Polarity orientation of microtubules in hippocampal neurons: Uniformity in the axon and nonuniformity in the dendrite

P. W. Baas, J. S. Deitch, M. M. Black, Gary Banker

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We have analyzed the polarity orientation of microtubules in the axons and dendrites of cultured rat hippocampal neurons. As previously reported of axons from other neurons, microtubules in these axons are uniform with respect to polarity; (+)-ends are directed away from the cell body toward the growth cone. In sharp contrast, microtubules in the mid-region of the dendrite, ~75 μm from the cell body, are not of uniform polarity orientation. Roughly equal proportions of these microtubules are oriented with (+)-ends directed toward the growth cone and (+)-ends directed toward the cell body. At distances within 15 μm of the growth cone, however, microtubule polarity orientation in dendrites is similar to that in axons; (+)-ends are uniformly directed toward the growth cone. These findings indicate a clear difference between axons and dendrites with respect to microtubule organization, a difference that may underlie the differential distribution of organelles within the neuron.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8335-8339
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • Genetics

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