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

DOI: 10.3389/fnmol.2012.00067

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

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Abstract:

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.

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