Conserved roles for Slit and Robo proteins in midline commissural axon guidance

Hua Long, Christelle Sabatier, Le Ma, Andrew Plump, Wenlin Yuan, David M. Ornitz, Atsushi Tamada, Fujio Murakami, Corey S. Goodman, Marc Tessier-Lavigne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

373 Scopus citations


In Drosophila, Slit at the midline activates Robo receptors on commissural axons, thereby repelling them out of the midline into distinct longitudinal tracts on the contralateral side of the central nervous system. In the vertebrate spinal cord, Robo1 and Robo2 are expressed by commissural neurons, whereas all three Slit homologs are expressed at the ventral midline. Previous analysis of Slit1;Slit2 double mutant spinal cords failed to reveal a defect in commissural axon guidance. We report here that when all six Slit alleles are removed, many commissural axons fail to leave the midline, while others recross it. In addition, Robo1 and Robo2 single mutants show guidance defects that reveal a role for these two receptors in guiding commissural axons to different positions within the ventral and lateral funiculi. These results demonstrate a key role for Slit/Robo signaling in midline commissural axon guidance in vertebrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-223
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 22 2004


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