Long-Range Guidance of Spinal Commissural Axons by Netrin1 and Sonic Hedgehog from Midline Floor Plate Cells

Zhuhao Wu, Shirin Makihara, Patricia T. Yam, Shaun Teo, Nicolas Renier, Nursen Balekoglu, Juan Antonio Moreno-Bravo, Olav Olsen, Alain Chédotal, Frédéric Charron, Marc Tessier-Lavigne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


An important model for axon pathfinding is provided by guidance of embryonic commissural axons from dorsal spinal cord to ventral midline floor plate (FP). FP cells produce a chemoattractive activity, comprised largely of netrin1 (FP-netrin1) and Sonic hedgehog (Shh), that can attract the axons at a distance in vitro. netrin1 is also produced by ventricular zone (VZ) progenitors along the axons’ route (VZ-netrin1). Recent studies using region-specific netrin1 deletion suggested that FP-netrin1 is dispensable and VZ-netrin1 sufficient for netrin guidance activity in vivo. We show that removing FP-netrin1 actually causes guidance defects in spinal cord consistent with long-range action (i.e., over hundreds of micrometers), and double mutant analysis supports that FP-netrin1 and Shh collaborate to attract at long range. We further provide evidence that netrin1 may guide via chemotaxis or haptotaxis. These results support the model that netrin1 signals at both short and long range to guide commissural axons in spinal cord. Recent studies have queried the role of netrin1 from floor plate (FP-netrin1) in guiding commissural axons. Wu et al. show that, in spinal cord, FP-netrin1 is required and acts at long range to guide commissural axons, collaborating with Shh.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-647.e4
Issue number4
StatePublished - 20 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Netrin1
  • Sonic hedgehog
  • axon guidance
  • chemoattraction
  • commissural neurons
  • floor plate
  • haptotaxis
  • long-range guidance
  • neural tube
  • spinal cord


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