The trip of the tip: understanding the growth cone machinery

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2009 May;10(5):332-43. doi: 10.1038/nrm2679. Epub 2009 Apr 17.


The central component in the road trip of axon guidance is the growth cone, a dynamic structure that is located at the tip of the growing axon. During its journey, the growth cone comprises both 'vehicle' and 'navigator'. Whereas the 'vehicle' maintains growth cone movement and contains the cytoskeletal structural elements of its framework, a motor to move forward and a mechanism to provide traction on the 'road', the 'navigator' aspect guides this system with spatial bias to translate environmental signals into directional movement. The understanding of the functions and regulation of the vehicle and navigator provides new insights into the cell biology of growth cone guidance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Growth Cones / metabolism
  • Growth Cones / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Protein Binding


  • Actins