Establishment and maintenance of motor neuron identity via temporal modularity in terminal selector function

Yinan Li, Anthony Osuma, Edgar Correa, Munachiso A Okebalama, Pauline Dao, Olivia Gaylord, Jihad Aburas, Priota Islam, André EX Brown, Paschalis Kratsios
2020 eLife  
Terminal selectors are transcription factors (TFs) that establish during development and maintain throughout life post-mitotic neuronal identity. We previously showed that UNC-3/Ebf, the terminal selector of C. elegans cholinergic motor neurons (MNs), acts indirectly to prevent alternative neuronal identities (Feng et al., 2020). Here, we globally identify the direct targets of UNC-3. Unexpectedly, we find that the suite of UNC-3 targets in MNs is modified across different life stages,
more » ... fe stages, revealing 'temporal modularity' in terminal selector function. In all larval and adult stages examined, UNC-3 is required for continuous expression of various protein classes (e.g. receptors, transporters) critical for MN function. However, only in late larvae and adults, UNC-3 is required to maintain expression of MN-specific TFs. Minimal disruption of UNC-3's temporal modularity via genome engineering affects locomotion. Another C. elegans terminal selector (UNC-30/Pitx) also exhibits temporal modularity, supporting the potential generality of this mechanism for the control of neuronal identity.
doi:10.7554/elife.59464 pmid:33001031 fatcat:6utyx3of3bcu5ngehpbal25k4u