Runx3 controls the axonal projection of proprioceptive dorsal root ganglion neurons

Nat Neurosci. 2002 Oct;5(10):946-54. doi: 10.1038/nn925.


Dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons specifically project axons to central and peripheral targets according to their sensory modality. The Runt-related genes Runx1 and Runx3 are expressed in DRG neuronal subpopulations, suggesting that they may regulate the trajectories of specific axons. Here we report that Runx3-deficient (Runx3(-/-)) mice displayed severe motor uncoordination and that few DRG neurons synthesized the proprioceptive neuronal marker parvalbumin. Proprioceptive afferent axons failed to project to their targets in the spinal cord as well as those in the muscle. NT-3-responsive Runx3(-/-) DRG neurons showed less neurite outgrowth in vitro. However, we found no changes in the fate specification of Runx3(-/-) DRG neurons or in the number of DRG neurons that expressed trkC. Our data demonstrate that Runx3 is critical in regulating the axonal projections of a specific subpopulation of DRG neurons.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 3 Subunit
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / biosynthesis
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / deficiency
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Ganglia, Spinal / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Motor Skills Disorders / genetics
  • Motor Skills Disorders / metabolism
  • Motor Skills Disorders / physiopathology
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Proprioception / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Transcription Factors / biosynthesis
  • Transcription Factors / deficiency
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*


  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 3 Subunit
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Runx3 protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factors