Groundbreaking research has shed light on the crucial role of growth cones in neuron migration, utilizing various mouse models, including a model supplied by the Mutant Mouse Resource & Research Centers (MMRRC). The dynamic structures of cones, pivotal in navigating the neuronal landscape, demonstrate the intricacies of brain development and repair processes.

Key Insights:

  • Growth Cone Dynamics: Scientists have unveiled that neuronal growth cones—key navigational structures at the neuron's forefront—mirror axonal growth cones in functionality and responsiveness, driven by complex cytoskeletal dynamics.
  • PTPσ as a Molecular Beacon: Central to the growth cones' navigation capabilities is the Protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor type sigma (PTPσ), which mediates their interaction with environmental cues such as chondroitin sulfate (CS), often leading to migration halts.
  • Overcoming Environmental Barriers: The study highlights a fascinating mechanism where growth cones, upon encountering heparan sulfate (HS), can overcome the inhibitory effects of CS, thereby reactivating neuron migration. This showcases the delicate molecular balance navigated by neurons.
  • Enhancing Brain Recovery with HS: Utilizing insights from MMRRC mice, researchers have developed HS-containing biomaterials to promote neuron migration and regeneration in injured brain regions, opening new pathways for therapeutic interventions and functional recovery.


The use of MMRRC mice in this study has been instrumental in advancing the understanding of neuronal growth cones and their role in brain development and repair. By exploring the sophisticated mechanisms of neuron migration, this research paves the way for innovative treatments to enhance brain healing and functional recovery, marking a significant milestone in neuroscience.

Publication: Identification of the growth cone as a probe and driver of neuronal migration in the injured brain

Mouse Model Used: STOCK Tg(Dcx-EGFP)BJ224Gsat/Mmmh

NIH-Funded Study at UT Austin Opens New Doors for Neuropathic Pain Treatment with MMRRC Models.

In a significant development, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), have identified a promising new approach to treating neuropathic pain. Highlighted by the NIH's new director, Dr. Monica M. Bertagnolli, the study utilized mice from the Mutant Mouse Resource & Research Centers (MMRRC) and the Knockout Mouse Program (KOMP) to explore innovative treatment methods.

The research focused on a specific molecule capable of binding to a protein closely involved in the mechanisms of neuropathic pain, a condition that affects millions worldwide. This binding has been shown to reduce the hypersensitivity to pain caused by nerve damage, offering a beacon of hope for those suffering from this chronic condition.

Dr. Bertagnolli emphasized the importance of this discovery, noting the critical role of NIH-funded research in advancing medical science and improving patient outcomes. The use of MMRRC mice was pivotal, demonstrating the value of these resources in facilitating high-quality research.

This breakthrough represents a vital step in developing more effective treatments for neuropathic pain, underscoring the significance of collaboration and investment in scientific research.

NIH Director Announcement:

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Welcome to the Mutant Mouse Resource & Research Centers (MMRRC) Website

The MMRRC is the nation’s premier national public repository system for mutant mice. Funded by the NIH continuously since 1999, the MMRRC archives and distributes scientifically valuable spontaneous and induced mutant mouse strains and ES cell lines for use by the biomedical research community. The MMRRC consists of a national network of breeding and distribution repositories and an Informatics Coordination and Service Center located at 4 major academic centers across the nation. The MMRRC is committed to upholding the highest standards of experimental design and quality control to optimize the reproducibility of research studies using mutant mice. The MMRRC is supported by the Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP) in the Office of the Director at NIH. More than 60,000 mutant alleles are maintained as live mice, cryopreserved germplasm, and/or mutant ES cells. Live mice are supplied from a production colony, from a colony recovered from cryopreservation, or via micro-injection of ES cells. An MMRRC facility may offer cryopreserved material for resuscitation at the recipient scientist's institution.