The physiogy of the axon initial segment

Kevin J. Bender, Laurence O. Trussell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


The action potential generally begins in the axon initial segment (AIS), a principle confirmed by 60 years of research; however, the most recent advances have shown that a very rich biology underlies this simple observation. The AIS has a remarkably complex molecular composition, with a wide variety of ion channels and attendant mechanisms for channel localization, and may feature membrane domains each with distinct roles in excitation. Its function may be regulated in the short term through the action of neurotransmitters, in the long term through activity-andCa2+-dependent processes. Thus, the AIS is not merely the beginning of the axon, but rather a key site in the control of neuronal excitability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-265
Number of pages17
JournalAnnual Review of Neuroscience
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • action potential
  • ion channel
  • neuromodulation
  • structural plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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