Altered proliferative ability of neuronal progenitors in PlexinA1 mutant mice

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Cortical interneurons are generated predominantly in the medial ganglionic eminence (MGE) and migrate through the ventral and dorsal telencephalon before taking their final positions within the developing cortical plate. Previously we demonstrated that interneurons from Robo1 knockout (Robo1−/−) mice contain reduced levels of neuropilin 1 (Nrp1) and PlexinA1 receptors, rendering them less responsive to the chemorepulsive actions of semaphorin ligands expressed in the striatum and affecting their course of migration (Hernandez-Miranda et al. [2011] J. Neurosci. 31:6174–6187). Earlier studies have highlighted the importance of Nrp1 and Nrp2 in interneuron migration, and here we assess the role of PlexinA1 in this process. We observed significantly fewer cells expressing the interneuron markers Gad67 and Lhx6 in the cortex of PlexinA1−/− mice compared with wild-type littermates at E14.5 and E18.5. Although the level of apoptosis was similar in the mutant and control forebrain, proliferation was significantly reduced in the former. Furthermore, progenitor cells in the MGE of PlexinA1−/− mice appeared to be poorly anchored to the ventricular surface and showed reduced adhesive properties, which may account for the observed reduction in proliferation. Together our data uncover a novel role for PlexinA1 in forebrain development. J. Comp. Neurol. 524:518–534, 2016. © 2015 The Authors The Journal of Comparative Neurology Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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