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Neuron. 2000 Dec;28(3):779-92.

A POU domain transcription factor-dependent program regulates axon pathfinding in the vertebrate visual system.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute and, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.


Axon pathfinding relies on the ability of the growth cone to detect and interpret guidance cues and to modulate cytoskeletal changes in response to these signals. We report that the murine POU domain transcription factor Brn-3.2 regulates pathfinding in retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons at multiple points along their pathways and the establishment of topographic order in the superior colliculus. Using representational difference analysis, we identified Brn-3.2 gene targets likely to act on axon guidance at the levels of transcription, cell-cell interaction, and signal transduction, including the actin-binding LIM domain protein abLIM. We present evidence that abLIM plays a crucial role in RGC axon pathfinding, sharing functional similarity with its C. elegans homolog, UNC-115. Our findings provide insights into a Brn-3.2-directed hierarchical program linking signaling events to cytoskeletal changes required for axon pathfinding.

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