Neuronal polarization and the cytoskeleton

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2011 Oct;22(8):825-33. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2011.08.007. Epub 2011 Aug 22.


Neuronal polarization, the formation of one long axon and several short dendrites, is an obligatory process to integrate and propagate information within the brain. Axon formation is the key event during neuronal polarization and is based on tightly regulated rearrangements of the cytoskeleton. Here, we discuss how the cytoskeleton drives neuronal polarization. First, we convey the role of the actin cytoskeleton and microtubules during axon formation. Second, we discuss different cytoskeletal binding and regulating proteins, which are essential to specify the axon. Finally, we outline plus end tracking proteins (+TIPs) as important regulators for neuronal polarization by mediating the interaction between the actin cytoskeleton and microtubules and compare this function to other polarity processes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Polarity*
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Neurons / cytology*