The role of store-operated calcium entry in neuronal development
The precise connectivity of the human nervous system develops as young developing neurons send out processes, or axons, to connect with their target cells. At the distal tip of extending axons are growth cones, dynamic motile structures, which guide the developing axons. In this process, known as axon guidance the growth cones navigate the embryonic milieu, detecting, interpreting and responding to a multitude of guidance cues. Aberrant axon guidance is thought to be an important causative factor in several neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and mental retardation syndromes. Deciphering the molecular mechanisms that regulate axon guidance will improve our understanding of these disorders. It is also hoped that an improved understanding of axon guidance will advance the cause of neuronal regeneration after injury. Calcium signalling is known to be vital for growth cone navigation. Too much or too little calcium can cause growth cone collapse. However the molecular mechanisms that regulate calcium signalling are unclear.