Using Xenopus laevis retinal and spinal neurons to study mechanisms of axon guidance in vivo and in vitro

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2016 Mar:51:64-72. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2016.02.003. Epub 2016 Feb 4.


The intricate and precise establishment of neuronal connections in the developing nervous system relies on accurate navigation of growing axons. Since Ramón y Cajal's discovery of the growth cone, the phenomenon of axon guidance has been revealed as a coordinated operation of guidance molecules, receptors, secondary messengers, and responses driven by the dynamic cytoskeleton within the growth cone. With the advent of new and accelerating techniques, Xenopus laevis emerged as a robust model to investigate neuronal circuit formation during development. We present here the advantages of the Xenopus nervous system to our growing understanding of axon guidance.

Keywords: Axon guidance; Growth cone; Retinal ganglion neurons; Spinal neurons; Xenopus laevis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axon Guidance*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Growth Cones / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology
  • Spinal Cord / cytology
  • Time-Lapse Imaging
  • Xenopus laevis