CNS-derived glia ensheath peripheral nerves and mediate motor root development

Sarah Kucenas, Norio Takada, Hae Chul Park, Elvin Woodruff, Kendal Broadie, Bruce Appel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

195 Citations (Scopus)


Motor function requires that motor axons extend from the spinal cord at regular intervals and that they are myelinated by Schwann cells. Little attention has been given to another cellular structure, the perineurium, which ensheaths the motor nerve, forming a flexible, protective barrier. Consequently, the origin of perineurial cells and their roles in motor nerve formation are poorly understood. Using time-lapse imaging in zebrafish, we show that perineurial cells are born in the CNS, arising as ventral spinal-cord glia before migrating into the periphery. In embryos lacking perineurial glia, motor neurons inappropriately migrated outside of the spinal cord and had aberrant axonal projections, indicating that perineurial glia carry out barrier and guidance functions at motor axon exit points. Additionally, reciprocal signaling between perineurial glia and Schwann cells was necessary for motor nerve ensheathment by both cell types. These insights reveal a new class of CNS-born glia that critically contributes to motor nerve development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-151
Number of pages9
JournalNature Neuroscience
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Feb

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank T. Piotrowski, J. Shin, W. Talbot and R. Karlstrom for reagents and fish, M. Bhat, V. Auld and members of the Appel lab for valuable discussions, and J. Weston for comments on the manuscript. Reagents also were provided by the Zebrafish International Resource Center, supported by grant P40 RR012546 from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center for Research Resources. This work was supported by the Post Doctoral Training Program in Neurogenomics-MH65215-03 (S.K.), NIH grant R01 NS046668 (B.A.), NIH grant R01 GM054544 (K.B.) and a zebrafish initiative funded by the Vanderbilt University Academic Venture Capital Fund.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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