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Axon fasciculation and differences in midline kinetics between pioneer and follower axons within commissural fascicles
Magdalena Bak, Scott E. Fraser


Early neuronal scaffold development studies suggest that initial neurons and their axons serve as guides for later neurons and their processes. Although this arrangement might aid axon navigation, the specific consequence(s) of such interactions are unknown in vivo. We follow forebrain commissure formation in living zebrafish embryos using timelapse fluorescence microscopy to examine quantitatively commissural axon kinetics at the midline: a place where axon interactions might be important. Although it is commonly accepted that commissural axons slow down at the midline, our data show this is only true for leader axons. Follower axons do not show this behavior. However, when the leading axon is ablated, follower axons change their midline kinetics and behave as leaders. Similarly, contralateral leader axons change their midline kinetics when they grow along the opposite leading axon across the midline. These data suggest a simple model where the level of growth cone exposure to midline cues and presence of other axons as a substrate shape the midline kinetics of commissural axons.


  • Movies available online

    • Accepted July 1, 2003.
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