Ephrin-A5 acts as a repulsive cue for migrating cortical interneurons


Dr G. Zimmer, 2Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas da UFRJ, as above.
E-mail: zimmer@anato.ufrj.br


Cortical interneurons are born in the germinative zones of the ganglionic eminences in the subpallium, and migrate tangentially in spatially and temporally well-defined corridors into the neocortex. Because ephrin-A5 is expressed in the ventricular zone (VZ) of the ganglionic eminences at these developmental stages, we examined the possible effects of this molecule on interneuron migration. Double-immunocytochemistry of dissociated neurons from the medial ganglionic eminences (MGE) revealed that calbindin-positive cells express the EphA4-receptor. In situ, EphA4 is strongly expressed in the subventricular zone of the ganglionic eminences. Using different in vitro assays, we found that ephrin-A5 acts as a repellent cue for MGE neurons. We then examined interneuron migration in slice overlay experiments, where MGE-derived explants from enhanced green fluorescent protein-expressing transgenic mice were homotopically grafted into host slices from wild-type littermate embryos. In these in vitro preparations, interneurons recapitulated in vivo cell migration in several respects. However, interneurons in brain slices also migrated in the VZ of the ganglionic eminences, a region that is strictly avoided in vivo. In situ hybridizations revealed that ephrin-A5 became downregulated in the VZ in vitro. When recombinant ephrin-A5-Fc was added to the slices, it preferentially bound to the VZ, and migrating MGE neurons avoided the VZ as in vivo. The restoration of the normal migration pathway in slices required ephrin-A5 clustering and signalling of Src family kinases. Together, these experiments suggest that ephrin-A5 acts as an inhibitory flank that contributes to define the pathway of migrating interneurons.