Axon guidance

Stable Identifier
Homo sapiens
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Axon guidance / axon pathfinding is the process by which neurons send out axons to reach the correct targets. Growing axons have a highly motile structure at the growing tip called the growth cone, which senses the guidance cues in the environment through guidance cue receptors and responds by undergoing cytoskeletal changes that determine the direction of axon growth.
Guidance cues present in the surrounding environment provide the necessary directional information for the trip. These extrinsic cues have been divided into attractive or repulsive signals that tell the growth cone where and where not to grow.
Genetic and biochemical studies have led to the identification of highly conserved families of guidance molecules and their receptors that guide axons. These include netrins, Slits, semaphorins, and ephrins, and their cognate receptors, DCC and or uncoordinated-5 (UNC5), roundabouts (Robo), neuropilin and Eph. In addition, many other classes of adhesion molecules are also used by growth cones to navigate properly which include NCAM and L1CAM.
For review of axon guidance, please refer to Russel and Bashaw 2018, Chedotal 2019, Suter and Jaworski 2019).
Axon guidance cues and their receptors are implicated in cancer progression (Biankin et al. 2012), where they likely contribute to cell migration and angiogenesis (reviewed by Mehlen et al. 2011).
Literature References
PubMed ID Title Journal Year
29226467 Axon guidance pathways and the control of gene expression

Russell, SA, Bashaw, GJ

Dev. Dyn. 2018
31467195 Cell migration and axon guidance at the border between central and peripheral nervous system

Jaworski, A, Suter, TACS

Science 2019
31000796 Roles of axon guidance molecules in neuronal wiring in the developing spinal cord

Ch├ędotal, A

Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 2019
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