Short Lives with Long-Lasting Effects: Filopodia Protrusions in Neuronal Branching Morphogenesis

PLoS Biol. 2015 Sep 3;13(9):e1002241. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002241. eCollection 2015.


The branching behaviors of both dendrites and axons are part of a neuronal maturation process initiated by the generation of small and transient membrane protrusions. These are highly dynamic, actin-enriched structures, collectively called filopodia, which can mature in neurons to form stable branches. Consequently, the generation of filopodia protrusions is crucial during the formation of neuronal circuits and involves the precise control of an interplay between the plasma membrane and actin dynamics. In this issue of PLOS Biology, Hou and colleagues identify a Ca2+/CaM-dependent molecular machinery in dendrites that ensures proper targeting of branch formation by activation of the actin nucleator Cobl.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Dendrites / physiology*
  • Morphogenesis
  • Pseudopodia / physiology*


  • Actins