Nerve growth cones, the dilated tip of developing axons, are equipped with exquisite abilities to sense environmental cues and to move rapidly through complex terrains of developing brain, leading the axons to their specific targets for precise neuronal wiring. The actin cytoskeleton is the major component of the growth cone that powers its directional motility. Past research has provided significant insights into the mechanisms by which growth cones translate extracellular signals into directional migration. In this review, we summarize the actin-based mechanisms underlying directional growth cone motility, examine novel findings, and discuss the outstanding questions concerning the actin-based growth cone behaviors.
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