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The Yin–Yang of Dendrite Morphology: Unity of Actin and Microtubules

Authors
  • Georges, Penelope C.1
  • Hadzimichalis, Norell M.1
  • Sweet, Eric S.1, 2
  • Firestein, Bonnie L.1
  • 1 The State University of New Jersey, Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Rutgers, 604 Allison Road, Piscataway, NJ, 08854-8082, USA , Piscataway (United States)
  • 2 The State University of New Jersey, Departments of Neuroscience Graduate Program, Rutgers, University, 604 Allison Road, Piscataway, NJ, 08854-8082, USA , Piscataway (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Molecular Neurobiology
Publisher
Humana Press Inc
Publication Date
Nov 06, 2008
Volume
38
Issue
3
Pages
270–284
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s12035-008-8046-8
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

Actin and microtubules (MT) are targets of numerous molecular pathways that control neurite outgrowth. To generate a neuronal protrusion, coordinated structural changes of the actin and MT cytoskeletons must occur. Neurite formation occurs when actin filaments (F-actin) are destabilized, filopodia are extended, and MTs invade filopodia. This process results in either axon or dendrite formation. Axonal branching involves interplay between F-actin and MTs, with F-actin and MTs influencing polymerization, stabilization, and maintenance of each other. Our knowledge of the mechanisms regulating development of the axon, however, far eclipses our understanding of dendritic development and branching. The two classes of neurites, while fundamentally similar in their ability to elongate and branch, dramatically differ in growth rate, orientation of polarized MT bundles, and mechanisms that initiate branching. In this review, we focus on how F-actin, MTs, and proteins that link the two cytoskeletons coordinate to specifically initiate dendritic events.

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