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Cell Signal. 2009 Mar;21(3):384-93. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2008.11.001. Epub 2008 Nov 12.

PAK signalling in neuronal physiology.

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CNRS, Institut de Neurobiologie Alfred Fessard-FRC2118, Laboratoire de Neurobiologie Cellulaire et Mol├ęculaire-UPR9040, Gif sur Yvette, France.


Group I p21-activated kinases are a family of key effectors of Rac1 and Cdc42 and they regulate many aspects of cellular function, such as cytoskeleton dynamics, cell movement and cell migration, cell proliferation and differentiation, and gene expression. The three genes PAK1/2/3 are expressed in brain and recent evidence indicates their crucial roles in neuronal cell fate, in axonal guidance and neuronal polarisation, and in neuronal migration. Moreover they are implicated in neurodegenerative diseases and play an important role in synaptic plasticity, with PAK3 being specifically involved in mental retardation. The main goal of this review is to describe the molecular mechanisms that govern the different functions of group I PAK in neuronal signalling and to discuss the specific functions of each isoform.

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