Hofmeister, W., Devine, C.A., Rothnagel, J.A., and Key, B. (2012) Frizzled-3a and slit2 genetically interact to modulate midline axon crossing in the telencephalon. Mechanisms of Development. 129(5-8):109-124.
The anterior commissure forms the first axon connections between the two sides of the embryonic telencephalon. We investigated the role of the transmembrane receptor Frizzled-3a in the development of this commissure using zebrafish as an experimental model. Knock down of Frizzled-3a resulted in complete loss of the anterior commissure. This defect was accompanied by a loss of the glial bridge, expansion of the slit2 expression domain and perturbation of the midline telencephalic–diencephalic boundary. Blocking Slit2 activity following knock down of Frizzled-3a effectively rescued the anterior commissure defect which suggested that Frizzled-3a was indirectly controlling the growth of axons across the rostral midline. We have shown here that Frizzled-3a is essential for normal development of the commissural plate and that loss-of-function causes Slit2-dependent defects in axon midline crossing in the embryonic vertebrate forebrain. These data supports a model whereby Wnt signaling through Frizzled-3a attenuates expression of Slit2 in the rostral midline of the forebrain. The absence of Slit2 facilitates the formation of a midline bridge of glial cells which is used as a substrate for commissural axons. In the absence of this platform of glia, commissural axons fail to cross the rostral midline of the forebrain.