Finding the Right Place

  • Published10 Jul 2018
  • Reviewed10 Jul 2018
  • Author Michael W. Richardson
  • Source BrainFacts/SfN

Image of the protein actin
Biswas, et al. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2017.

The brain is complex: made up of around 86 billion neurons, around the same amount of glia cells, and trillions of connections between them. How does this come to be? This difficult wiring job is made possible thanks to growth cones, pictured above. Growth cones are an extension of a new neuron, which helps it find its proper place in the brain. Structures formed of the protein actin (pictured here in purple) form at the ends of these growth cones. The new neuron’s microtubules, seen here in cyan, extend out through the paths forged by these actin filaments, inching their way forward; eventually, they’ll find their proper place in the brain, and connect to the proper circuits.

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