Keeping Axons on Track

Science Signaling  15 Apr 2008:
Vol. 1, Issue 15, pp. ec131
DOI: 10.1126/stke.115ec131

Like cars on a highway, neuronal signaling routes merge and diverge between origin and destination. By identifying developing motor and sensory neurons in the mouse embryo with distinguishable labels, Gallarda et al. (see the Perspective by Murai and Pasquale) have visualized how the growing axons keep entanglement at bay. The axons grew into parallel but separated bundles. Signaling through the ephrin A receptors and ligands present on the growing axons served to keep like axons bundled with like.

B. W. Gallarda, D. Bonanomi, D. Müller, A. Brown, W. A. Alaynick, S. E. Andrews, G. Lemke, S. L. Pfaff, T. Marquardt, Segregation of axial motor and sensory pathways via heterotypic trans-axonal signaling. Science 320, 233-236 (2008). [Abstract] [Full Text]

K. K. Murai, E. B. Pasquale, Axons seek neighborly advice. Science 320, 185-186 (2008). [Summary] [Full Text]