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Neuron. 2002 Jan 3;33(1):47-61.

Regulation of cortical dendrite development by Slit-Robo interactions.

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Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 725 N. Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


Slit proteins have previously been shown to regulate axon guidance, branching, and neural migration. Here we report that, in addition to acting as a chemorepellant for cortical axons, Slit1 regulates dendritic development. Slit1 is expressed in the developing cortex, and exposure to Slit1 leads to increased dendritic growth and branching. Conversely, inhibition of Slit-Robo interactions by Robo-Fc fusion proteins or by a dominant-negative Robo attenuates dendritic branching. Stimulation of neurons transfected with a Met-Robo chimeric receptor with Hepatocyte growth factor leads to a robust induction of dendritic growth and branching, suggesting that Robo-mediated signaling is sufficient to induce dendritic remodeling. These experiments indicate that Slit-Robo interactions may exert a significant influence over the specification of cortical neuron morphology by regulating both axon guidance and dendritic patterning.

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