NEURODEVELOPMENT

Growth cones carve a path through tissues

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Science  20 Feb 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6224, pp. 837
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6224.837-e

Neural growth cones use invadopodia-like fingers to push through tissues

PHOTO: TIMOTHY GOMEZ

A growth cone leading a neuron's development needs more than muscle to push its way through tissues and across boundaries. Santiago-Medina et al. found features on neuronal growth cones that are like the invadosomes of immune and metastatic cancer cells, which themselves have a knack for squeezing through existing tissues. These invadosomes, fingers that poke out into the surrounding tissue, are packed with cytoskeleton and exude proteases that degrade the extracellular matrix. The invadosomes were key for Xenopus motoneurons trying to find a path out of the spinal cord and into the developing musculature.

Development 10.1242/dev.108266 (2015).

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