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PLoS Biol. 2010 Aug 10;8(8):e1000446. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000446.

Foxp1 and lhx1 coordinate motor neuron migration with axon trajectory choice by gating Reelin signalling.

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Neural Circuit Development Laboratory, Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal, Montréal, Canada.


Topographic neuronal maps arise as a consequence of axon trajectory choice correlated with the localisation of neuronal soma, but the identity of the pathways coordinating these processes is unknown. We addressed this question in the context of the myotopic map formed by limb muscles innervated by spinal lateral motor column (LMC) motor axons where the Eph receptor signals specifying growth cone trajectory are restricted by Foxp1 and Lhx1 transcription factors. We show that the localisation of LMC neuron cell bodies can be dissociated from axon trajectory choice by either the loss or gain of function of the Reelin signalling pathway. The response of LMC motor neurons to Reelin is gated by Foxp1- and Lhx1-mediated regulation of expression of the critical Reelin signalling intermediate Dab1. Together, these observations point to identical transcription factors that control motor axon guidance and soma migration and reveal the molecular hierarchy of myotopic organisation.

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Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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