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Neuron. 2003 Oct 9;40(2):229-42.

The control of dendrite development.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Physiology, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


Dendrite development is an important and unsolved problem in neuroscience. The nervous system is composed of a vast number of neurons with strikingly different morphology. Neurons are highly polarized cells with distinct subcellular compartments, including one or multiple dendritic processes arising from the cell body, and a single, extended axon. Communications between neurons involve synapses formed between axons of the presynaptic neurons and dendrites of the postsynaptic neurons. Extensive studies over the past decade have identified many molecules underlying axonal outgrowth and pathfinding. In contrast, the control of dendrite development is still much less well understood. However, recent progress has begun to shed light on the molecular mechanisms that orchestrate dendrite growth, arborization, and guidance.

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