During development, neurons extend axons along defined routes to specific target cells. We show that additional mechanisms ensure that axons maintain their correct positioning in defined axonal tracts. After termination of axonal outgrowth and target recognition, axons in the ventral nerve cord (VNC) of Caenorhabditis elegans require the presence of a specific VNC neuron, PVT, to maintain their correct positioning in the left and right fascicles of the VNC. PVT may exert its stabilizing function by the temporally tightly controlled secretion of 2-immunoglobulin (Ig)-domain proteins encoded by the zig genes. Dedicated axon maintenance mechanisms may be widely used to ensure the preservation of functional neuronal circuitries.
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