Branch management: mechanisms of axon branching in the developing vertebrate CNS

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2014 Jan;15(1):7-18. doi: 10.1038/nrn3650.


The remarkable ability of a single axon to extend multiple branches and form terminal arbors enables vertebrate neurons to integrate information from divergent regions of the nervous system. Axons select appropriate pathways during development, but it is the branches that extend interstitially from the axon shaft and arborize at specific targets that are responsible for virtually all of the synaptic connectivity in the vertebrate CNS. How do axons form branches at specific target regions? Recent studies have identified molecular cues that activate intracellular signalling pathways in axons and mediate dynamic reorganization of the cytoskeleton to promote the formation of axon branches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Brain / embryology*
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Humans
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*
  • Vertebrates