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Localized sources of neurotrophins initiate axon collateral sprouting

By Gianluca Gallo and Paul C. Letourneau


The sprouting of axon collateral branches is important in the establishment and refinement of neuronal connections during both development and regeneration. Collateral branches are initiated by the appearance of localized filopodial activity along quiescent axonal shafts. We report here that sensory neuron axonal shafts rapidly sprout filopodia at sites of contact with nerve growth factor-coated polystyrene beads. Some sprouts can extend up to at least 60 �m through multiple bead contacts. Axonal filopodial sprouts often contained microtubules and exhibited a debundling of axonal microtubules at the site of bead–axon contact. Cytochalasin treatment abolished the filopodial sprouting, but not the accumulation of actin filaments at sites of bead–axon contact. The axonal sprouting response is mediated by the trkA receptor and likely acts through a phosphoinositide-3 kinase-dependent pathway, in a manne

Year: 1998
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