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J Cell Biol. 2013 Nov 11;203(3):385-93. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201306136.

Cell biology in neuroscience: Death of developing neurons: new insights and implications for connectivity.

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  • 1Biozentrum, University of Basel, 4056 Basel, Switzerland.

Abstract

The concept that target tissues determine the survival of neurons has inspired much of the thinking on neuronal development in vertebrates, not least because it is supported by decades of research on nerve growth factor (NGF) in the peripheral nervous system (PNS). Recent discoveries now help to understand why only some developing neurons selectively depend on NGF. They also indicate that the survival of most neurons in the central nervous system (CNS) is not simply regulated by single growth factors like in the PNS. Additionally, components of the cell death machinery have begun to be recognized as regulators of selective axonal degeneration and synaptic function, thus playing a critical role in wiring up the nervous system.

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