Establishment of axon-dendrite polarity in developing neurons

Anthony P. Barnes, Franck Polleux

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

379 Scopus citations


Neurons are among the most highly polarized cell types in the body, and the polarization of axon and dendrites underlies the ability of neurons to integrate and transmit information in the brain. Significant progress has been made in the identification of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the establishment of neuronal polarity using primarily in vitro approaches such as dissociated culture of rodent hippocampal and cortical neurons. This model has led to the predominant view suggesting that neuronal polarization is specified largely by stochastic, asymmetric activation of intracellular signaling pathways. Recent evidence shows that extracellular cues can play an instructive role during neuronal polarization in vitro and in vivo. In this review, we synthesize the recent data supporting an integrative model whereby extracellular cues orchestrate the intracellular signaling underlying the initial break of neuronal symmetry leading to axon-dendrite polarization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAnnual Review of Neuroscience
Number of pages35
StatePublished - Jun 2009

Publication series

NameAnnual Review of Neuroscience
ISSN (Print)0147-006X
ISSN (Electronic)1545-4126


  • Cortex
  • LKB1
  • Neuronal migration
  • Par complex
  • Signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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