Pathfinding by Neuronal Growth Cones in Grasshopper Embryos

  • Raper A
  • Bastiani M
  • Goodman C
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In the previous paper (Raper, J. A., M. Bastiani, and C. S. Goodman (1983) J. Neurosci. 3: 20-30) we showed that the growth cones of two sibling neurons, the G and C cells, follow the same route in the developing grasshopper neuropil until they reach a stereotypic choice point. Here their growth cones diverge from each other as G turns and extends anteriorly and C turns and extends posteriorly. In this paper we show that the G and C growth cones fasciculate and extend in opposite directions upon a specific bundle of four axons. This occurs even though many other axons are within filopodial reach of the G and C growth cones. We identified the four neurons (the Al, A2, Pl, and P2 cells) whose axons form the bundle that G and C extend upon by tilling individual axons with Lucifer Yellow and viewing the filled cells in living embryos and by filling individual neurons with HRP and reconstructing the axon bundle from electron micrographs. The G neuron extends anteriorly in the bundle containing these four axons; the C neuron extends posteriorly in the same bundle only after several other axons have joined in. These results suggest that the growth cones of the G and C neurons are determined to recognize and extend upon labeled axons, leading us to propose the “labeled pathways” hypothesis.

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  • A. Jonathan Raper

  • Michael Bastiani

  • Corey S Goodman

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