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Microsc Res Tech. 2000 Jan 1;48(1):3-11.

Changes in membrane trafficking and actin dynamics during axon formation in cultured hippocampal neurons.

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  • 1Cell Biology Programme, EMBL, 69012 Heidelberg, Germany.


Neurons begin to polarize when one of the neurites becomes the axon. Hippocampal neurons in cell culture have a sharp transition between their unpolarized and polarized stage revealed by the rapid growth of the future axon. Recent progress shows that both a cytoplasmic membrane flow and actin dynamics govern axon formation, and thereby initial neuronal polarization. We here review these mechanisms, evaluate their physiological role, and show similarities to the transient polarization of migrating fibroblasts. Finally, we present a model how actin dynamics and vectorial membrane flow may interact to achieve axon formation.

Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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