Filopodial dynamics and growth cone stabilization in Drosophila visual circuit development

Mehmet Neset Özel, Marion Langen, Bassem A. Hassan, P. Robin Hiesinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Filopodial dynamics are thought to control growth cone guidance, but the types and roles of growth cone dynamics underlying neural circuit assembly in a living brain are largely unknown. To address this issue, we have developed long-term, continuous, fast and high-resolution imaging of growth cone dynamics from axon growth to synapse formation in cultured Drosophila brains. Using R7 photoreceptor neurons as a model we show that >90% of the growth cone filopodia exhibit fast, stochastic dynamics that persist despite ongoing stepwise layer formation. Correspondingly, R7 growth cones stabilize early and change their final position by passive dislocation. N-Cadherin controls both fast filopodial dynamics and growth cone stabilization. Surprisingly, loss of N-Cadherin causes no primary targeting defects, but destabilizes R7 growth cones to jump between correct and incorrect layers. Hence, growth cone dynamics can influence wiring specificity without a direct role in target recognition and implement simple rules during circuit assembly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere10721
JournaleLife
Volume4
Issue numberOCTOBER2015
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 29 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Medicine(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)

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    Özel, M. N., Langen, M., Hassan, B. A., & Hiesinger, P. R. (2015). Filopodial dynamics and growth cone stabilization in Drosophila visual circuit development. eLife, 4(OCTOBER2015), [e10721]. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.10721