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Curr Opin Insect Sci. 2016 Dec;18:11-16. doi: 10.1016/j.cois.2016.08.007. Epub 2016 Aug 24.

Embryonic axon guidance: insights from Drosophila and other insects.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701, United States. Electronic address:


During embryonic development, growing axons are guided by cellular signaling pathways that control a series of individual axon guidance decisions. In Drosophila, two major pathways (Netrin-Frazzled/DCC and Slit-Robo) regulate axon guidance in the embryonic ventral nerve cord, including the critical decision of whether or not to cross the midline. Studies in the fruit fly have revealed a complex picture of precise regulation and cross-talk between these pathways. In addition, Robo receptors in Drosophila have diversified their activities to regulate additional axon guidance decisions in the developing embryo. Here, I discuss recent advances in understanding roles and regulation of the Net-Fra and Slit-Robo signaling pathways in Drosophila, and examine the evolutionary conservation of these signaling mechanisms across insects and other arthropods.

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