The dynamics of growth cone morphology

Goodhill, G.J., Faville, R.A., Sutherland, D.J., Bicknell, B.A., Thompson, A.W., Pujic, Z., Sun, B., Kita, E.M., Scott, E.K.
BMC Biology   13: 10 (Journal)
Registered Authors
Pujic, Zac, Scott, Ethan
Axon guidance, Neurite growth, Neural development, Eigenshape analysis, Shape analysis, Brain morphometry, Oscillations, Microtubules
MeSH Terms
  • Animals
  • Chemotaxis/drug effects
  • Databases as Topic
  • Glass
  • Growth Cones/drug effects
  • Growth Cones/metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Microtubules/drug effects
  • Microtubules/metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Movement/drug effects
  • Nerve Growth Factor/pharmacology
  • Periodicity
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Regression Analysis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Time Factors
  • Zebrafish
25729914 Full text @ BMC Biol.
Normal brain function depends on the development of appropriate patterns of neural connections. A critical role in guiding axons to their targets during neural development is played by neuronal growth cones. These have a complex and rapidly changing morphology; however, a quantitative understanding of this morphology, its dynamics and how these are related to growth cone movement, is lacking.
Here we use eigenshape analysis (principal components analysis in shape space) to uncover the set of five to six basic shape modes that capture the most variance in growth cone form. By analysing how the projections of growth cones onto these principal modes evolve in time, we found that growth cone shape oscillates with a mean period of 30 min. The variability of oscillation periods and strengths between different growth cones was correlated with their forward movement, such that growth cones with strong, fast shape oscillations tended to extend faster. A simple computational model of growth cone shape dynamics based on dynamic microtubule instability was able to reproduce quantitatively both the mean and variance of oscillation periods seen experimentally, suggesting that the principal driver of growth cone shape oscillations may be intrinsic periodicity in cytoskeletal rearrangements.
Intrinsically driven shape oscillations are an important component of growth cone shape dynamics. More generally, eigenshape analysis has the potential to provide new quantitative information about differences in growth cone behaviour in different conditions.
Genes / Markers
Show all Figures
Mutations / Transgenics
Human Disease / Model
Sequence Targeting Reagents
Engineered Foreign Genes