The cerebral hemispheres are directly connected by three major interhemispheric fibers: the corpus callosum, the anterior commissure, and the hippocampal commissure. RA-GEF-1 (also termed Rapgef2) is a guanine nucleotide exchange factor responsible for sustained activation of Rap1. We previously reported anatomical defects of the major forebrain commissures in the adult dorsal telencephalon-specific RA-GEF-1 conditional knockout (cKO) mice. In this study, we use neuroanatomical tracing and immunohistochemistry to study the formation of the commissural fibers during early postnatal development. DiI anterograde tracing reveals the inability of the callosal axons to cross the midline in cKO mice, thereby forming Probst bundles on the ipsilateral side, which is associated with the absence of the indusium griseum glia and the glial sling at the cortical midline. Wheat germ agglutinin-conjugated horseradish peroxidase retrograde tracing verifies the agenesis of the anterior commissure in cKO mice, and DiI anterograde tracing confirms the deviation of the fibers from their original tract. As for the hippocampal commissure, agenesis and hypoplasia are observed in its dorsal and ventral parts, respectively. These results indicate the essential role of RA-GEF-1 in the proper formation of the cerebral midline commissures.
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