Initial trajectories of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) axons are shaped by chemorepulsive signals from surrounding tissues. Although we have previously shown that axonin-1/SC2 expression on DRG axons is required to mediate a notochord-derived chemorepulsive signal, Dev. Biol. 224, 112-121), other molecules involved in the non-target-derived repulsive signals are largely unknown. Using coculture assays composed of tissues derived from the chick embryo or mutant mice treated with function-blocking antibodies and phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C, we report here that the chemorepellent semaphorin 3A (Sema3A) and its receptor neuropilin-1 are required for mediating the dermamyotome- and notochord-derived, but not the ventral spinal cord-derived, chemorepulsive signal for DRG axons. The dermamyotome-derived chemorepulsion is exclusively dependent on Sema3A/neuropilin-1, whereas other molecules are also involved in the notochord-derived chemorepulsion. Chemorepulsion from the ventral spinal cord does not depend on Sema3A/neuropilin-1 but requires axonin-1/SC2 to repel DRG axons. Thus, differential chemorepulsive signals help shape the initial trajectories of DRG axons and are critical for the proper wiring of the nervous system.
Copyright 2003 Elsevier Science (USA)