Organization of neuronal connections into topographic maps is essential for processing information. Yet, our understanding of topographic mapping has remained limited by our inability to observe maps forming and refining directly in vivo. Here, we used Cre-mediated recombination of a new colorswitch reporter in zebrafish to generate the first transgenic model allowing the dynamic analysis of retinotectal mapping in vivo. We found that the antero-posterior retinotopic map forms early but remains dynamic, with nasal and temporal retinal axons expanding their projection domains over time. Nasal projections initially arborize in the anterior tectum but progressively refine their projection domain to the posterior tectum, leading to the sharpening of the retinotopic map along the antero-posterior axis. Finally, using a CRISPR-mediated mutagenesis approach, we demonstrate that the refinement of nasal retinal projections requires the adhesion molecule Contactin 2. Altogether, our study provides the first analysis of a topographic map maturing in real time in a live animal and opens new strategies for dissecting the molecular mechanisms underlying precise topographic mapping in vertebrates.

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