1. Developmental Biology
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Axon tension regulates fasciculation/defasciculation through the control of axon shaft zippering

  1. Daniel Šmít
  2. Coralie Fouquet
  3. Frédéric Pincet
  4. Martin Zapotocky  Is a corresponding author
  5. Alain Trembleau  Is a corresponding author
  1. Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic
  2. Sorbonne Université, UPMC Univ Paris 06, INSERM, CNRS, France
  3. Laboratoire de Physique Statistique, Ecole Normale Superieure, PSL Research University, France
Research Article
  • Cited 19
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Cite this article as: eLife 2017;6:e19907 doi: 10.7554/eLife.19907

Abstract

While axon fasciculation plays a key role in the development of neural networks, very little is known about its dynamics and the underlying biophysical mechanisms. In a model system composed of neurons grown ex vivo from explants of embryonic mouse olfactory epithelia, we observed that axons dynamically interact with each other through their shafts, leading to zippering and unzippering behaviour that regulates their fasciculation. Taking advantage of this new preparation suitable for studying such interactions, we carried out a detailed biophysical analysis of zippering, occurring either spontaneously or induced by micromanipulations and pharmacological treatments. We show that zippering arises from the competition of axon-axon adhesion and mechanical tension in the axons, and provide the first quantification of the force of axon-axon adhesion. Furthermore, we introduce a biophysical model of the zippering dynamics, and we quantitatively relate the individual zipper properties to global characteristics of the developing axon network. Our study uncovers a new role of mechanical tension in neural development: the regulation of axon fasciculation.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Daniel Šmít

    Institute of Physiology, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Coralie Fouquet

    Neuroscience Paris Seine - Institute of Biology Paris Seine, Sorbonne Université, UPMC Univ Paris 06, INSERM, CNRS, Paris, France
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Frédéric Pincet

    Laboratoire de Physique Statistique, Ecole Normale Superieure, PSL Research University, Paris, France
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Martin Zapotocky

    Institute of Physiology, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic
    For correspondence
    zapotocky@biomed.cas.cz
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Alain Trembleau

    Neuroscience Paris Seine - Institute of Biology Paris Seine, Sorbonne Université, UPMC Univ Paris 06, INSERM, CNRS, Paris, France
    For correspondence
    alain.trembleau@upmc.fr
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-8290-0795

Funding

Université Pierre et Marie Curie

  • Frédéric Pincet
  • Alain Trembleau

Czech Science Foundation (14-16755S)

  • Martin Zapotocky

Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale

  • Alain Trembleau

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

  • Frédéric Pincet
  • Alain Trembleau

Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR-2010-BLAN-1401-01)

  • Alain Trembleau

National Institutes of Health (5R01DC012441)

  • Alain Trembleau

First Faculty of Medicine at Charles University (GAUK 396213)

  • Martin Zapotocky

Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR-11-IDEX-0004-02)

  • Alain Trembleau

Barrande Czech-French Cooperation program (7AMB12FR002)

  • Alain Trembleau

Czech Academy of Sciences (RVO#67985823)

  • Martin Zapotocky

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Ethics

Animal experimentation: Procedures involving animals and their care were conducted according to European Parliament Directive 2010/63/EU and the 22 September 2010 Council on the protection of animals.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Carol A Mason, Columbia University, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: July 25, 2016
  2. Accepted: April 4, 2017
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: April 19, 2017 (version 1)
  4. Accepted Manuscript updated: April 24, 2017 (version 2)
  5. Version of Record published: June 20, 2017 (version 3)

Copyright

© 2017, Šmít et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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