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The concept of guidepost cells has been developed from studies of stereotyped routes taken by pioneer axons that eventually become a major adult nerve trunk along the length of the limb in grasshoppers (Bentley and Caudy, 1983; Caudy and Bentley, 1986; Meier and Reichert,1991).
Guidepost cells may be neuronal cells (guidepost neurons) or non-neuronal cells. They are specific nonadjacent cells that facilitate axon extension across regions of low cell-substratum adhesivity or spaces between guidepost cells (Hammarback and Letourneau, 1986). Guidance or navigation cues provided by guidepost cells mark a path along which the pioneers grow (Palka et al, 1992). Promotion or inhibition of synapse formation may include direct cell-cell interaction but also secreted guidance cues conveying repellent or attractive signals (Margeta et al, 2008; Zhou et al, 2009).
Kuhn et al (1995) have demonstrated that model guideposts, composed of a single molecular species, are sufficient to change the navigation and the behavior of advancing growth cones well beyond the time of contact. Laminin on model guideposts causes a sustained increase in growth cone velocity, whereas fibronectin leads to a sustained decrease.
For an overview of molecular guidance mechanisms and cues involving, guidepost cells and also selective adhesion, growth cone avoidance, surface gradients, and chemotropism see: Johansen and Johansen (1997). For a specific cell type performing the function of guidepost neurons see also: lot cells.
For other related/relevant entries see also: Cell types.
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ENTRY LAST MODIFIED: August 2009
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