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Sci. STKE, 11 June 2002
Vol. 2002, Issue 136, p. pl9
The Slice Overlay Assay: A Versatile Tool to Study the Influence of Extracellular Signals on Neuronal Development
Franck Polleux1* and
1 INSERM U371, 18 avenue Doyen Lépine, 69675 BRON Cedex, France. 2Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 725 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.
We have developed a technique that allows characterization and identification of extracellular signals that regulate various aspects of neuronal differentiation. In this in vitro assay, dissociated cells isolated from the developing cerebral wall are labeled and cultured over organotypic cortical slices. We have used this slice overlay assay to identify some of the extracellular cues that regulate differentiation and patterning of axons and dendrites in the cerebral cortex. This assay can be easily adapted to identify factors that control other aspects of neuronal development, such as proliferation and survival, and can also be used to evaluate the role of extracellular signals in the development of nonneural tissues.