Mutations affecting growth cone guidance in Drosophila: genes necessary for guidance toward or away from the midline

Neuron. 1993 Mar;10(3):409-26. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(93)90330-t.


We performed a large-scale screen for mutations that affect the development of CNS axon pathways in the Drosophila embryo. We screened embryos from over 13,500 balanced lines and saved over 250 mutant lines whose phenotypes suggest possible defects in growth cone guidance. Here we focus on two new genes: commissureless (comm) and roundabout (robo). Mutations in comm lead to an absence of nearly all CNS axon commissures, such that growth cones that normally project across the midline instead now extend only on their own side. Mutations in robo lead to the opposite misrouting, such that some growth cones that normally extend only on their own side instead now project across the midline. The phenotypes of these two genes suggest that they may encode components of attractive and repulsive signaling systems at the midline that either guide growth cones across the midline or keep them on their own side.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Central Nervous System / embryology*
  • Drosophila / embryology
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Genes, Insect*
  • Mutation*
  • Neural Pathways / embryology
  • Phenotype