Axon guidance by growth-rate modulation

Duncan Mortimer, Zac Pujic, Timothy Vaughan, Andrew W. Thompson, Julia Feldner, Irina Vetter, Geoffrey J. Goodhill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Guidance of axons by molecular gradients is crucial for wiring up the developing nervous system. It often is assumed that the unique signature of such guidance is immediate and biased turning of the axon tip toward orawayfrom the gradient. However,hereweshow that such turning is not required for guidance. Rather, by a combination of experimental and computational analyses, we demonstrate that growth-rate modulation is an alternative mechanism for guidance. Furthermore we show that, although both mechanisms may operate simultaneously, biased turning dominates in steep gradients, whereas growth-rate modulation may dominate in shallow gradients. These results suggest that biased axon turning is not the only method by which guidance can occur.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5202-5207
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 16 2010


  • Chemotaxis
  • Computational neuroscience
  • Growth cone
  • Nerve growth factor
  • Neural development


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