The rostral migratory stream (RMS) is viewed as a glia-enriched conduit of forward-migrating neuroblasts in which chemorepulsive signals control the pace of forward migration. Here we demonstrate the existence of a scaffold of neurons that receive synaptic inputs within the rat, mouse, and human fetal RMS equivalents. These neurons express secretagogin, a Ca2+-sensor protein, to execute an annexin V-dependent externalization of matrix metalloprotease-2 (MMP-2) for reconfiguring the extracellular matrix locally. Mouse genetics combined with pharmacological probing in vivo and in vitro demonstrate that MMP-2 externalization occurs on demand and that its loss slows neuroblast migration. Loss of function is particularly remarkable upon injury to the olfactory bulb. Cumulatively, we identify a signaling cascade that provokes structural remodeling of the RMS through recruitment of MMP-2 by a previously unrecognized neuronal constituent. Given the life-long presence of secretagogin-containing neurons in human, this mechanism might be exploited for therapeutic benefit in rescue strategies.
Keywords: calcium-binding protein; cell motility; human fetus; olfactory system; restorative strategy.