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Dev Biol. 1989 Jul;134(1):158-74.

Growth cone interactions with a glial cell line from embryonic Xenopus retina.

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Department of Biology, University of California San Diego, La Jolla 92093.


We have isolated a nonneuronal cell line from Xenopus retinal neuroepithelium (XR1 cell line). On the basis of immunocytochemical characterization using monoclonal antibodies generated in our laboratory as well as several other glial-specific antibodies, we have established that the XR1 cells are derived from embryonic astroglia. A monolayer of XR1 cells serves as an excellent substrate upon which embryonic retinal explants attach and elaborate neurites. This neurite outgrowth promoting activity appears not to be secreted into the medium, as medium conditioned by XR1 cells is ineffective in promoting outgrowth. Cell-free substrates were prepared to examine whether outgrowth promoting activity is also associated with the XR1 extracellular matrix (ECM). Substrates derived from XR1 cells grown on collagen are still capable of promoting outgrowth following osmotic shock and chemical extraction. This activity does not appear to be associated with laminin or fibronectin. Scanning electron microscopy was used to examine growth cones of retinal axons on XR1 cells and other substrates that supported neurite outgrowth. Growth cones and neurites growing on a monolayer of XR1 cells, or on collagen conditioned by XR1 cells, closely resemble the growth cones of retinal ganglion cells in vivo. A polyclonal antiserum (NOB1) generated against XR1 cells effectively and specifically inhibits neurite outgrowth on XR1-conditioned collagen. We therefore propose that neurite outgrowth promoting factors produced by these cells are associated with the extracellular matrix and may be glial specific.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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