The role of the cytoskeleton during neuronal polarization

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2008 Oct;18(5):479-87. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2008.09.019. Epub 2008 Oct 25.


The formation of an axon and dendrites, neuronal polarization, is a prerequisite for neurons to integrate and propagate information within the brain. During the past years progress has been made toward understanding the initial stage of neuronal polarization, axon formation. First, the physiological role of some candidate regulators of neuronal polarity has been affirmed, including Sad kinases, the Rho-GTPase Cdc42, and the actin regulators Ena/VASP proteins. Second, recent studies have revealed microtubule stabilization as a mechanism complementary to actin dynamics underlying neuronal polarization. Moreover, stable microtubules in the axon may form a landmark to confer identity to the axon. This review highlights the recent advances in understanding the intracellular mechanisms underlying neuronal polarization and discusses them in the context of putative cytoskeletal effectors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism
  • Axons / physiology
  • Cell Polarity / physiology*
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Cytoskeleton / physiology*
  • Dendrites / metabolism
  • Dendrites / physiology
  • Humans
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Microtubules / physiology
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*