The role of floor plate contact in the elaboration of contralateral commissural projections within the embryonic mouse spinal cord

Stephanie R. Kadison, Fujio Murakami, Michael P. Matise, Zaven Kaprielian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

In vertebrate embryos, commissural axons extend toward and across the floor plate (FP), an intermediate target at the ventral midline (VM) of the spinal cord. After decussating, many commissural axons turn into the longitudinal plane and elaborate diverse projections. FP contact is thought to alter the responsiveness of these axons so that they can exit the FP and adopt new trajectories. However, a requirement for the FP in shaping contralateral commissural projections has not been established in higher vertebrates. Here we further analyze to what extent FP contact is necessary for the elaboration of decussated commissural projections both in cultured, FP-excised spinal cord preparations and in gli2-deficient mice, which lack a FP. In FP-lacking spinal cords, we observe a large number of appropriately projecting contralateral commissural projections in vivo and in vitro. Surprisingly, even though gli2 mutants lack a FP, slit1-3 mRNA and their receptors (Robo1/2) are expressed in a wild-type-like manner. In addition, blocking Robo-Slit interactions in FP-lacking spinal cord explants prevents commissural axons from leaving the VM and turning longitudinally. Thus, compared to FP contact, Slit-Robo interactions are more critical for driving commissural axons out of the VM and facilitating the elaboration of a subset of contralateral commissural projections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-513
Number of pages15
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Volume296
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 15 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

Keywords

  • Commissural axon
  • Contralateral
  • Floor plate
  • Rig-1
  • Robo
  • Slit
  • Spinal cord
  • Ventral midline
  • gli2

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