BY OUR PLATFORMS
BY THERAPEUTIC AREA
08 February 2018
Vincenzo Di Donato, ZeClinics R&D Scientist and a recognized international expert in the field of gene editing, has just published, together with several collaborators of the University of Lausanne, a very interesting article in the prestigious NEURON magazine. This article is partly the result of his intense work in the field of neuroscience and genetic editing in zebrafish.
It is well known that a conserved organizational and functional principle of neural networks is the segregation of axon-dendritic synaptic connections into laminae. In the paper they report that targeting of synaptic laminae by retinal ganglion cell (RGC) arbors in the vertebrate visual system is regulated by a signaling system relying on target-derived Reelin and VLDLR/Dab1a on the projecting neurons. Furthermore, they find that Reelin is distributed as a gradient on the target tissue and stabilized by heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs) in the extracellular matrix (ECM). Through genetic manipulations, they show that this Reelin gradient is important for laminar targeting and that it is attractive for RGC axons. They suggest a comprehensive model of synaptic lamina formation in which attractive Reelin counter-balances repulsive Slit1, thereby guiding RGC axons toward single synaptic laminae. Finally, they establish a mechanism that may represent a general principle for neural network assembly in vertebrate species and across different brain areas.
Congratulations Vin. You deserve it! Great work!
Go, ZeClinics, Go!