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Neuron. 1999 Sep;24(1):165-78.

Identification of maxillary factor, a maxillary process-derived chemoattractant for developing trigeminal sensory axons.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Anatomy, University of California, San Francisco 94143, USA.


Trigeminal sensory axons project to several epithelial targets, including those of the maxillary and mandibular processes. Previous studies identified a chemoattractant activity, termed Maxillary Factor, secreted by these processes, which can attract developing trigeminal axons in vitro. We report that Maxillary Factor activity is composed of two neurotrophins, neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which are produced by both target epithelium and pathway mesenchyme and which are therefore more likely to have a trophic effect on the neurons or their axons than to provide directional information, at least at initial stages of trigeminal axon growth. Consistent with this, the initial trajectories of trigeminal sensory axons are largely or completely normal in mice deficient in both BDNF and NT-3, indicating that other cues must be sufficient for the initial stages of trigeminal axon guidance.

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