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Biol Cell. 2007 Jun;99(6):333-42.

Recycling endosomes in neuronal membrane traffic.

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Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Department of Membrane Biochemistry, Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin, Berlin, Germany.


Neurons are highly polarized cells with axonal and somatodendritic membrane surfaces that spatially separate signal-sending from signal-receiving membrane domains. As found in many other cell types, different populations of endosomes are involved in the sorting of synaptic and other membrane cargo in neurons. The exact source of the membrane for neurite extension and process remodelling during neuronal differentiation has remained uncertain, and we do not know exactly how polarized sorting of neuronal membrane proteins is achieved. In the present article, we will provide a brief overview of endosomes and their putative or proven functions in fibroblasts, epithelial cells and neurons. On the basis of insights from non-neuronal cell types and recent studies on the function of recycling endosomes during synaptic plasticity-induced membrane remodelling, we postulate a speculative model regarding the role of recycling endosomes in neuronal differentiation.

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