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Neuron. 2015 May 20;86(4):985-999. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.04.005. Epub 2015 May 7.

Contactin-4 mediates axon-target specificity and functional development of the accessory optic system.

Author information

1
Neurobiology Section, Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.
2
Neurobiology Section, Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA; Neurosciences Department, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.
3
RIKEN Brain Science Institute, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako-shi, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.
4
Neurobiology Section, Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA; Neurosciences Department, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA; Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA. Electronic address: ahuberman@ucsd.edu.

Abstract

The mammalian eye-to-brain pathway includes more than 20 parallel circuits, each consisting of precise long-range connections between specific sets of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and target structures in the brain. The mechanisms that drive assembly of these parallel connections and the functional implications of their specificity remain unresolved. Here we show that in the absence of contactin 4 (CNTN4) or one of its binding partners, amyloid precursor protein (APP), a subset of direction-selective RGCs fail to target the nucleus of the optic tract (NOT)--the accessory optic system (AOS) target controlling horizontal image stabilization. Conversely, ectopic expression of CNTN4 biases RGCs to arborize in the NOT, and that process also requires APP. Our data reveal critical and novel roles for CNTN4/APP in promoting target-specific axon arborization, and they highlight the importance of this process for functional development of a behaviorally relevant parallel visual pathway.

PMID:
25959733
PMCID:
PMC4706364
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuron.2015.04.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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