guidepost cell

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A differentiated neuron that influences the development of the axons of other neurons so that they connect ultimately with their target cells, thus ensuring that the nervous system is correctly ‘wired’. The guidepost cells have specific signal molecules on their surface, such as nerve-cell adhesion molecules (N-CAMs), which interact with the growth cone at the tip of the developing neuron and direct it along the correct route. In some cases, axons may form temporary connections (synapses) with guidepost cells while they await the formation or maturation of their target cells. When development is completed, the guideposts may die.

Subjects: Biological Sciences.

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