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Experientia. 1990 Sep 15;46(9):907-16.

Mechanisms of glial-guided neuronal migration in vitro and in vivo.

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Department of Pathology, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York, New York 10032.


Our laboratory has developed an in vitro model system in which glial-guided neuronal migration can be observed in real time. Cerebellar granule neurons migrate on astroglial fibers by apposing their cell soma against the glial arm, forming a specialized migration junction, and extending a motile leading process in the direction of migration. In vitro assays indicate that the neuronal antigen astrotactin functions as a neuron-glia ligand, and is likely to play a role in the movement of neurons along glial fibers. In heterotypic recombinations of neurons and glia from mouse cerebellum and rat hippocampus, neurons migrate on heterotypic glial processes with a cytology, speed and mode of movement identical to that of neuronal migration on homotypic glial fibers, suggesting that glial fibers provide a permissive pathway for neuronal migration in developing brain. In vivo analyses of developing cerebellum demonstrate a close coordination of afferent axon ingrowth relative to target cell migration. These studies indicate that climbing fibers contact immature Purkinje neurons during the migration and settling of Purkinje cells, implicating a role for afferents in the termination of migration.

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