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J Neurosci. 1996 Jul 15;16(14):4389-401.

The behavior of optic axons on substrate gradients of retinal basal lamina proteins and merosin.

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  • 1Department of Neurobiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA.

Abstract

To study the behavior of optic axons to continuously changing concentrations of their substrate, explants from embryonic retina were placed across gradients of retinal basal lamina proteins and merosin. The following growth patterns of axons in response to the substrate gradients were found: (1) Axons that grew up gradients, i.e., from low to high substrate concentrations, became longer and less fasciculated with increasing concentration of the substrate. On shallow basal lamina gradients, the axons also showed a directional response that resulted in guidance to higher substrate concentrations. (2) Axons that grew down gradients, i.e., from high to low substrate concentrations, became shorter and more fasciculated with decreasing concentrations of the substrate. On gradients of merosin, a significant alteration in the axonal growth direction toward higher substrate concentrations was detected. Axons heading down gradients never U turned to higher substrate concentrations. (3) Axons confronted with discontinuous substrates were confined to the borders of the substrate exclusively, whereas axons confronted with substrate gradients were able to cross into the territory beyond the substrate. (4) The growth patterns of axons on substrate gradients of basal lamina proteins and merosin were similar but not identical, indicating that axons may respond to substrate gradients dependent on its chemical composition. The present results show that substrate gradients can regulate length and fasciculation of neurites and have a limited capability to direct axons to higher substrate concentrations.

PMID:
8699250
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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