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A Chemoattractant Role for NT-3 in Proprioceptive Axon Guidance

posted on 2013-01-20, 11:37 authored by Barış Genç, P. Hande Özdinler, April E Mendoza, Reha S Erzurumlu

Neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) is required for proprioceptive neuron survival. Deletion of the proapoptotic gene Bax in NT-3 knockout mice rescues these neurons and allows for examination of their axon growth in the absence of NT-3 signaling. TrkC-positive peripheral and central axons from dorsal root ganglia follow proper trajectories and arrive in close proximity to their targets but fail to innervate them. Peripherally, muscle spindles are absent and TrkC-positive axons do not enter their target muscles. Centrally, proprioceptive axons branch in ectopic regions of the spinal cord, even crossing the midline. In vitro assays reveal chemoattractant effects of NT-3 on dorsal root ganglion axons. Our results show that survival factor NT-3 acts as a short-distance axon guidance molecule for muscle sensory afferents as they approach their proper targets.


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