Shared and differential features of Robo3 expression pattern in amniotes

François Friocourt, Peter Kozulin, Morgane Belle, Rodrigo Suárez, Nicolas Di-Poï, Linda J. Richards, Paolo Giacobini, Alain Chédotal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In Bilaterians, commissural neurons project their axons across the midline of the nervous system to target neurons on the opposite side. In mammals, midline crossing at the level of the hindbrain and spinal cord requires the Robo3 receptor which is transiently expressed by all commissural neurons. Unlike other Robo receptors, mammalian Robo3 receptors do not bind Slit ligands and promote midline crossing. Surprisingly, not much is known about Robo3 distribution and mechanism of action in other vertebrate species. Here, we have used whole-mount immunostaining, tissue clearing and light-sheet fluorescent microscopy to study Robo3 expression pattern in embryonic tissue from diverse representatives of amniotes at distinct stages, including squamate (African house snake), birds (chicken, duck, pigeon, ostrich, emu and zebra finch), early postnatal marsupial mammals (fat-tailed dunnart), and eutherian mammals (mouse and human). The analysis of this rich and unique repertoire of amniote specimens reveals conserved features of Robo3 expression in midbrain, hindbrain and spinal cord commissural circuits, which together with subtle but meaningful modifications could account for species-specific evolution of sensory-motor and cognitive capacities. Our results also highlight important differences of precerebellar nuclei development across amniotes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2009-2029
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Aug 15 2019


  • RRID:AB_1078266
  • RRID:AB_2107107
  • RRID:AB_2107124
  • RRID:AB_2181865
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  • RRID:AB_262133
  • RRID:AB_2651135
  • RRID:AB_2732861
  • RRID:AB_881306
  • RRID:SCR_007370
  • Robo3
  • amniotes
  • commissures
  • development
  • evolution
  • habenula
  • inferior olive
  • pontine nucleus


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