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Neuron. 1997 Dec;19(6):1211-24.

Turning of retinal growth cones in a netrin-1 gradient mediated by the netrin receptor DCC.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Anatomy, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0452, USA.


Netrin-1 promotes outgrowth of axons in vitro through the receptor Deleted in Colorectal Cancer (DCC) and elicits turning of axons within embryonic explants when presented as a point source. It is not known whether netrin-1 alone can elicit turning nor whether DCC mediates the turning response. We show that Xenopus retinal ganglion cell growth cones orient rapidly toward a pipette ejecting netrin-1, an effect blocked by antibodies to DCC. In vitro, netrin-1 induces a complex growth cone morphology reminiscent of that at the optic nerve head, a site of netrin-1 expression in vivo. These results demonstrate that netrin-1 can function alone to induce turning, implicate DCC in this response, and support the idea that netrin-1 contributes to steering axons out of the retina.

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