Cellular localization of ephrin-A2, ephrin-A5, and other functional guidance cues underlies retinotopic development across species

Roger W. Davenport, Edda Thies, Renping Zhou, Phillip G. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Avian retinotectal and rodent retinocollicular systems are general model systems used to examine developmental processes that underpin topographically organized neuronal circuits. The two systems rely on guidance components to establish their precise retinotopic maps, but many cellular events differ during their development. For example, compared with the chick, a generally less restricted outgrowth pattern is observed when retinae innervate their targets in rodents. Cellular or molecular distributions of guidance components may account for such differences in retinotopic development across species. Candidate repellent molecules, such as ephrin-A2 and ephrin-A5 have been cloned in both chick and rodents; however, it has not yet been shown in rodents that living cells express sufficient amounts of any repellent components to deter outgrowth. We used a coculture assay that gives cellular resolution of retino-target interactions and demonstrate that living, caudal superior colliculus cells selectively prevent extension of axons from temporal regions of the retinae. Time-lapse video microscopy revealed the cellular localization of permissive and repulsive guidance components in rodents, which differed from that in chick. To analyze the potential molecular basis for these differences, we investigated the function and localization of ephrin-A2 and -A5. Cells transfected with ephrin-A2 and -A5 selectively repelled retinal axons. Ephrin-A2 and -A5 RNA expression patterns differed across cell populations and between species, suggesting molecular mechanisms and key cellular interactions that may underlie fundamental differences in the development of retinotectal and retinocollicular maps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)975-986
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)


  • Eph receptor tyrosine kinase
  • Ephrin
  • Filopodia
  • Growth cone
  • Guidance cues
  • Neuronal development
  • Repulsion
  • Retinocollicular
  • Retinotectal
  • Retinotopic
  • Retraction
  • Topographic projection

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