Research Research Projects

Nervous system wiring by the Robo3 axon guidance receptor and its ligand NELL2

To produce a functioning nervous system, neurons must form precise connections with each other during embryonic development. The guidance of axons to their correct targets is an important aspect of this wiring process, and it is mediated by molecular cues that signal through receptors present on developing axons. This project investigates the functions of the multifunctional guidance protein Robo3 and its partner protein NELL2 in axon pathfinding. Various biochemical, cell biological, and genetic approaches are combined to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of Robo3 signaling and the role of Robo3 and NELL2 in nervous system wiring.

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An explant of spinal cord neurons (left) is co-cultured with cells expressing NELL2 (right). Axons emerging from spinal cord explants express Robo3 and are repelled by NELL2.