Distinct subpopulations of sensory afferents require F11 or axonin-1 for growth to their target layers within the spinal cord of the chick

Neuron. 2001 Jun;30(3):707-23. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(01)00315-4.


Dorsal root ganglion neurons project axons to specific target layers in the gray matter of the spinal cord, according to their sensory modality. Using an in vivo approach, we demonstrate an involvement of the two immunoglobulin superfamily cell adhesion molecules axonin-1/TAG-1 and F11/F3/contactin in subpopulation-specific sensory axon guidance. Proprioceptive neurons, which establish connections with motoneurons in the ventral horn, depend on F11 interactions. Nociceptive fibers, which target to layers in the dorsal horn, require axonin-1 for pathfinding. In vitro NgCAM and NrCAM were shown to bind to both axonin-1 and F11. However, despite this fact and despite their ubiquitous expression in the spinal cord, NgCAM and NrCAM are selective binding partners for axonin-1 and F11 in sensory axon guidance. Whereas nociceptive pathfinding depends on NgCAM and axonin-1, proprioceptive fibers require NrCAM and F11.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anterior Horn Cells / cytology*
  • Anterior Horn Cells / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuron-Glia / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal / metabolism*
  • Chick Embryo
  • Contactin 2
  • Contactins
  • Ganglia, Spinal / cytology*
  • Ganglia, Spinal / embryology
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism*
  • Neurons, Afferent / cytology*
  • Neurons, Afferent / metabolism
  • Nociceptors / cytology
  • Proprioception / physiology
  • Protein Binding / physiology
  • Receptor, trkA / metabolism
  • Spinal Cord / cytology*
  • Spinal Cord / embryology


  • CNTN2 protein, human
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuron-Glia
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal
  • Contactin 2
  • Contactins
  • NRCAM protein, human
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Receptor, trkA