Growing dendrites and axons differ in their reliance on the secretory pathway

Cell. 2007 Aug 24;130(4):717-29. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2007.06.032.


Little is known about how the distinct architectures of dendrites and axons are established. From a genetic screen, we isolated dendritic arbor reduction (dar) mutants with reduced dendritic arbors but normal axons of Drosophila neurons. We identified dar2, dar3, and dar6 genes as the homologs of Sec23, Sar1, and Rab1 of the secretory pathway. In both Drosophila and rodent neurons, defects in Sar1 expression preferentially affected dendritic growth, revealing evolutionarily conserved difference between dendritic and axonal development in the sensitivity to limiting membrane supply from the secretory pathway. Whereas limiting ER-to-Golgi transport resulted in decreased membrane supply from soma to dendrites, membrane supply to axons remained sustained. We also show that dendritic growth is contributed by Golgi outposts, which are found predominantly in dendrites. The distinct dependence between dendritic and axonal growth on the secretory pathway helps to establish different morphology of dendrites and axons.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Cell Polarity
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dendrites / physiology*
  • Drosophila / embryology*
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila / growth & development*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Exocytosis
  • Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching
  • Golgi Apparatus / physiology
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Mutation
  • Neural Pathways / metabolism*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism
  • Transfection


  • RNA, Small Interfering