To reach their proper targets, axons rely upon the actions of highly conserved families of attractive and repulsive guidance molecules, including the netrins, Slits, semaphorins and ephrins. These guidance systems are used to generate an astonishingly varied set of neuronal circuits. Here we consider the mechanisms by which a few guidance systems can be used to generate diverse outcomes. Recent studies have revealed extensive transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of guidance cues and their receptors, as well as combinatorial mechanisms that integrate information from different families of guidance cues.
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