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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Journey to the skin: Somatosensory peripheral axon guidance and morphogenesis.

  • Author(s): Wang, Fang
  • Julien, Donald P
  • Sagasti, Alvaro
  • et al.

Published Web Location

The peripheral axons of vertebrate tactile somatosensory neurons travel long distances from ganglia just outside the central nervous system to the skin. Once in the skin these axons form elaborate terminals whose organization must be regionally patterned to detect and accurately localize different kinds of touch stimuli. This review describes key studies that identified choice points for somatosensory axon growth cones and the extrinsic molecular cues that function at each of those steps. While much has been learned in the past 20 years about the guidance of these axons, there is still much to be learned about how the peripheral axons of different kinds of somatosensory neurons adopt different trajectories and form specific terminal structures.

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