GTPases and the control of neuronal polarity

Methods Enzymol. 2006;406:715-27. doi: 10.1016/S0076-6879(06)06056-3.


Neurons are probably the most highly polarized cell type and typically develop a single axon and several dendrites. The establishment of a polarized morphology and the functional specialization of axonal and dendritic compartments are essential steps in the differentiation of neurons. Primary cultures of dissociated hippocampal neurons are a widely used system to study the development of neuronal differentiation. In this article, we will describe gain-of-function and loss-of-function approaches that allow us to analyze the role of GTPases in neuronal differentiation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Polarity / drug effects
  • Cell Polarity / physiology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases / genetics
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • RNA Interference
  • Rats
  • Transfection
  • cdc42 GTP-Binding Protein / metabolism


  • GTP Phosphohydrolases
  • cdc42 GTP-Binding Protein