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Extension and retraction of axonal projections by some developing neurons in the leech depends upon the existence of neighboring homologues. II. The AP and AE neurons


Journal of Neurobiology 18(3): 295-313
Extension and retraction of axonal projections by some developing neurons in the leech depends upon the existence of neighboring homologues. II. The AP and AE neurons
To assess the generality of our previous finding (Gao and Macagno, 1987) that segmental homologues play a role in the establishment of the pattern of axonal projections of the heart accessory HA neurons, we have extended our studies to two other identified leech neurons: the anterior pagoda (AP) neurons and the annulus erector (AE) motor neurons. Bilateral pairs of AP neurons are found in the first through the twentieth segmental ganglia (SG1 through SG20) of the leech ventral nerve cord. All AP neurons initially extend axonal projections to the contralateral periphery as well as longitudinal projections along the contralateral interganglionic connective nerves toward anterior and posterior neighboring ganglia. Although the peripheral projections are maintained by all AP neurons throughout the life of the animal, the longitudinal projections disappear in all but two segments: the AP neurons in SG1 maintain their anterior projections and extend them into the head ganglion, and those in SG20 maintain their posterior projections and extend them into SG21 and the tail ganglion. When single AP neurons are deleted anywhere along the nerve cord before processes begin to atrophy, however, the longitudinal projections are retained by their ipsilateral homologues in adjacent ganglia. The rescued processes appear to take over the projections of the deleted neurons. In cases where two or more AP neurons on the same side of the nerve cord are deleted from adjacent ganglia, a contralateral homologue sometimes extends projections to the periphery ipsilaterally or on both sides. We obtained similar results when we deleted single AE neurons from midbody ganglia. Thus, our experiments with three different identified neurons consistently show that the initial pattern of projections is the same in all ganglia, but that the existence of homologues in adjacent ganglia leads to the pruning of some of the initial projections. A consequence of this homologue-dependent process retraction is that neurons normally lacking neighboring homologues will have patterns of projections different from those neurons that do have such neighbors. Process loss by the HA, AP, and AE neurons may be the result either of competition for targets, inputs, or growth factors or of direct interactions among homologous cells.

Accession: 005432783

PMID: 3298543

DOI: 10.1002/neu.480180305

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