Netrin-1 is required for commissural axon guidance in the developing vertebrate nervous system

Cell. 1996 Dec 13;87(6):1001-14. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(00)81795-x.


During nervous system development, spinal commissural axons project toward floor plate cells and trochlear motor axons extend away from these cells. Netrin-1, a diffusible protein made by floor plate cells, can attract spinal commissural axons and repel trochlear axons in vitro, but its role in vivo is unknown. Netrin-1 deficient mice exhibit defects in spinal commissural axon projections that are consistent with netrin-1 guiding these axons. Defects in several forebrain commissures are also observed, suggesting additional guidance roles for netrin-1. Trochlear axon projections are largely normal, predicting the existence of additional cues for these axons, and evidence is provided for a distinct trochlear axon chemorepellent produced by floor plate cells. These results establish netrin-1 as a guidance cue that likely collaborates with other diffusible cues to guide axons in vivo.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology
  • Homozygote
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Motor Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Mutation / physiology
  • Nerve Growth Factors / analysis
  • Nerve Growth Factors / genetics*
  • Netrin-1
  • Pons / chemistry
  • Pons / cytology
  • Pons / embryology*
  • Spinal Cord / chemistry
  • Spinal Cord / cytology
  • Spinal Cord / embryology*
  • Trochlear Nerve / cytology
  • Trochlear Nerve / embryology
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Vertebrates


  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Ntn1 protein, mouse
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Netrin-1

Associated data

  • GENBANK/U65418