Indexed on: 20 Aug '19Published on: 24 Apr '19Published in: eLife
Neural circuit assembly occurs with subcellular precision, yet the mechanisms underlying this precision remain largely unknown. Subcellular synaptic specificity could be achieved by molecularly distinct subcellular domains that locally regulate synapse formation, or by axon guidance cues restricting access to one of several acceptable targets. We address these models using two neurons: the dbd sensory neuron and the A08a interneuron. In wild-type larvae, dbd synapses with the A08a medial dendrite but not the A08a lateral dendrite. dbd-specific overexpression of the guidance receptors Unc-5 or Robo-2 results in lateralization of the dbd axon, which forms anatomical and functional monosynaptic connections with the A08a lateral dendrite. We conclude that axon guidance cues, not molecularly distinct dendritic arbors, are a major determinant of dbd-A08a subcellular synapse specificity. © 2019, Sales et al.