In this grant, we propose to understand the molecular mechanisms of dendrite morphogenesis and function. Dendrite morphogenesis determines the connectivity of neurons. We are using a model cell (PVD in C elegans) to study this question. PVD is a proprioceptive neuron that senses muscle contraction and regulates animal movement. In our previous work, we identified the extracellular ligands and their receptor on PVD that guide the dendrite growth and branching. Here, we propose to understand how the receptor-ligand interaction triggers signaling mechanisms and leads to cytoskeletal modifications which eventually drives the morphogenesis events. We will also study how the neurons regulate receptor signaling using a drug target protein called KPC-1 to control guidance decisions. We will also understand how the PVD neurons sense muscle contraction using a putative mechanosensitive channel and how it regulates neuromuscular activity through a surprising neural circuit feedback mechanism. Through these experiments, we will gain insights in the molecular logic of dendrite development. We will identify novel mechanosensitive channels that are important for body movement regulation.

Public Health Relevance

Dendrites are highly branched neuronal processes that serve as the ?antenna? of neurons to gather information. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying dendrite growth and branching will provide the basis for developing new strategies for combating developmental neurological diseases and for slowing down the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, such knowledge will be helpful for developing strategies to promote the regeneration of neural circuits after stroke.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Synapses, Cytoskeleton and Trafficking Study Section (SYN)
Program Officer
Lavaute, Timothy M
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Stanford University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
Zip Code
Dong, Rui; Zhu, Ting; Benedetti, Lorena et al. (2018) The inositol 5-phosphatase INPP5K participates in the fine control of ER organization. J Cell Biol 217:3577-3592
Zou, Wei; Dong, Xintong; Broederdorf, Timothy R et al. (2018) A Dendritic Guidance Receptor Complex Brings Together Distinct Actin Regulators to Drive Efficient F-Actin Assembly and Branching. Dev Cell 45:362-375.e3
Niwa, Shinsuke; Tao, Li; Lu, Sharon Y et al. (2017) BORC Regulates the Axonal Transport of Synaptic Vesicle Precursors by Activating ARL-8. Curr Biol 27:2569-2578.e4
Zhu, Ting; Liang, Xing; Wang, Xiang-Ming et al. (2017) Dynein and EFF-1 control dendrite morphology by regulating the localization pattern of SAX-7 in epidermal cells. J Cell Sci 130:4063-4071
Liu, Xianzhuang; Wang, Xiangming; Shen, Kang (2016) Receptor tyrosine phosphatase CLR-1 acts in skin cells to promote sensory dendrite outgrowth. Dev Biol 413:60-9
Zou, Wei; Shen, Ao; Dong, Xintong et al. (2016) A multi-protein receptor-ligand complex underlies combinatorial dendrite guidance choices in C. elegans. Elife 5:
Yogev, Shaul; Cooper, Roshni; Fetter, Richard et al. (2016) Microtubule Organization Determines Axonal Transport Dynamics. Neuron 92:449-460
Dong, Xintong; Chiu, Hui; Park, Yeonhee Jenny et al. (2016) Precise regulation of the guidance receptor DMA-1 by KPC-1/Furin instructs dendritic branching decisions. Elife 5:
Wei, Xing; Howell, Audrey S; Dong, Xintong et al. (2015) The unfolded protein response is required for dendrite morphogenesis. Elife 4:e06963
Liang, Xing; Dong, Xintong; Moerman, Donald G et al. (2015) Sarcomeres Pattern Proprioceptive Sensory Dendritic Endings through UNC-52/Perlecan in C. elegans. Dev Cell 33:388-400

Showing the most recent 10 out of 12 publications