Synergistic regulation of cerebellar Purkinje neuron development by laminin epitopes and collagen on an artificial hybrid matrix construct
The extracellular matrix (ECM) creates a dynamic environment around the cells in the developing central nervous system, providing them with the necessary biochemical and biophysical signals. Although the functions of many ECM molecules in neuronal development have been individually studied in detail, the combinatorial effects of multiple ECM components are not well characterized. Here we demonstrate that the expression of collagen and laminin-1 (lam-1) are spatially and temporally correlated during embryonic and post-natal development of the cerebellum. These changes in ECM distribution correspond to specific stages of Purkinje neuron (PC) migration, somatic monolayer formation and polarization. To clarify the respective roles of these ECM molecules on PC development, we cultured cerebellar neurons on a hybrid matrix comprised of collagen and a synthetic peptide amphiphile nanofiber bearing a potent lam-1 derived bioactive IKVAV peptide epitope. By systematically varying the concentration and ratio of collagen and the laminin epitope in the matrix, we could demonstrate a synergistic relationship between these two ECM components in controlling multiple aspects of PC maturation. An optimal ratio of collagen and IKVAV in the matrix was found to promote maximal PC survival and dendrite growth, while dendrite penetration into the matrix was enhanced by a high IKVAV to collagen ratio. In addition, the laminin epitope was found to guide PC axon development. By combining our observations in vivo and in vitro, we propose a model of PC development where the synergistic effects of collagen and lam-1 play a key role in migration, polarization and morphological maturation of PCs.