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Dev Neurosci. 2013;35(4):285-92. doi: 10.1159/000351023. Epub 2013 Jun 18.

Role of Slit and Robo proteins in the development of dopaminergic neurons.

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Department of Cell Biology and Ecology, CIBUS, Faculty of Biology, University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.


Dopamine plays a number of important roles in the nervous system and the dopaminergic system is affected in several brain disorders. It is therefore of great interest to study the axonal guidance systems that specifically participate in the correct establishment of dopaminergic projections during development and possibly during regenerative processes. In recent years, several reports have shown that Slits and their Robo receptors control the growth of longitudinal (both ascending and descending) mesodiencephalic dopaminergic axons to their appropriate target areas. In vitro studies have shown that Slit1, 2 and 3 are potent repellents of dopamine neurite extension. In vivo studies using both mice and zebrafish mutants for Slits and Robos have shown that Slits and Robos control the lateral and dorsoventral positioning of dopaminergic longitudinal projections during early development. In the present review, we aimed to compile the existing knowledge from both in vitro and in vivo studies on the role of Slit and Robo proteins in the development of dopaminergic neurons as a basis for future studies.

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