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Pathway Formation
A major focus for us is the study of how neuronal growth cones navigate in a complex and changing embryonic environment. What cues do they respond to, what do they grow upon, toward, away from? Here you see the initial branching and extension of HE motor neuron (yellow) growth cones as they leave the nerve containing other axons (red) and select body wall pathways. Eventually these early branches will be lost once the growth cones encounter the heart muscle.
How do growth cones extend? What features of this dynamic process involve intrinsic mechanisms and to what extent does it involve interactions with each other and the environment in which they navigate. To the left are the growing tips of an embryonic cell known as the C-cell. This cell establishes a pattern for a defined muscle layer in the body wall.
What molecules are expressed differentially by subsets of neurons and how do molecular interactions guide growth cones and establish pathways? For this we mostly examine peripheral neurons as they extend processes into the CNS. We have begun to characterize some of the adhesion molecules involved and their modifications. These studies are all carried out in collaboration with

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This page is maintained by John Jellies,
Department of Biological Sciences
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008