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Leuven, Belgium

Petrovic M.,Neuronal Wiring Laboratory | Petrovic M.,Catholic University of Leuven | Schmucker D.,Neuronal Wiring Laboratory | Schmucker D.,Catholic University of Leuven
BioEssays | Year: 2015

The connectivity patterns of many neural circuits are highly ordered and often impressively complex. The intricate order and complexity of neuronal wiring remain not only a challenge for questions related to circuit functions but also for our understanding of how they develop with such an apparent precision. The chemotropic guidance of the growing axon by target-derived cues represents a central paradigm for how neurons get connected with the correct target cells. However, many studies reveal a remarkable variety of important target-independent wiring mechanisms. These mechanisms include axonal sorting, axonal tiling, growth cone polarization, as well as cell-intrinsic mechanisms underlying growth cone sprouting, and neurite branching. Our review focuses on target independent wiring mechanisms and in particular on recent progress emerging from studies on three different sensory systems: olfactory, visual, and somatosensory. We discuss molecular mechanisms that operate during axon-axon interactions or constitute axon-intrinsic functions and outline how they complement the well-known target-dependent wiring mechanisms. © 2015 WILEY Periodicals, Inc.


Dascenco D.,Neuronal Wiring Laboratory | Dascenco D.,Catholic University of Leuven | Erfurth M.-L.,Neuronal Wiring Laboratory | Erfurth M.-L.,Catholic University of Leuven | And 20 more authors.
Cell | Year: 2015

Summary Axonal branching contributes substantially to neuronal circuit complexity. Studies in Drosophila have shown that loss of Dscam1 receptor diversity can fully block axon branching in mechanosensory neurons. Here we report that cell-autonomous loss of the receptor tyrosine phosphatase 69D (RPTP69D) and loss of midline-localized Slit inhibit formation of specific axon collaterals through modulation of Dscam1 activity. Genetic and biochemical data support a model in which direct binding of Slit to Dscam1 enhances the interaction of Dscam1 with RPTP69D, stimulating Dscam1 dephosphorylation. Single-growth-cone imaging reveals that Slit/RPTP69D are not required for general branch initiation but instead promote the extension of specific axon collaterals. Hence, although regulation of intrinsic Dscam1-Dscam1 isoform interactions is essential for formation of all mechanosensory-axon branches, the local ligand-induced alterations of Dscam1 phosphorylation in distinct growth-cone compartments enable the spatial specificity of axon collateral formation. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

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