Pax7 and Superior Collicular Polarity: Insights from Pax6 (Sey) Mutant Mice
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science
Pax genes are important modulators of CNS development. Pax7 and Pax6 polarise the neural tube and regionalise the brain. Pax7 is pivotal in specifying the superior colliculus/tectum, an important centre for integration of visuomotor responses and a target for Pax6 + retinal ganglion cell axons during retinocollicular mapping. Whilst initial Pax7-specification of the mesencephalon is well-established, a role in regulating polarity within the maturing mouse superior colliculus is yet to be defined, although already detailed for the chick tectum. We therefore quantified Pax7 cellular distribution and expression levels at three functionally distinct stages of superior collicular development, and analysed Pax7 expression in response to aberrant axonal input and altered forebrain/midbrain boundary placement in Pax6 mutant mice. Comparative expression profiles of ephrin-A2 and its co-localisation with Pax7 were determined in wildtype and Pax6 mutant mice. Results indicate that graded Pax7 expression in wildtype mice is perturbed in Pax6 mutant mice; changes manifest as a shift in polarity, loss of graded expression and dramatically reduced protein levels during RGC synaptogenesis. Ephrin-A2 expression is similarly altered. These results implicate Pax7 as an important determinant of polarity within the mouse superior colliculus, and suggest a role in retinotopic mapping.