The receptor tyrosine phosphatase CRYPα promotes intraretinal axon growth

Matthias M. Ledig, Fawaz Haj, John L. Bixby, Andrew W. Stoker, Bernhard K. Mueller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Retinal ganglion cell axons grow towards the optic fissure in close contact with the basal membrane, an excellent growth substratum. One of the ligands of receptor tyrosine phosphatase CRYPα is located on the retinal and tectal basal membranes. To analyze the role of this RPTP and its ligand in intraretinal growth and guidance of ganglion cell axons, we disrupted ligand- receptor interactions on the retinal basal membrane in culture. Antibodies against CRYPα strongly reduced retinal axon growth on the basal membrane, and induced a dramatic change in morphology of retinal growth cones, reducing the size of growth cone lamellipodia. A similar effect was observed by blocking the ligand with a CRYPα ectodomain fusion protein. These effects did not occur, or were much reduced, when axons were grown either on laminin- 1, on matrigel or on basal membranes with glial end-feet removed. This indicates that a ligand for CRYPα is located on glial end-feet. These results show for the first time in vertebrates that the interaction of a receptor tyrosine phosphatase with its ligand is crucial not only for promotion of retinal axon growth but also for maintenance of retinal growth cone lamellipodia on basal membranes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-388
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Actin cytoskeleton
  • Axon growth
  • Growth cone
  • Integrin
  • Receptor protein tyrosine phosphatase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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