Pertussis toxin specifically inhibits growth cone guidance by a mechanism independent of direct G protein inactivation

Neuron. 1995 Jul;15(1):79-88. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(95)90066-7.


An assay employing patterned laminin substrata was used to screen for compounds that disrupt neurite guidance. One molecule, pertussis toxin, caused neurites to wander from patterns that normally guided them, yet had no significant effect on rates of neurite outgrowth. Wandering was greatest on patterns requiring frequent guidance (e.g., laminin stripes with periodic gaps). Surprisingly, the B oligomer of pertussis toxin, which lacks the subunit that inactivates G proteins, was equipotent at disrupting neurite guidance. Pertussis toxin probably acts by binding cell surface carbohydrates, since neurites lacking complex-type N-linked oligosaccharides were insensitive to the effects of the toxin. The B oligomer also blocked growth cone collapse induced by a brain membrane-derived factor; such factors are thought to act as repulsive guidance cues in vivo. That a single reagent can inhibit neuronal responses to both attractive and repulsive guidance cues suggests that such cues may share signaling pathways.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Diphosphate Ribose / biosynthesis
  • Animals
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured / cytology
  • Cells, Cultured / drug effects
  • Chick Embryo
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Ganglia, Spinal / cytology
  • Laminin / physiology
  • Neurites / drug effects*
  • Pertussis Toxin*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Virulence Factors, Bordetella / pharmacology*


  • Laminin
  • Virulence Factors, Bordetella
  • Adenosine Diphosphate Ribose
  • Pertussis Toxin
  • GTP-Binding Proteins