neuronal branching, which is independent of xbp-1, and suggests that arborization defects associated with neuronal pathologies may be overcome by reducing Insulin/IGF signaling and improving ER homeostasis and function.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research