Disoriented pathfinding by pioneer neurone growth cones deprived of filopodia by cytochalasin treatment

Nature. 1986 Oct 23-29;323(6090):712-5. doi: 10.1038/323712a0.


A major question in developmental neurobiology is how developing nerve cells accurately extend processes to establish connections with their target cells. This problem involves both the nature of cues for growth cone guidance and also the question of how growth cones survey their environment for cues and respond by altering their direction of migration. The filopodia which normally extend from neuronal growth cones have been shown to affect growth cone steering in vitro and it has been proposed that they function in vivo in the detection of and response to guidance cues. This hypothesis could be tested in vivo if growth cones which normally have filopodia could be induced to migrate in their absence. The pair of Ti1 neurones are the first neurones to extend axons through the limb buds of embryonic grasshoppers. We report here an examination of the migration of Ti1 pioneer growth cones deprived of filopodia by culture in agents which disrupt actin microfilaments. Under these conditions, axons continue to extend but a large percentage of growth cones are highly disoriented. Our results indicate that Ti1 filopodia are not necessary for axonal elongation in vivo but that they are important for correctly oriented growth cone steering.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytochalasin B / metabolism
  • Cytochalasin D
  • Cytochalasins / metabolism*
  • Grasshoppers
  • Neurons / anatomy & histology*


  • Cytochalasins
  • Cytochalasin D
  • Cytochalasin B