Tenascin-R as a repellent guidance molecule for newly growing and regenerating optic axons in adult zebrafish

Catherina G. Becker, Jörn Schweitzer, Julia Feldner, Melitta Schachner, Thomas Becker

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47 Scopus citations


In adult fish, in contrast to mammals, new optic axons are continuously added to the optic projection, and optic axons regrow after injury. Thus, pathfinding of optic axons during development, adult growth, and adult regeneration may rely on the same guidance cues. We have shown that tenascin-R, a component of the extracellular matrix, borders the optic pathway in developing zebrafish and acts as a repellent guidance molecule for optic axons. Here we analyze tenascin-R expression patterns along the unlesioned and lesioned optic pathway of adult zebrafish and test the influence of tenascin-R on growing optic axons of adult fish in vitro. Within intraretinal fascicles of optic axons and in the optic nerve, newly added optic axons grow in a tenascin-R immunonegative pathway, which is bordered by tenascin-R immunoreactivity. In the brain, tenascin-R expression domains in the ventral diencephalon, in non-retinorecipient pretectal nuclei and in some tectal layers closely border the optic pathway in unlesioned animals and during axon regrowth. We mimicked these boundary situations with a sharp substrate border of tenascin-R in vitro. Optic axons emanating from adult retinal explants were repelled by tenascin-R substrate borders. This is consistent with a function of tenascin-R as a repellent guidance molecule in boundaries for adult optic axons. Thus, tenascin-R may guide newly added and regenerating optic axons by a contact-repellent mechanism in the optic pathway of adult fish.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-389
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular and Cellular Neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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