Axon growth is driven by the movement of a growth cone, a specialized sensory motile structure located at the tip of a growing neurite. Although stalled retraction bulbs have long been recognized as hallmarks of regeneration failure, mechanisms that control the formation and migration of nerve endings are only beginning to be unraveled. Recent studies point to microtubules as key determinants for such processes, and emerging evidence suggests that regulators of actin and microtubule dynamics in the growth cone might serve as attractive targets for controlling both the speed and trajectory of regenerating axons. This review discusses the potential of and recent progress in direct modulation of the growth cone machinery as a novel strategy to promote axon regeneration in the nervous system after injury.
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