This article describes the expression pattern and functional analysis of Lazarillo, a novel cell surface glycoprotein expressed in the embryonic grasshopper nervous system, and a member of the lipocalin family. Lazarillo is expressed by a subset of neuroblasts, ganglion mother cells and neurons of the central nervous system, by all sensory neurons of the peripheral nervous system, and by a subset of neurons of the enteric nervous system. It is also present in a few non neuronal cells associated mainly with the excretory system. A monoclonal antibody raised against Lazarillo perturbs the extent and direction of growth of identified commissural pioneer neurons. We propose that Lazarillo is the receptor for a midline morphogen involved in the outgrowth and guidance of these neurons.

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