Expression of the cell adhesion proteins BEN/SC1/DM-GRASP and TAG-1 defines early steps of axonogenesis in the human spinal cord

D Karagogeos, C Pourquie, K Kyriakopoulou, M Tavian, W Stallcup, B Peault, O Pourquie

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Abstract / Description of output

We have studied the expression pattern of two cell adhesion proteins of the immunoglobin (Ig) superfamily, BEN/SC1/DM-GRASP (BEN) and the transient axonal glycoprotein TAG-1, during the development of the human nervous system. This study was performed by immunocytochemistry on sections of human embryos ranging from 4 to 13 weeks postconception. The overall distribution of the two proteins during development is very similar to that reported in other vertebrate species, but several important differences have been observed. Both proteins exhibit a transient expression on selected neuronal populations, which include the motor and the sensory neurons. In addition, BEN was also detected on virtually all neurons derived from the neural crest as well as in nonneuronal tissues. A major difference of expression with the chick embryo is that, in the motor neurons, BEN expression was not observed at early stages of development, thus arguing against a role of this molecule in pathfinding and fasciculation. BEN was observed to be restricted to subsets of motor neurons, such as the medial column at the upper Limb level. Expression was also detected in a laterodorsal population of the ventral horn cells, which are Likely to correspond to migrating preganglionic neurons that originate from the motor pool at the thoracic level. TAG-1 was found on commissural neurons and weakly on the sympathetic neurons; it was also detected on restricted nonneuronal populations. In addition, we observed TAG-1 expression in fibers that could correspond either to subsets of dorsal root ganglia (DRGs) central afferences (including the Ia fibers) or to the axons of association interneurons and in scattered motoneurons likely to correspond either to preganglionic neurons, to gamma-motoneurons, or to late-born motoneurons. Therefore, our results indicate that the molecular strategies used to establish the axonal scaffolding of the nervous system in humans are extremely conserved among the different vertebrates. (C) 1997 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-427
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 1997


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