Mechanisms of glial-guided neuronal migration in vitro and in vivo

Experientia. 1990 Sep 15;46(9):907-16. doi: 10.1007/BF01939383.


Our laboratory has developed an in vitro model system in which glial-guided neuronal migration can be observed in real time. Cerebellar granule neurons migrate on astroglial fibers by apposing their cell soma against the glial arm, forming a specialized migration junction, and extending a motile leading process in the direction of migration. In vitro assays indicate that the neuronal antigen astrotactin functions as a neuron-glia ligand, and is likely to play a role in the movement of neurons along glial fibers. In heterotypic recombinations of neurons and glia from mouse cerebellum and rat hippocampus, neurons migrate on heterotypic glial processes with a cytology, speed and mode of movement identical to that of neuronal migration on homotypic glial fibers, suggesting that glial fibers provide a permissive pathway for neuronal migration in developing brain. In vivo analyses of developing cerebellum demonstrate a close coordination of afferent axon ingrowth relative to target cell migration. These studies indicate that climbing fibers contact immature Purkinje neurons during the migration and settling of Purkinje cells, implicating a role for afferents in the termination of migration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Cell Movement*
  • Cerebellum / cytology
  • Glycoproteins / physiology
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Neurologic Mutants
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology
  • Neuroglia / physiology*
  • Neurons / cytology*


  • Astn1 protein, mouse
  • Glycoproteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins