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Development 1995 Aug 01;1218:2621-31.
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Absence of topography in precociously innervated tecta.

Chien CB , Cornel EM , Holt CE .

The retinotectal map in Xenopus forms very early: retinal axons are topographically ordered along the dorsoventral axis of the tectum by stage 39, as they first arrive. To test whether topographic cues are present even earlier, we forced retinal axons to innervate the tectum prematurely by transplanting stage 28 eye primordia into stage 20 hosts, then assayed dorsoventral topography using focal injections of lipophilic dye into dorsal and ventral retina at donor stages 39-40. Unoperated and isochronic control projections showed normal dorsoventral ordering both in the optic tract and in the tectum. In contrast, projections from heterochronically transplanted eyes were ordered in the tract, but spread out upon entering the tectum and did not show significant dorsoventral ordering. Individual axons entering the tectum precociously often made abnormally abrupt and topographically incorrect turns. Thus, the topographical cues normally expressed in the tectum at stage 39 appear to be absent a few hours earlier. However, this lack of cues is only temporary, since heterochronic transplants allowed to survive to donor stages 45-46 showed normal topography. The absence of tectal topography at a stage when retinal axons can navigate to the young tectum strongly suggests that the molecules that provide tectal topographical signals are distinct from those used for pathfinding in the diencephalon and target recognition at the tectum.

PubMed ID: 7671824

Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: tecta tecta.2