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Neuron. 1999 Sep;24(1):127-41.

BMPs as mediators of roof plate repulsion of commissural neurons.

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Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University, New York, New York 10032, USA.


During spinal cord development, commissural (C) neurons, located near the dorsal midline, send axons ventrally and across the floor plate (FP). The trajectory of these axons toward the FP is guided in part by netrins. The mechanisms that guide the early phase of C axon extension, however, have not been resolved. We show that the roof plate (RP) expresses a diffusible activity that repels C axons and orients their growth within the dorsal spinal cord. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) appear to act as RP-derived chemorepellents that guide the early trajectory of the axons of C neurons in the developing spinal cord: BMP7 mimics the RP repellent activity for C axons in vitro, can act directly to collapse C growth cones, and appears to serve an essential function in RP repulsion of C axons.

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