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EphrinB2 sharpens lateral motor column division in the developing spinal cord

par Eric AGIUS - publié le

During sensori-motor circuit development, the somas of motoneurons (MN) are distributed in a topographic manner in the ventral horn of the neural tube. Indeed, their position within the lateral motor columns (LMC) correlates with axonal trajectories and identity of target limb muscles. The mechanisms by which this topographic distribution is established remains poorly understood. To address this issue, we assessed the role of ephrinB2 in MN topographic organization in the developing mouse spinal cord. We demonstrate that while MN-specific excision of EfnB2 did not perturb specification or migration of MN, conditional loss of ephrinB2 led to the blurring of the LMC divisional boundary and to errors in the selection of LMC axon trajectory in the limb. Altogether, our study uncovered a novel cell autonomous role for ephrinB2 in LMC MN thus emphasizing the prevalent role of this ephrin member in maintaining cell population boundaries.