Organization and dynamics of the actin cytoskeleton during dendritic spine morphological remodeling

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2016 Aug;73(16):3053-73. doi: 10.1007/s00018-016-2214-1. Epub 2016 Apr 22.


In the central nervous system, most excitatory post-synapses are small subcellular structures called dendritic spines. Their structure and morphological remodeling are tightly coupled to changes in synaptic transmission. The F-actin cytoskeleton is the main driving force of dendritic spine remodeling and sustains synaptic plasticity. It is therefore essential to understand how changes in synaptic transmission can regulate the organization and dynamics of actin binding proteins (ABPs). In this review, we will provide a detailed description of the organization and dynamics of F-actin and ABPs in dendritic spines and will discuss the current models explaining how the actin cytoskeleton sustains both structural and functional synaptic plasticity.

Keywords: Actin binding proteins; Actin cytoskeleton; CAMKII; Dendritic spines; PSD; Super-resolution microscopy; Synaptic plasticity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Dendritic Spines / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Microfilament Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neuronal Plasticity*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Synapses / physiology


  • Actins
  • Microfilament Proteins