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J Comp Neurol. 1999 Apr 12;406(3):415-24.

Secondary motoneuron axons localize DM-GRASP on their fasciculated segments.

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Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, Eugene 97403, USA.


Cell surface adhesion molecules are thought to play a necessary role in axon guidance and fasciculation in the developing nervous system. We have studied a potential adhesion molecule using the zn-5 monoclonal antibody, which recognizes the surfaces of zebrafish spinal motoneurons. We show that zn-5 recognizes zebrafish DM-GRASP. DM-GRASP is a cell adhesion molecule of the immunoglobulin superfamily that mediates homophilic adhesion and neurite outgrowth in vitro. It is necessary for correct axon routing and fasciculation in the Drosophila visual system. In zebrafish, primary motoneurons pioneer the peripheral motor nerve pathways, and the axons of secondary motoneurons follow the routes established by the primary motoneuron axons. We show that, of the two classes of zebrafish spinal motoneurons, only the later growing secondary motoneurons express DM-GRASP. The secondary motoneurons restrict DM-GRASP protein to their cell bodies and fasciculated segments of their axons. Expression of DM-GRASP is transient: The protein is present during the period of axonal growth and disappears after axons have reached their muscle targets. Thus, homophilic adhesion mediated by DM-GRASP may play a role in fasciculation of secondary motoneuron axons but not in pathfinding by the pioneer axons of the primary motoneurons or in guidance of secondary motoneuron axons to their targets.

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