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Nature. 2018 Feb 15;554(7692):328-333. doi: 10.1038/nature25463. Epub 2018 Feb 7.

Teneurin-3 controls topographic circuit assembly in the hippocampus.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.
Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.
Neurosciences Graduate Program, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


Brain functions rely on specific patterns of connectivity. Teneurins are evolutionarily conserved transmembrane proteins that instruct synaptic partner matching in Drosophila and are required for vertebrate visual system development. The roles of vertebrate teneurins in connectivity beyond the visual system remain largely unknown and their mechanisms of action have not been demonstrated. Here we show that mouse teneurin-3 is expressed in multiple topographically interconnected areas of the hippocampal region, including proximal CA1, distal subiculum, and medial entorhinal cortex. Viral-genetic analyses reveal that teneurin-3 is required in both CA1 and subicular neurons for the precise targeting of proximal CA1 axons to distal subiculum. Furthermore, teneurin-3 promotes homophilic adhesion in vitro in a splicing isoform-dependent manner. These findings demonstrate striking genetic heterogeneity across multiple hippocampal areas and suggest that teneurin-3 may orchestrate the assembly of a complex distributed circuit in the mammalian brain via matching expression and homophilic attraction.

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