Glial precursors clear sensory neuron corpses during development via Jedi-1, an engulfment receptor.

Wu HH, Bellmunt E, Scheib JL, Venegas V, Burkert C, Reichardt LF, Zhou Z, FariƱas I, Carter BD
Nat Neurosci. 2009 12 (12): 1534-41

PMID: 19915564 · PMCID: PMC2834222 · DOI:10.1038/nn.2446

During the development of peripheral ganglia, 50% of the neurons that are generated undergo apoptosis. How the massive numbers of corpses are removed is unknown. We found that satellite glial cell precursors are the primary phagocytic cells for apoptotic corpse removal in developing mouse dorsal root ganglia (DRG). Confocal and electron microscopic analysis revealed that glial precursors, rather than macrophages, were responsible for clearing most of the dead DRG neurons. Moreover, we identified Jedi-1, an engulfment receptor, and MEGF10, a purported engulfment receptor, as homologs of the invertebrate engulfment receptors Draper and CED-1 expressed in the glial precursor cells. Expression of Jedi-1 or MEGF10 in fibroblasts facilitated binding to dead neurons, and knocking down either protein in glial cells or overexpressing truncated forms lacking the intracellular domain inhibited engulfment of apoptotic neurons. Together, these results suggest a cellular and molecular mechanism by which neuronal corpses are culled during DRG development.

MeSH Terms (19)

Animals Apoptosis Cells, Cultured Female Fibroblasts Ganglia, Spinal Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental Green Fluorescent Proteins Humans Kidney Membrane Proteins Mice Mice, Transgenic Nerve Growth Factor Neuroglia Phagocytosis Pregnancy Sensory Receptor Cells Stem Cells

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