The Deleted in Colorectal Carcinoma (Dcc) receptor plays a critical role in optic nerve development. Whilst Dcc is expressed postnatally in the eye, its function remains unknown as Dcc knockouts die at birth. To circumvent this drawback, we generated an eye-specific Dcc mutant. To study the organization of the retina and visual projections in these mice, we also established EyeDISCO, a novel tissue clearing protocol that removes melanin allowing 3D imaging of whole eyes and visual pathways. We show that in the absence of Dcc, some ganglion cell axons stalled at the optic disc, whereas others perforated the retina, separating photoreceptors from the retinal pigment epithelium. A subset of visual axons entered the CNS, but these projections are perturbed. Moreover, Dcc-deficient retinas displayed a massive postnatal loss of retinal ganglion cells and a large fraction of photoreceptors. Thus, Dcc is essential for the development and maintenance of the retina.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. All source files are provided.
- Robin J Vigouroux
- Alain Chédotal
- Alain Chédotal
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All experiments were designed using the 3R rule: to reduce, refine, and replace the use of animals. All animal procedures were carried out according to approved institutional guidelines (#B-75-12-02) of the Institut de la Vision. The protocol was approved by the Sorbonne University ethic committee (Charles Darwin)(Permit Number: 9571). In cases of animal handling, experiments were performed to minimize animal stress and suffering.
- Carol A Mason, Columbia University, United States
© 2020, Vigouroux 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.
Development of the nervous system depends on signaling centers – specialized cellular populations that produce secreted molecules to regulate neurogenesis in the neighboring neuroepithelium. In some cases, signaling center cells also differentiate to produce key types of neurons. The formation of a signaling center involves its induction, the maintenance of expression of its secreted molecules, and cell differentiation and migration events. How these distinct processes are coordinated during signaling center development remains unknown. By performing studies in mice, we show that Lmx1a acts as a master regulator to orchestrate the formation and function of the cortical hem (CH), a critical signaling center that controls hippocampus development. Lmx1a co-regulates CH induction, its Wnt signaling, and the differentiation and migration of CH-derived Cajal–Retzius neurons. Combining RNAseq, genetic, and rescue experiments, we identified major downstream genes that mediate distinct Lmx1a-dependent processes. Our work revealed that signaling centers in the mammalian brain employ master regulatory genes and established a framework for analyzing signaling center development.
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