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J Neurosci. 2005 Dec 7;25(49):11288-99.

Regulation of dendritic morphogenesis by Ras-PI3K-Akt-mTOR and Ras-MAPK signaling pathways.

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Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


Dendritic arborization and spine formation are critical for the functioning of neurons. Although many proteins have been identified recently as regulators of dendritic morphogenesis, the intracellular signaling pathways that control these processes are not well understood. Here we report that the Ras-phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-Akt-mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway plays pivotal roles in the regulation of many aspects of dendrite formation. Whereas the PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway alone controlled soma and dendrite size, a coordinated activation together with the Ras-mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway was required for increasing dendritic complexity. Chronic inhibition of PI3K or mTOR reduced soma and dendrite size and dendritic complexity, as well as density of dendritic filopodia and spines, whereas a short-term inhibition promoted the formation of mushroom-shaped spines on cells expressing constitutively active mutants of Ras, PI3K, or Akt, or treated with the upstream activator BDNF. Together, our data underscore the central role of a spatiotemporally regulated key cell survival and growth pathway on trophic regulation of the coordinated development of dendrite size and shape.

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