Non cell-autonomous role of DCC in the guidance of the corticospinal tract at the midline

Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 24;7(1):410. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-00514-z.


DCC, a NETRIN-1 receptor, is considered as a cell-autonomous regulator for midline guidance of many commissural populations in the central nervous system. The corticospinal tract (CST), the principal motor pathway for voluntary movements, crosses the anatomic midline at the pyramidal decussation. CST fails to cross the midline in Kanga mice expressing a truncated DCC protein. Humans with heterozygous DCC mutations have congenital mirror movements (CMM). As CMM has been associated, in some cases, with malformations of the pyramidal decussation, DCC might also be involved in this process in human. Here, we investigated the role of DCC in CST midline crossing both in human and mice. First, we demonstrate by multimodal approaches, that patients with CMM due to DCC mutations have an increased proportion of ipsilateral CST projections. Second, we show that in contrast to Kanga mice, the anatomy of the CST is not altered in mice with a deletion of DCC in the CST. Altogether, these results indicate that DCC controls CST midline crossing in both humans and mice, and that this process is non cell-autonomous in mice. Our data unravel a new level of complexity in the role of DCC in CST guidance at the midline.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Axon Guidance*
  • Axons / metabolism
  • Corpus Callosum / metabolism
  • DCC Receptor / genetics
  • DCC Receptor / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor
  • Female
  • Hand / innervation
  • Hand / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Cortex / physiopathology
  • Movement
  • Neocortex / metabolism
  • Pyramidal Tracts / pathology*
  • Pyramidal Tracts / physiopathology*
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation


  • DCC Receptor
  • DCC protein, human
  • Dcc protein, mouse