Modulation of dorsal root ganglion development by ErbB signaling and the scaffold protein Sorbs3

Sarah J. Malmquist, Alexandra Abramsson, Hillary F. McGraw, Tor H. Linbo, David W. Raible

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The multipotent cells of the vertebrate neural crest (NC) arise at the dorsal aspect of the neural tube, then migrate throughout the developing embryo and differentiate into diverse cell types, including the sensory neurons and glia of the dorsal root ganglia (DRG). As multiple cell types are derived from this lineage, it is ideal for examining mechanisms of fate restriction during development. We have isolated a mutant, ouchless, that specifically fails to develop DRG neurons, although other NC derivatives develop normally. This mutation affects the expression of Sorbs3, a scaffold protein known to interact with proteins involved in focal adhesions and several signaling pathways. ouchless mutants share some phenotypic similarities with mutants in ErbB receptors, EGFR homologs that are implicated in diverse developmental processes and associated with several cancers; and ouchless interacts genetically with an allele of erbb3 in DRG neurogenesis. However, the defect in ouchless DRG neurogenesis is distinct from ErbB loss of function in that it is not associated with a loss of glia. Both ouchless and neurogenin1 heterozygous fish are sensitized to the effects of ErbB chemical inhibitors, which block the development of DRG in a dose-dependent manner. Inhibitors of MEK show similar effects on DRG neurogenesis. We propose a model in which Sorbs3 helps to integrate ErbB signals to promote DRG neurogenesis through the activation of MAPK and upregulation of neurogenin1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3986-3996
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013


  • Dorsal root ganglia
  • ErbB
  • Neural crest
  • Neurogenin 1
  • Sorbs3
  • Zebrafish


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