Control of topographic retinal axon branching by inhibitory membrane-bound molecules

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Science  05 Aug 1994:
Vol. 265, Issue 5173, pp. 799-803
DOI: 10.1126/science.8047886


Retinotopic map development in nonmammalian vertebrates appears to be controlled by molecules that guide or restrict retinal axons to correct locations in their targets. However, the retinotopic map in the superior colliculus (SC) of the rat is developed instead by a topographic bias in collateral branching and arborization. Temporal retinal axons extending across alternating membranes from the topographically correct rostral SC or the incorrect caudal SC of embryonic rats preferentially branch on rostral membranes. Branching preference is due to an inhibitory phosphatidylinositol-linked molecule in the caudal SC. Thus, position-encoding membrane-bound molecules may establish retinotopic maps in mammals by regulating axon branching, not by directing axon growth.

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