Axonal connections between the two sides of the brain are essential for processing sensorimotor functions, especially in animals with bilateral symmetry. The anterior commissure and postoptic commissure are two crucial axonal projections that develop early in the zebrafish central nervous system. In this study, we characterized the function of collapsin response mediator protein 2 (CRMP2) and CRMP4 in patterning the development of the anterior and postoptic commissures by analyzing morpholino-knockdown zebrafish morphants and CRISPR/Cas9-edited gene-knockout mutants. We observed a loss of commissural structures or a significant reduction in axon bundles connecting the two hemispheres, but the defects could be largely recovered by co-injecting CRMP2 or CRMP4 mRNA. Loss of both CRMP2 and CRMP4 function resulted in a synergistic increase in the number of commissural defects. To elucidate the mechanism by which CRMP2 and CRMP4 provide guidance cues for the development of the anterior and postoptic commissures, we included neuropilin 1a (Nrp1a) morphants and double morphants (CRMP2/Nrp1a and CRMP4/Nrp1a) for analysis. Our experimental results indicated that CRMP2 and CRMP4 might mediate their activities through the common semaphorin 3/Nrp1a signaling pathway.
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