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Cell. 2001 Apr 6;105(1):57-67.

sidestep encodes a target-derived attractant essential for motor axon guidance in Drosophila.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, 519 LSA, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


At specific choice points in the periphery, subsets of motor axons defasciculate from other axons in the motor nerves and steer into their muscle target regions. Using a large-scale genetic screen in Drosophila, we identified the sidestep (side) gene as essential for motor axons to leave the motor nerves and enter their muscle targets. side encodes a target-derived transmembrane protein (Side) that is a novel member of the immunoglobulin superfamily (IgSF). Side is expressed on embryonic muscles during the period when motor axons leave their nerves and extend onto these muscles. In side mutant embryos, motor axons fail to extend onto muscles and instead continue to extend along their motor nerves. Ectopic expression of Side results in extensive and prolonged motor axon contact with inappropriate tissues expressing Side.

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