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PLoS One. 2013 Nov 11;8(11):e80136. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0080136. eCollection 2013.

Drosophila growth cones advance by forward translocation of the neuronal cytoskeletal meshwork in vivo.

Author information

1
Cell and Molecular Biology Program, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, United States of America.

Abstract

In vitro studies conducted in Aplysia and chick sensory neurons indicate that in addition to microtubule assembly, long microtubules in the C-domain of the growth cone move forward as a coherent bundle during axonal elongation. Nonetheless, whether this mode of microtubule translocation contributes to growth cone motility in vivo is unknown. To address this question, we turned to the model system Drosophila. Using docked mitochondria as fiduciary markers for the translocation of long microtubules, we first examined motion along the axon to test if the pattern of axonal elongation is conserved between Drosophila and other species in vitro. When Drosophila neurons were cultured on Drosophila extracellular matrix proteins collected from the Drosophila Kc167 cell line, docked mitochondria moved in a pattern indicative of bulk microtubule translocation, similar to that observed in chick sensory neurons grown on laminin. To investigate whether the C-domain is stationary or advances in vivo, we tracked the movement of mitochondria during elongation of the aCC motor neuron in stage 16 Drosophila embryos. We found docked mitochondria moved forward along the axon shaft and in the growth cone C-domain. This work confirms that the physical mechanism of growth cone advance is similar between Drosophila and vertebrate neurons and suggests forward translocation of the microtubule meshwork in the axon underlies the advance of the growth cone C-domain in vivo. These results highlight the need for incorporating en masse microtubule translocation, in addition to assembly, into models of axonal elongation.

PMID:
24244629
PMCID:
PMC3823856
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0080136
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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