by Andrew B. Hellman, Kang Shen
During development, neural activity is important for forming proper connections in neural networks. The effect of activity on the gross morphology and synaptic strength of neurons has been well documented, but little is known about how activity affects different molecular components during development. Here, we examine the localization of four fluorescently-tagged presynaptic proteins, RAB-3, SNG-1/synaptogyrin, SYD-2/Liprin-α, and SAD-1/SAD kinase, in the C. elegans thermosensory neuron AFD. We show that tax-4 and tax-2, two genes that encode the cyclic nucleotide-gated channel necessary for sensory transduction in AFD, disrupt the localization of all four proteins. In wild-type animals, the synaptic vesicle (SV) markers RAB-3 and SNG-1 and the active zone markers SYD-2 and SAD-1 localize in a stereotyped, punctate pattern in the AFD axon. In tax-4 and tax-2 mutants, SV and SYD-2 puncta are more numerous and less intense. Interestingly, SAD-1 puncta are also less intense but do not increase in number. The change in puncta number can be rescued cell-autonomously in AFD. These results suggest that sensory transduction genes tax-4 and tax-2 are necessary for the proper assembly of presynapses.