Visuomotor anomalies in achiasmatic mice expressing a transfer-defective Vax1 mutant

Kwang Wook Min, Namsuk Kim, Jae Hoon Lee, Younghoon Sung, Museong Kim, Eun Jung Lee, Jong Myeong Kim, Jae Hyun Kim, Jaeyoung Lee, Wonjin Cho, Jee Myung Yang, Nury Kim, Jaehoon Kim, C. Justin Lee, Young Gyun Park, Seung Hee Lee, Han Woong Lee, Jin Woo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In binocular animals that exhibit stereoscopic visual responses, the axons of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) connect to brain areas bilaterally by forming a commissure called the optic chiasm (OC). Ventral anterior homeobox 1 (Vax1) contributes to the formation of the OC, acting endogenously in optic pathway cells and exogenously in growing RGC axons. Here, we generated Vax1AA/AA mice expressing the Vax1AA mutant, which is incapable of intercellular transfer. We found that RGC axons cannot take up Vax1AA protein from the Vax1AA/AA mouse optic stalk (OS) and grow slowly to arrive at the hypothalamus at a late stage. The RGC axons of Vax1AA/AA mice connect exclusively to ipsilateral brain areas after failing to access the midline, resulting in reduced visual acuity and abnormal oculomotor responses. Overall, our study provides physiological evidence for the necessity of intercellular transfer of Vax1 and the importance of the bilateral RGC axon projection in proper visuomotor responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-400
Number of pages16
JournalExperimental and Molecular Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Feb

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior – Brasil (CAPES)—Finance Code 001.

Funding Information:
We thank Ilsong Choi and Anna Shin for helping with the mouse ocular behavioral tests. This work was supported by National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grants (NRF-2022R1A2C3003589; NRF-2018R1A5A1024261) funded by the Korean Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) and an International Collaboration Initiative grant (KAIST-N11210255) supported by KAIST, South Korea. This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs. All of the animals were handled according to approved institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) protocols (#13-130) of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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