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Axon navigation depends, in part, on guidance cues emanating from the target. We have investigated the possible role of the target in the pathfinding of visceral motor axons to cranial parasympathetic ganglia. Mice homozygous for a tau-LacZ transgene targeted in the Phox2a locus lack the sphenopalatine ganglion, which is the normal target of visceral motor axons of the facial nerve. We found that in these mutants, facial visceral motor axon pathfinding was disrupted, and some axons were misrouted to an alternative parasympathetic ganglion. Moreover, the absence of correct facial visceral motor pathways was concomitant with defects in the pathfinding of rostrally-projecting sympathetic axons.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Cell Neurosci

Publication Date





14 - 26


Animals, Autonomic Pathways, Axons, Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors, Choristoma, DNA-Binding Proteins, Face, Facial Nerve, Ganglia, Parasympathetic, Genes, Reporter, Homeodomain Proteins, Mice, Mice, Knockout, Motor Neurons, Nerve Tissue Proteins, Superior Cervical Ganglion, Transcription Factors, Transgenes, Visceral Afferents