ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-120608-3
Midline crossing is not required for subsequent pathfinding decisions in commissural neurons
Bonner, J., Letko, M., Nikolaus, O.B., Krug, L., Cooper, A., Chadwick, B., Conklin, P., Lim, A., Chien, C.B., and Dorsky, R.I.
Date: 2012
Source: Neural Development   7(1): 18 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Bonner, Jennifer, Chien, Chi-Bin, Dorsky, Richard, Lim, Amy
Keywords: none
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Axons/drug effects
  • Axons/physiology*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental/drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental/physiology*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins/genetics
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Morpholines/pharmacology
  • Mutation/genetics
  • Neurogenesis/drug effects
  • Neurogenesis/genetics
  • Neurogenesis/physiology*
  • Neurons/cytology*
  • Neurons/drug effects
  • Neurons/physiology
  • Receptors, Cell Surface/genetics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface/metabolism
  • Receptors, Immunologic/genetics
  • Receptors, Immunologic/metabolism
  • Single-Cell Analysis
  • Spinal Cord/cytology*
  • Spinal Cord/embryology
  • Zebrafish
  • Zebrafish Proteins/genetics
  • Zebrafish Proteins/metabolism
PubMed: 22672767 Full text @ Neural Dev.

Growth cone navigation across the vertebrate midline is critical in the establishment of nervous system connectivity. While midline crossing is achieved through coordinated signaling of attractive and repulsive cues, this has never been demonstrated at the single cell level. Further, though growth cone responsiveness to guidance cues changes after crossing the midline, it is unclear whether midline crossing itself is required for subsequent guidance decisions in vivo. In the zebrafish, spinal commissures are initially formed by a pioneer neuron called CoPA (Commissural Primary Ascending). Unlike in other vertebrate models, CoPA navigates the midline alone, allowing for single-cell analysis of axon guidance mechanisms. Results: We provide evidence that CoPA expresses the known axon guidance receptors dcc, robo3 and robo2. Using loss of function mutants and gene knock-down, we show that the functions of these genes are evolutionarily conserved in teleosts, and that they are used consecutively by CoPA neurons. We also reveal novel roles for robo2 and robo3 in maintaining commissure structure. When midline crossing is prevented in robo3 mutants and dcc gene knock-down, ipsilaterally projecting neurons respond to postcrossing guidance cues. Furthermore, DCC inhibits Robo2 function before midline crossing, to allow midline approach and crossing. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that midline crossing is not required for subsequent guidance decisions by pioneer axons, and that this is due, in part, to DCC inhibition of Robo2 function prior to midline crossing.