Centrosome-mediated microtubule remodeling during axon formation in human iPSC-derived neurons

EMBO J. 2021 May 17;40(10):e106798. doi: 10.15252/embj.2020106798. Epub 2021 Apr 9.


Axon formation critically relies on local microtubule remodeling and marks the first step in establishing neuronal polarity. However, the function of the microtubule-organizing centrosomes during the onset of axon formation is still under debate. Here, we demonstrate that centrosomes play an essential role in controlling axon formation in human-induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neurons. Depleting centrioles, the core components of centrosomes, in unpolarized human neuronal stem cells results in various axon developmental defects at later stages, including immature action potential firing, mislocalization of axonal microtubule-associated Trim46 proteins, suppressed expression of growth cone proteins, and affected growth cone morphologies. Live-cell imaging of microtubules reveals that centriole loss impairs axonal microtubule reorganization toward the unique parallel plus-end out microtubule bundles during early development. We propose that centrosomes mediate microtubule remodeling during early axon development in human iPSC-derived neurons, thereby laying the foundation for further axon development and function.

Keywords: axon; centrosome; development; hiPSC-derived neuron; human.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Axons / metabolism*
  • Centrosome / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Microtubules / metabolism*
  • Neurons / metabolism