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This article is part of the Research Topic Mechanisms of Neural Circuit Formation

Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Mol. Neurosci., 22 May 2012 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnmol.2012.00067

RhoA is dispensable for axon guidance of sensory neurons in the mouse dorsal root ganglia

Jennifer R. Leslie1, Fumiyasu Imai1, Xuan Zhou2, Richard A. Lang1,3, Yi Zheng2 and Yutaka Yoshida1*
  • 1Divisions of Developmental Biology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA
  • 2Experimental Hematology and Cancer Biology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA
  • 3Pediatric Ophthalmology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA

RhoA, a member of the Rho family small GTPases, has been shown to play important roles in axon guidance. However, to date, the physiological function of RhoA in axon guidance events in vivo has not been determined genetically in animals. Here we show that RhoA mRNA is strongly expressed by sensory neurons in the developing mouse dorsal root ganglia (DRG). We have deleted RhoA in sensory neurons of the DRG using RhoA-floxed mice under the Wnt1-Cre driver in which Cre is strongly expressed in sensory neurons. Peripheral projections of sensory neurons appear normal and there are no detectable defects in the central projections of either cutaneous or proprioceptive sensory neurons in RhoAf/f; Wnt1-Cre mice. Furthermore, a co-culture assay using DRG explants from RhoAf/f; Wnt1-Cre embryos, and 293T cells expressing semaphorin3A (Sema3A) reveals that RhoA is not required for Sema3A-mediated axonal repulsion of sensory neurons. Expression of RhoC, a closely related family member, is increased in RhoA-deficient sensory neurons and may play a compensatory role in this context. Taken together, these genetic studies demonstrate that RhoA is dispensable for peripheral and central projections of sensory neurons in the DRG.

Keywords: RhoA, axon guidance, semaphorin, dorsal root ganglia, cutaneous sensory neurons, proprioceptive sensory neurons, spinal cord

Citation: Leslie JR, Imai F, Zhou X, Lang RA, Zheng Y and Yoshida Y (2012) RhoA is dispensable for axon guidance of sensory neurons in the mouse dorsal root ganglia. Front. Mol. Neurosci. 5:67. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2012.00067

Received: 29 February 2012; Paper pending published: 19 March 2012;
Accepted: 09 May 2012; Published online: 22 May 2012.

Edited by:

James Jontes, Ohio State University, USA

Reviewed by:

Zaven Kaprielian, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, USA
Tracy S. Tran, Rutgers University, USA

Copyright: © 2012 Leslie, Imai, Zhou, Lang, Zheng and Yoshida. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited.

*Correspondence: Yutaka Yoshida, Division of Developmental Biology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA. e-mail: yutaka.yoshida@cchmc.org