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Cell Adh Migr. 2010 Jul-Sep;4(3):400-8. Epub 2010 Jul 1.

Ephrins guide migrating cortical interneurons in the basal telencephalon.

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Universität Jena, Institut für Allgemeine Zoologie und Tierphysiologie, Jena, Germany.


Cortical interneurons are born in the proliferative zones of the ganglionic eminences in the subpallium and migrate to the developing cortex along well-defined tangential routes. The mechanisms regulating interneuron migration are not completely understood. Here we examine the role of class-A members of the Eph/ephrin system in directing the migration of interneurons. In situ hybridizations demonstrated that ephrin-A3 is expressed in the developing striatum, an area that is strictly avoided by migrating cortical interneurons in vivo, which express the EphA4 receptor. We then examined interneuron migration in grafting experiments, where explants of the medial ganglionic eminence (MGE) from enhanced green fluorescent protein-expressing transgenic mice were homotopically grafted into host slices from wildtype littermate embryos. After blocking ephrin-A ligands, many interneurons invaded the striatal anlage. Moreover, stripe assay experiments revealed that ephrin-A3 acts as a repellent cue for neurons from the medial ganglionic eminence. Downregulation of the EphA4 receptor via siRNA transfection reduced the repulsive effect of ephrin-A3, indicating that EphA4 mediates at least in part the repulsive effect of ephrin-A3 on these cells. Together, these results suggest that ephrin-A3 acts as a repulsive cue that restricts cortical interneurons from entering inappropriate regions and thus contributes to define the migratory route of cortical interneurons.

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