Neuronal polarity in Drosophila: sorting out axons and dendrites

Dev Neurobiol. 2011 Jun;71(6):419-29. doi: 10.1002/dneu.20836.


Drosophila neurons have identifiable axons and dendrites based on cell shape, but it is only just starting to become clear how Drosophila neurons are polarized at the molecular level. Dendrite-specific components including the Golgi complex, GABA receptors, neurotransmitter receptor scaffolding proteins, and cell adhesion molecules have been described. Proteins involved in constructing presynaptic specializations are concentrated in axons of some neurons. A very simple model for how these components are distributed to axons and dendrites can be constructed based on the opposite polarity of microtubules in axons and dendrites: dynein carries cargo into dendrites, and kinesins carry cargo into axons. The simple model works well for multipolar neurons, but will likely need refinement for unipolar neurons, which are common in Drosophila.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism*
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Cell Polarity / physiology*
  • Dendrites / metabolism*
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Drosophila / cytology
  • Drosophila / metabolism*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neurons / ultrastructure