Editors' ChoiceStructural Biology

Dissecting How Signaling Directs Axon Growth

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Sci. Signal.  17 Jun 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 330, pp. ec166
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2005589

During development of the nervous system, nerve cells send out projections called axons that must be guided to their proper targets. Netrins are secreted proteins that bind to receptors to either attract or repel the growing axons. Xu et al. present x-ray structures that show that complexes of netrin with two different receptors, neogenin and DCC, have different architectures. How netrin signals remains to be understood in detail, but netrin’s ability to create different assemblies probably plays a role in the diverse signaling outcomes it mediates.

K. Xu, Z. Wu, N. Renier, A. Antipenko, D. Tzvetkova-Robev, Y. Xu, M. Minchenko, V. Nardi-Dei, K. R. Rajashankar, J. Himanen, M. Tessier-Lavigne, D. B. Nikolov, Structures of netrin-1 bound to two receptors provide insight into its axon guidance mechanism. Science 344, 1275–1279 (2014). [Abstract] [Full Text]