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

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