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Cell Rep. 2014 Aug 21;8(4):1006-17. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.06.063. Epub 2014 Jul 31.

Birthdate and outgrowth timing predict cellular mechanisms of axon target matching in the developing visual pathway.

Author information

1
Neurobiology Section, Division of Biology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.
2
Neurobiology Section, Division of Biology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA; Neurosciences Department, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.
3
Neurobiology Section, Division of Biology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA; Neurosciences Department, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA; Department of Ophthalmology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA. Electronic address: ahuberman@ucsd.edu.

Abstract

How axons select their appropriate targets in the brain remains poorly understood. Here, we explore the cellular mechanisms of axon target matching in the developing visual system by comparing four transgenic mouse lines, each with a different population of genetically labeled retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) that connect to unique combinations of brain targets. We find that the time when an RGC axon arrives in the brain is correlated with its target selection strategy. Early-born, early-arriving RGC axons initially innervate multiple targets. Subsequently, most of those connections are removed. By contrast, later-born, later-arriving RGC axons are highly accurate in their initial target choices. These data reveal the diversity of cellular mechanisms that mammalian CNS axons use to pick their targets and highlight the key role of birthdate and outgrowth timing in influencing this precision. Timing-based mechanisms may underlie the assembly of the other sensory pathways and complex neural circuitry in the brain.

PMID:
25088424
PMCID:
PMC4143387
DOI:
10.1016/j.celrep.2014.06.063
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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