How Actin Filaments and Microtubules Steer Growth Cones to Their Targets

Feng Quan Zhou, Christopher S. Cohan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Guidance molecules steer growth cones to their targets by attracting or repelling them. Turning in a new direction requires remodeling of the growth cone and bending of the axon. This depends upon reorganization of actin filaments and microtubules, which are the primary cytoskeletal components of growth cones. This article discusses how these cytoskeletal components induce turning. The importance of each component as well as how interactions between them result in axon guidance is discussed. Current evidence shows that microtubules are influenced by both the organization and dynamics of actin filaments in the peripheral domain of growth cones. Cytoskeletal models for repulsive and attractive turning are presented. Molecular candidates that may link actin filaments with microtubules are suggested and potential signal transduction pathways that allow these cytoskeletal components to affect each other are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-91
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurobiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Actin bundles
  • Axon guidance
  • Microtubules
  • Retrograde flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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