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Nitric oxide regulates growth cone filopodial dynamics via ryanodine receptor-mediated calcium release


Dr Vincent Rehder, as above.


Nitric oxide (NO) is a gaseous intercellular messenger involved in numerous processes during development, including wiring of the nervous system. Neuronal growth cones are responsible for establishing the correct connectivity in the nervous system, but how NO might affect neuronal pathfinding is not fully understood. We have demonstrated in a previous study that local application of a NO donor, NOC-7, via micropipette onto individual growth cones from Helisoma trivolvis B5 neurons results in an increase in filopodial length, a decrease in filopodial number and an increase in the intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i). Moreover, these NO-induced effects were demonstrated to be mediated via an intracellular cascade involving soluble guanylyl cyclase, protein kinase G (PKG) and cyclic adenosine diphosphate ribose (cADPR). We now demonstrate that the increase in the [Ca2+]i that results from local NO application is mediated via release from ryanodine receptor (RyR)-sensitive intracellular stores. We also show that PKG and RyRs are localized within growth cones and microinjection of cADPR mimics the effects of NO, providing further support that the NO-induced effects are mediated via cADPR. Lastly, we provide evidence that calcium influx across the plasma membrane is a necessary component of the NO-induced calcium increase; however, this calcium influx is secondary to the RyR-induced calcium release from intracellular stores. This study details a signalling pathway by which NO can cause changes in growth cone morphology and thus provides a mechanism by which NO could affect neuronal wiring by acting locally on individual growth cones during the pathfinding process.