Caenorhabditis elegans Flamingo FMI-1 controls dendrite self-avoidance through F-actin assembly.Development. 2020 Jul 31; 147(14)D
Self-avoidance is a conserved mechanism that prevents crossover between sister dendrites from the same neuron, ensuring proper functioning of the neuronal circuits. Several adhesion molecules are known to be important for dendrite self-avoidance, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are incompletely defined. Here, we show that FMI-1/Flamingo, an atypical cadherin, is required autonomously for self-avoidance in the multidendritic PVD neuron of Caenorhabditis elegans The fmi-1 mutant shows increased crossover between sister PVD dendrites. Our genetic analysis suggests that FMI-1 promotes transient F-actin assembly at the tips of contacting sister dendrites to facilitate their efficient retraction during self-avoidance events, probably by interacting with WSP-1/N-WASP. Mutations of vang-1, which encodes the planar cell polarity protein Vangl2 previously shown to inhibit F-actin assembly, suppress self-avoidance defects of the fmi-1 mutant. FMI-1 downregulates VANG-1 levels probably through forming protein complexes. Our study identifies molecular links between Flamingo and the F-actin cytoskeleton that facilitate efficient dendrite self-avoidance.