The contacts a growing neuron's axon makes with its synaptic targets are believed to inhibit further growth at the axon tip. Inhibition of axon growth has been difficult to examine in vivo, where studies have focused on populations of neurons with multiple targets, making the influence of a single target difficult to determine. Results of a direct test of the influence of synapse formation on axon growth are presented for the axon of the S interneuron in the leech, which has a single synaptic target that can decidedly inhibit growth at the axon's tip during regeneration in adults. Surprisingly, in embryos, after synapsing with its target, each S cell axon grew for several days, including growth at its tip, nearly doubling its length. Therefore, synaptic contact with the target does not stop further growth at the axon's tip.
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