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Exp Cell Res. 2002 Sep 10;279(1):52-61.

Semaphorin 3E/collapsin-5 inhibits growing retinal axons.

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NMI Naturwissenschaftliches und Medizinisches Institut, Universität Tübingen, Markwiesenstrasse 55, D-72770, Reutlingen, Germany.


During development, the formation of neural networks is reflected by the oriented extension of neurites. Using retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) as a model, we identified the yet uncharacterized chick semaphorin Sema3E/collapsin-5 as a repulsive cue for outgrowing axons. Sema3E/collapsin-5 was highly regulated during retinal histogenesis, with peak expression during the period of intraretinal axon growth. Polymerase chain reaction analysis demonstrated Sema3E/collapsin-5 mRNA in retina layers, from which RGC axons are excluded. Neither isolated RGCs nor purified retinal Müller glia cells synthesized Sema3E/collapsin-5. Sema3E/collapsin-5 receptor sites were visualized by alkaline phosphatase fusion proteins in the axon-rich optic fiber layer. Time-lapse video recording of chick in vitro cultures revealed a growth cone collapsing activity of recombinant Sema3E/collapsin-5. This effect was specific for RGCs, since dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurons of the peripheral nervous system were not affected. Comparison with Sema3A/collapsin-1 displayed a reciprocal specificity, because Sema3A/collapsin-1 hampered exclusively DRG but not RGC growth cones. The collapsing effect was mediated by low cGMP levels, but not cAMP, as revealed by a set of agonists. In summary, the data suggest a possible role of chick Sema3E/collapsin-5 in restricting growth of retinal ganglion cell axons to the optic fiber layer.

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