Human genetic disorders of axon guidance

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2010 Mar;2(3):a001784. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a001784.


This article reviews symptoms and signs of aberrant axon connectivity in humans, and summarizes major human genetic disorders that result, or have been proposed to result, from defective axon guidance. These include corpus callosum agenesis, L1 syndrome, Joubert syndrome and related disorders, horizontal gaze palsy with progressive scoliosis, Kallmann syndrome, albinism, congenital fibrosis of the extraocular muscles type 1, Duane retraction syndrome, and pontine tegmental cap dysplasia. Genes mutated in these disorders can encode axon growth cone ligands and receptors, downstream signaling molecules, and axon transport motors, as well as proteins without currently recognized roles in axon guidance. Advances in neuroimaging and genetic techniques have the potential to rapidly expand this field, and it is feasible that axon guidance disorders will soon be recognized as a new and significant category of human neurodevelopmental disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Brain / embryology
  • Brain / physiology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Fibrosis / genetics
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn*
  • Humans
  • Kallmann Syndrome / genetics
  • Ligands
  • Models, Biological
  • Muscles / pathology
  • Mutation
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Nervous System Diseases / genetics
  • Syndrome


  • Ligands