Activity 7.8 Growth Cones

Time-lapse video microscpy of retinal growth cones presented at 420 times normal axon growth rate. During synaptogenesis, growth cones help axons and dendrites elongate toward target cells. Narrow structures known as filopodia reach out from the growth cone into the extracellular environment. Growth cones orient to and follow a chemical gradient released by the target cells. In this video, the growth cones follow a gradient of protein released from a micropipette.

Textbook Reference: Development of the Nervous System Can Be Divided into Six Distinct Stages pp. 179–191

Video by Eric Birgbauer PhD and David Sretavan MD PhD, University of California San Francisco, Departments of Ophthalmology and Physiology. Research support from NIH National Eye Institute and the That Man May See Foundation.