Myelinated axons are patterned into discrete and often-repeating domains responsible for the efficient and rapid transmission of electrical signals. These domains include nodes of Ranvier and axon initial segments. Disruption of axonal patterning leads to nervous system dysfunction. In this review, we introduce the concept of subcellular patterning as applied to axons and discuss how these patterning events depend on both intrinsic, cytoskeletal mechanisms and extrinsic, myelinating glia-dependent mechanisms.
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