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Dev Biol. 2010 Jul 1;343(1-2):124-37. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2010.03.023. Epub 2010 Apr 8.

Developmental expression of a molluscan RXR and evidence for its novel, nongenomic role in growth cone guidance.

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Dept. Biological Sciences, Brock University, 500 Glenridge Ave. St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada L2S 3A1.


It is well known that the vitamin A metabolite, retinoic acid, plays an important role in vertebrate development and regeneration. We have previously shown that the effects of RA in mediating neurite outgrowth, are conserved between vertebrates and invertebrates (Dmetrichuk et al., 2005, 2006) and that RA can induce growth cone turning in regenerating molluscan neurons (Farrar et al., 2009). In this study, we have cloned a retinoid receptor from the mollusc Lymnaea stagnalis (LymRXR) that shares about 80% amino acid identity with the vertebrate RXRalpha. We demonstrate using Western blot analysis that the LymRXR is present in the developing Lymnaea embryo and that treatment of embryos with the putative RXR ligand, 9-cis RA, or a RXR pan-agonist, PA024, significantly disrupts embryogenesis. We also demonstrate cytoplasmic localization of LymRXR in adult central neurons, with a strong localization in the neuritic (or axonal) domains. Using regenerating cultured motor neurons, we show that LymRXR is also present in the growth cones and that application of a RXR pan-agonist produces growth cone turning in isolated neurites (in the absence of the cell body and nucleus). These data support a role for RXR in growth cone guidance and are the first studies to suggest a nongenomic action for RXR in the nervous system.

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