A simulation of growth cone filopodia dynamics based on Turing morphogenesis patterns
Hely, T. A., Van Ooyen, A., and Willshaw, D. J. (1997). In: Paton, R. C., and Holcombe, M., eds. Information Processing in Cells and Tissues, International Workshop on Information Processing in Cells and Tissues, September 1997. New York: Plenum. [Full text: PDF]
The neuronal growth cone is a dynamic, “shape changing” structure which guides the developing neurite to a distant target. The growth cone membrane is constantly creating filopodia, long, thin structures which grow and shrink into the extra–cellular space. The exact causes of filopodial excursions are unknown. However, experimental work by Davenport (1992) linked filopodial outgrowth to the local concentration of calcium, which Hentschel (1994) proposed as a morphogen regulating neuronal dendrite growth. We suggest that calcium acts as a morphogen to directly regulate the pattern of filopodial outgrowth and subsequent retraction. Turing (1952) developed a mathematical basis for “morphogenesis”, the process underlying the development of the shape of an organism. This provides an appropriate framework for modelling the neuronal growth cone.