A quantitative analysis of branching, growth cone turning, and directed growth in zebrafish retinotectal axon guidance

Hugh D. Simpson, Elizabeth M. Kita, Ethan K. Scott, Geoffrey J. Goodhill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

The topographic projection from the eye to the tectum (amphibians and fish)/superior colliculus (birds and mammals) is a paradigm model system for studying mechanisms of neural wiring development. It has previously been proposed that retinal ganglion cell axons use distinct guidance strategies in fish vs. mammals, with direct guidance to the tectal target zone in the former and overshoot followed by biased branching toward the target zone in the latter. Here we visualized individual retinal ganglion cell axons as they grew over the tectum in zebrafish for periods of 10-21 hours and analyzed these results using an array of quantitative measures. We found that, although axons were generally guided directly toward their targets, this occurred without growth cone turning. Instead, axons branched dynamically and profusely throughout pathfinding, and successive branches oriented growth cone extension toward a target zone in a stepwise manner. These data suggest that the guidance strategies used between fish and mammals may be less distinct than previously thought. J. Comp. Neurol., 521:1409-1429, 2013.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1409-1429
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Volume521
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 15 2013

Keywords

  • Neural development
  • Pathfinding
  • Retinal ganglion cell
  • Time lapse
  • Topographic maps
  • Visual system

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