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Our laboratory uses a combination of molecular genetic, microsurgical, and in vivo imaging techniques to study the development of the retinotectal projection in zebrafish. Our primary goal is to understand the molecular and cell biological mechanisms by which axon guidance molecules affect growth cone behavior and how this behavior translates to pathfinding.

To date we have cloned three homologues of the Drosophila axon guidance receptor roundabout (robo), and demonstrated that the retinotectal pathfinding mutant astray is zebrafish robo2. We have found that wild-type retinal growth cones make occasional navigational errors, but these errors are eventually corrected, resulting in the highly stereotyped projection observed by 5 days post-fertilization. astray/robo2, which is expressed in retinal ganglion cells, acts to both prevent and correct these errors, presumably by transducing guidance signals located in the optic pathway. Currently, we are studying how the putative Robo ligands, members of the Slit family, guide retinal growth cones.

Our laboratory also studies retintotectal development in the tract sorting and topography mutants, including boxer, dackel, and nevermind. Our analysis is designed to provide a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which retinal ganglion cell axons maintain topographic order in the optic tract and optic tectum.

Selected Publications

  • ME Hardy, LV Ross, CB Chien. Focal gene misexpression in zebrafish embryos induced by local heat shock using a modified soldering iron. Developmental Dynamics, in press. PDF preprint
  • KM Kwan, E Fujimoto, C Grabher, BD Mangum, ME Hardy, DS Campbell, JM Parant, HJ Yost, JP Kanki, CB Chien. The Tol2kit: a multisite Gateway-based construction kit for Tol2 transposon transgenesis constructs. Developmental Dynamics, in press. PDF preprint
  • DS Campbell, SA Stringham, A Timm, T Xiao, MY Law, H Baier, ML Nonet, CB Chien (2007) Slit1a inhibits retinal ganglion cell arborisation and synaptogenesis via Robo2-dependent and -independent pathways. Neuron, 55:241-35.
  • A Suli, N Mortimer, I Shepherd, CB Chien (2006) Netrin/DCC signaling controls contralateral dendrites of octavolateralis efferent neurons. Journal of Neuroscience, 26:13328-37.
  • BD Wilson*, M Ii*, KW Park*, A Suli*, LK Sorensen, F Larrieu-Lahargue, LD Urness, W Suh, J Asai, GAH Kock, T Thorne, M Silver, KR Thomas, CB Chien, DW Losordo, and DY Li (2006). Netrins promote developmental and therapeutic angiogenesis. Science, 313:640-4.*=equal contributions.
  • JS Lee, S von der Hardt, MA Rusch, SE Stringer, HL Stickney, WS Talbot, R Geisler, C Nüsslein-Volhard, SB Selleck, CB Chien*, and H Roehl* (2004) Axon sorting in the optic tract requires HSPG synthesis by ext2 (dackel) and
    (boxer). Neuron, 44:947-960. *=equal contributions
  • Hutson LD, Chien C-B (2002) Pathfinding and error correction by retinal axons: the role of astray/robo2. Neuron 33(2):205-217.
  • Fricke CF, Lee J-S, Silke-Rudolph CJ, Haffter P, Bonhoeffer F, Chien C-B (2001) astray, a zebrafish roundabout homolog required for retinal axon guidance. Science 292(5516):507-510.
  • Lee J-S, Ray R, Chien C-B (2001) Cloning and expression of three zebrafish roundabout homologs suggest roles in axon guidance and cell migration. Developmental Dynamics 221(2):216-230.
Documentation for the Tol2kit
Discussion group for the Tol2kit
9/1/07: Hideo Otsuna has joined the lab, after completing his Ph.D. in Kei Ito's laboratory (Tokyo University). Hideo will study the circuitry of the visual system using a Gal4 enhancer trap screen.
6/7/07: Arminda Suli successfully defended her thesis; she will stay on in the lab to finish up her projects and papers before going on to a postdoc.
Where to Find Us
University of Utah
Dept. of Neurobiology & Anatomy
401 MREB
20 North 1900 East
University of Utah Medical Center
Salt Lake City, UT 84132-3201
phone: (801) 585-1702
fax: (801) 581-4233
email Chi-Bin Chien
Disclaimer | Neurobiology & Anatomy | Biosciences | Neuroscience