, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 219-227

The mechanism of axon growth

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Cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) are not just an inert glue that mediates static cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) adhesion; instead, their adhesivity is dynamically controlled to enable a cell to migrate through complex environmental situations. Furthermore, cell migration requires distinct levels of CAM adhesivity in various subcellular regions. Recent studies on L1, a CAM in the immunoglobulin superfamily, demonstrate that cell adhesion can be spatially regulated by the polarized internalization and recycling of CAMs. This article examines the molecular mechanism of axon growth, with a particular focus on the role of L1 trafficking in the polarized adhesion and migration of neuronal growth cones.