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Journal Article

Cholinesterases preceding major tracts in vertebrate neurogenesis


Layer,  PG
Department Molecular Biology Gierer, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Layer, P. (1990). Cholinesterases preceding major tracts in vertebrate neurogenesis. Bioessays, 12(9), 415-420. doi:10.1002/bies.950120904.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000D-976D-F
The role of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) in neurotransmission is well known. But long before synapses are formed in vertebrates, AChE is expressed in young postmitotic neuroblasts that are about to extend the first long tracts. AChE histochemistry can thus be used to map primary steps of brain differentiation. Preceding and possibly inducing AChE in avian brains, the closely related butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) spatially foreshadows AChE-positive cell areas and the course of their axons. In particular, before spinal motor axons grow, their corresponding rostral sclerotomes and myotomes express BChE, and both their neuronal source and myotomal target cells express AChE. Since axon growth has been found inhibited by acetylcholine, it is postulated that both cholinesterases can attract neurite growth cones by neutralizing the inhibitor. Thus, the early expression of both cholinesterases that is at least partially independent from classical cholinergic synaptogenesis, sheds new light on the developmental and medical significance of these enzymes.