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, 133 (6), 1035-44

Semaphorin 3d Guides Laterality of Retinal Ganglion Cell Projections in Zebrafish

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Semaphorin 3d Guides Laterality of Retinal Ganglion Cell Projections in Zebrafish

Jill A Sakai et al. Development.

Abstract

The optic chiasm is an important choice point at which retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons either cross the midline to innervate the contralateral brain or turn back to innervate the ipsilateral brain. Guidance cues that regulate this decision, particularly those directing the midline crossing of contralateral axons, are still not well understood. Here we show that Sema3d, a secreted semaphorin expressed at the midline, guides the crossing of RGC axons in zebrafish. Both Sema3d knockdown and ubiquitous overexpression induced aberrant ipsilateral projections, suggesting that Sema3d normally guides axons into the contralateral optic tract. Live imaging in vivo showed that RGC growth cones responded to ubiquitous Sema3d overexpression by pausing for extended periods and increasing their exploratory behavior at the midline, suggesting that Sema3d overexpression causes the midline environment to become less favorable for RGC axon extension. Interestingly, Sema3d overexpression did not affect growth cone behaviors before the midline, suggesting that RGC axons normally respond to Sema3d only upon reaching the midline. After Sema3d knockdown, growth cones grew across the midline but then paused or repeatedly retracted, impairing their ability to leave the midline region. Our results indicate that a proper balance of Sema3d is needed at the midline for the progression of RGC axons from the chiasm midline into the contralateral optic tract.

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