Cross-species recognition of tectal cues by retinal fibers in vitro

Development. 1989 Jun;106(2):313-20.


The retinae of vertebrates project in a topographic manner to several visual centers of the brain. The formation of these projections could depend on the existence of position-specific properties of retinal and target cells. In this study, we have tested the in vitro growth of mouse retinal fibers on membranes derived from various regions of the embryonic superior colliculus, a main target of the retina in this species. Fibers had the choice of elongating on membranes taken from either the anterior or the posterior half of the superior colliculus. Fibers from temporal areas of the retina prefer to elongate on anterior collicular membranes, while fibers from nasal areas do not show a preference. These phenomena are observed with membranes from embryonic (E15-E18) or young postnatal mice. In interspecies cultures where mouse retinal fibers had to grow on chick tectal membranes, or vice versa, the same preference for anterior tectal or collicular membranes in growth of temporal retinal fibers is observed, suggesting some similarities in the cues used in both species.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Chick Embryo
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Retina / embryology
  • Retina / growth & development*
  • Retina / ultrastructure
  • Species Specificity
  • Superior Colliculi / embryology
  • Superior Colliculi / physiology*