Slit2 and Robo3 modulate the migration of GnRH-secreting neurons

Development. 2012 Sep;139(18):3326-31. doi: 10.1242/dev.079418.


Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons are born in the nasal placode and migrate along olfactory and vomeronasal axons to reach the forebrain and settle in the hypothalamus, where they control reproduction. The molecular cues that guide their migration have not been fully identified, but are thought to control either cell movement directly or the patterning of their axonal substrates. Using genetically altered mouse models we show that the migration of GnRH neurons is directly modulated by Slit2 and Robo3, members of the axon guidance Slit ligand and Robo receptor families. Mice lacking Slit2 or Robo3 have a reduced number of GnRH neurons in the forebrain, but a normal complement of their supporting axons, pointing to a direct role for these molecules in GnRH neuron migration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • COS Cells
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Embryo, Mammalian / cytology
  • Embryo, Mammalian / metabolism
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface


  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Robo3 protein, mouse
  • Slit1 protein, mouse
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Slit homolog 2 protein