Xenopus sonic hedgehog guides retinal axons along the optic tract.
The role of classic morphogens such as Sonic hedgehog (Shh) as axon guidance cues has been reported in a variety of vertebrate organisms (Charron and Tessier-Lavigne  Development 132:2251-2262). In this work, we provide the first evidence that Xenopus sonic hedgehog (Xshh) signaling is involved in guiding retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons along the optic tract. Xshh is expressed in the brain during retinal axon extension, adjacent to these axons in the ventral diencephalon. Retinal axons themselves express Patched 1 and Smoothened co-receptors during RGC axon growth. Blocking Shh signaling causes abnormal ventral pathfinding, and targeting errors at the optic tectum. Misexpression of exogenous N-Shh peptide in vivo also causes pathfinding errors. Retinal axons grown in culture respond to N-Shh in a dose-dependent manner, either by decreasing extension at lower concentrations, or retracting axons in the presence of higher doses. These data suggest that Shh signaling is required for normal RGC axon pathfinding and tectal targeting in the developing visual system of Xenopus. We propose that Shh serves as a ventral optic tract repellent that helps to define the caudal boundary for retinal axons in the diencephalon, and that this signaling is also required for initial target recognition at the optic tectum.
Version: za2963e q8zae q8zbe q8zc6 q8zd7 q8ze7 q8zf6 q8zg5