DOI: 10.1101/511840Jan 4, 2019Paper

Abl signaling shapes the intrinsic fluctuations of actin to direct growth of a pioneer axon in Drosophila

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Akanni ClarkeEdward Giniger


The fundamental problem in axon growth and guidance is to understand how cytoplasmic signaling modulates the cytoskeleton to produce directed growth cone motility. We show here that the TSM1 pioneer axon of Drosophila extends by using Abl tyrosine kinase to shape the intrinsic fluctuations of a mass of accumulated actin in the distal axon. The actin mass fluctuates stochastically in length, but with a small, forward bias that drives the axon along its trajectory by promoting emergence of protrusions in leading intervals where actin accumulates, and collapse of protrusions in lagging intervals that actin has vacated. The actin mass is sculpted by Abl signaling, which probabilistically modulates its key parameters - its width and internal disorder - to drive its advance, while maintaining internal coherence. Comparison of TSM1 to other systems suggests that the mechanism we demonstrate here is apt to be common among pioneer axons in many organisms.

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