G protein-mediated inhibition of neuronal migration requires calcium influx

Angela Horgan, Philip F. Copenhaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Neuronal migration is an essential feature of the developing nervous system, but the intracellular signaling mechanisms that regulate this process are poorly understood. During the formation of the enteric nervous system (ENS) in the moth Manduca sexta, the migration of an identified set of neurons (the EP cells) is regulated in part by the heterotrimeric guanyl- nucleotide binding protein (G protein) G(oα). Using an in vivo culture preparation for developing embryos that allows direct access to the ENS, we have shown that EP cell migration is similarly regulated by intracellular Ca2+; treatments that increased intracellular Ca2+ inhibited the migratory process, whereas buffering intracellular Ca2+ induced aberrant migration onto inappropriate pathways. Imaging the spontaneous changes in intracellular Ca2+ within individual EP cells showed that actively migrating neurons exhibited only small fluctuations in intracellular Ca2+. In contrast, neurons that had reached the end of migration displayed large, transient Ca2+ spikes. Similar Ca2+ spikes were induced in the EP cells by G protein stimulation, an effect that was reversed by removal of external Ca2+. Stimulation of G(o) in individual EP cells (by injection of either activated G(oα) subunits or mastoparan) also inhibited migration in a Ca2+-dependent manner. These results suggest that the regulation of neuronal migration by G proteins involves a Ca2+-dependent process requiring Ca2+ influx.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4189-4200
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 1998


  • Calcium
  • Embryonic development
  • G protein
  • Manduca sexta
  • Neuronal guidance
  • Neuronal migration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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