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J Neurobiol. 2004 Jan;58(1):149-59.

Cytoskeletal-associated proteins in the migration of cortical neurons.

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Neurobiology Section, Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA.


Neuronal migration is a hallmark of cerebral cortical development as neurons born deep within the brain migrate to the surface in a highly choreographed process. The cytoskeleton extends throughout the cell, mediating the dramatic morphological changes that accompany migration. On a cellular level, proper migration is accompanied by polarization of the cytoskeleton and cellular contents and by dynamic reorganization that generates the force for cell locomotion. Genetic analyses of human brain malformations, as well as genetically engineered mouse mutants, have highlighted a number of cytoskeletal-associated proteins underlying these functions, which are necessary for proper cortical development. While these proteins are involved in diverse molecular mechanisms, disruption during development results in the ectopic placement of neurons in the cortex. We review key cytoskeletal events and the critical cytoskeletal-associated proteins involved in cortical neuronal migration.

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