Lamina-Specific Connectivity in the Brain: Regulation by N-Cadherin, Neurotrophins, and Glycoconjugates

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Science  30 May 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5317, pp. 1428-1431
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5317.1428

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In the vertebrate brain, neurons grouped in parallel laminae receive distinct sets of synaptic inputs. In the avian optic tectum, arbors and synapses of most retinal axons are confined to 3 of 15 laminae. The adhesion molecule N-cadherin and cell surface glycoconjugates recognized by a plant lectin are selectively associated with these “retinorecipient” laminae. The lectin and a monoclonal antibody to N-cadherin perturbed laminar selectivity in distinct fashions. In contrast, neurotrophins increased the complexity of retinal arbors without affecting their laminar distribution. Thus, cell surface molecules and soluble trophic factors may collaborate to shape lamina-specific arbors in the brain, with the former predominantly affecting their position and the latter their size.

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