Journal Article

Defective gonadotropin-releasing hormone neuron migration in mice lacking SEMA3A signalling through NRP1 and NRP2: implications for the aetiology of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism

Anna Cariboni, Kathryn Davidson, Sonja Rakic, Roberto Maggi, John G. Parnavelas and Christiana Ruhrberg

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 20, issue 2, pages 336-344
Published in print January 2011 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online November 2010 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddq468
Defective gonadotropin-releasing hormone neuron migration in mice lacking SEMA3A signalling through NRP1 and NRP2: implications for the aetiology of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism

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Kallmann syndrome (KS) is a genetic disease characterized by hypogonadotropic hypogonadism and impaired sense of smell. The genetic causes underlying this syndrome are still largely unknown, but are thought to be due to a developmental defect in the migration of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons. Understanding the causes of the disease is hampered by lack of appropriate mouse models. GnRH neurons are hypothalamic cells that centrally control reproduction in mammals by secreting the GnRH decapeptide into the portal blood vessels of the pituitary to stimulate the production of gonadotropins. During development, these cells are born in the nasal placode outside the brain and migrate in association with olfactory/vomeronasal axons to reach the forebrain and position themselves in the hypothalamus. By combining the analysis of genetically altered mice with in vitro models, we demonstrate here that a secreted guidance cue of the class 3 semaphorin family, SEMA3A, is essential for the development of the GnRH neuron system: loss of SEMA3A signalling alters the targeting of vomeronasal nerves and the migration of GnRH neurons into the brain, resulting in reduced gonadal size. We found that SEMA3A signals redundantly through both its classical receptors neuropilin (NRP) 1 and, unconventionally, NRP2, while the usual NRP2 ligand SEMA3F is dispensable for this process. Strikingly, mice lacking SEMA3A or semaphorin signalling through both NRP1 and NRP2 recapitulate the anatomical features of a single case of KS analysed so far, and may therefore be used as genetic models to elucidate the pathogenesis of KS.

Journal Article.  6561 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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