Mind-the-Gap (MTG) is required for neuronal induction of Drosophila neuromuscular junction (NMJ) postsynaptic domains, including glutamate receptor (GluR) localization. We have previously hypothesized that MTG is secreted from the presynaptic terminal to reside in the synaptic cleft, where it binds glycans to organize the heavily glycosylated, extracellular synaptomatrix required for transsynaptic signaling between neuron and muscle. In this study, we test this hypothesis with MTG structure-function analyses of predicted signal peptide (SP) and carbohydrate-binding domain (CBD), by introducing deletion and point-mutant transgenic constructs into mtg null mutants. We show that the SP is required for MTG secretion and localization to synapses in vivo. We further show that the CBD is required to restrict MTG diffusion in the extracellular synaptomatrix and for postembryonic viability. However, CBD mutation results in elevation of postsynaptic GluR localization during synaptogenesis, not the mtg null mutant phenotype of reduced GluRs as predicted by our hypothesis, suggesting that proper synaptic localization of MTG limits GluR recruitment. In further testing CBD requirements, we show that MTG binds N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) in a Ca(2+)-dependent manner, and thereby binds HRP-epitope glycans, but that these carbohydrate interactions do not require the CBD. We conclude that the MTG lectin has both positive and negative binding interactions with glycans in the extracellular synaptic domain, which both facilitate and limit GluR localization during NMJ embryonic synaptogenesis.
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.