Relocalization of a microtubule-anchoring protein, ninein, from the centrosome to dendrites during differentiation of mouse neurons

Histochem Cell Biol. 2009 Nov;132(5):515-24. doi: 10.1007/s00418-009-0631-z. Epub 2009 Aug 19.


Microtubules in typical cells form radial arrays with their plus-ends pointing toward the cell periphery. In contrast, microtubules in dendrites of neurons are free from centrosomes and have a unique arrangement in which about half have a polarity with a minus-end distal orientation. Mechanisms for generation and maintenance of the microtubule arrangement in dendrites are not well understood. Here, we examined dendritic localization of a centrosomal protein, ninein, which has microtubule-anchoring and stabilizing functions. Immunohistochemical analysis of developing mouse cerebral and cerebellar cortices showed that ninein is localized at the centrosome in undifferentiated neural precursors. In contrast, ninein was barely detected in migrating neurons, such as those in the intermediate layer of the cerebral cortex and the internal granular layer of the cerebellar cortex. High expression was observed in thick dendrite-bearing neurons such as pyramidal neurons of the cerebral cortex and Purkinje neurons in the cerebellar cortex. Ninein was not detected at the centrosome of these cells, but was diffusely present in cell soma and dendrites. In cultured cortical neurons, ninein formed granular structures in soma and dendrites, being not associated with gamma-tubulin. About 60% of these structures showed resistance to detergent and association with microtubules. Our observations suggest that the minus-ends of microtubules may be anchored and stabilized by centrosomal proteins localized in dendrites.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Centrosome / metabolism*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Dendrites / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*


  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Nin protein, mouse
  • Nuclear Proteins