Position fine-tuning of caudal primary motoneurons in the zebrafish spinal cord

Mika Sato-Maeda, Masuo Obinata, Wataru Shoji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


In zebrafish embryos, each myotome is typically innervated by three primary motoneurons (PMNs): the caudal primary (CaP), middle primary (MiP) and rostral primary (RoP?). PMN axons first exit the spinal cord through a single exit point located at the midpoint of the overlying somite, which is formed beneath the CaP cell body and is pioneered by the CaP axon. However, the placement of CaP cell bodies with respect to corresponding somites is poorly understood. Here, we determined the early events in CaP cell positioning using neuropilin 1a (nrp1a):gfp transgenic embryos in which CaPs were specifically labeled with GFR CaP cell bodies first exhibit an irregular pattern in presence of newly formed corresponding somites and then migrate to achieve their proper positions by axonogenesis stages. CaPs are generated in excess compared with the number of somites, and two CaPs often overlap at the same position through this process. Next, we showed that CaP cell bodies remain in the initial irregular positions after knockdown of Neuropilin 1a, a component of the class III semaphorin receptor. Irregular CaP position frequently results in aberrant double exit points of motor axons, and secondary motor axons form aberrant exit points following CaP axons. Its expression pattern suggests that sema3ab regulates the CaP position. Indeed, irregular CaP positions and exit points are induced by Sema3ab knockdown, whose ectopic expression can alter the position of CaP cell bodies. Results suggest that Semaphorin-Neuropilin signaling plays an important role in position fine-tuning of CaP cell bodies to ensure proper exit points of motor axons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-332
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jan


  • Cell migration
  • Motoneuron
  • Neuropilin
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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