Semaphorin3A (previously known as Semaphorin III, Semaphorin D, or collapsin-1) is a member of the semaphorin gene family, many of which have been shown to guide axons during nervous system development. Semaphorin3A has been demonstrated to be a diffusible chemorepulsive molecule for axons of selected neuronal populations in vitro. Analysis of embryogenesis in two independent lines of Semaphorin3A knockout mice support the hypothesis that this molecule is an important guidance signal for neurons of the peripheral nervous system (M. Taniguchi et al., 1997, Neuron 19, 519-530; E. Ulupinar et al., 1999, Mol. Cell. Neurosci. 13, 281-292). Surprisingly, newborn Semaphorin3A null mutant mice exhibit no significant abnormalities (O. Behar et al., 1996, Nature 383, 525-528). In this study we have tested the hypothesis that guidance abnormalities that occurred during early stages of Semaphorin3A null mice development are corrected later in development. We have found that the extensive abnormalities formed during early developmental stages in the peripheral nervous system are largely eliminated by embryonic day 15.5. We demonstrate further that at least in one distinct anatomical location these abnormalities are mainly the result of aberrant projections. In conclusion, these findings suggest the existence of correction mechanisms that eliminate most sensory axon pathfinding errors early in development.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.