October Newsletter: Microtubules and Polarity in Neurons

Neuronal polarity describes the spatial, morphological, structural, and functional differentiations that occur in neurons during early development that results in the formation of a single axon and multiple dendrites. Axons and dendrites are responsible for directional signaling in neurons - receiving, processing, and transmitting information from the postsynaptic dendrites to the axon of the postsynaptic neuron. The majority of excitatory inputs at the dendrites occur at dendritic spines. Polarization of the neuron begins with the loss of the symmetric shape of a round newborn neuron via formation of minor neurites1-4. Neuronal polarization depends upon: 1. the polarity of microtubules (MTs), one of the primary cytoskeletal polymers in cells, and 2. polarized cargo transport by kinesins and dynein along the MTs in axons and dendrites4,5.

MTs are intrinsically polar filaments composed of alpha/beta-tubulin heterodimers with an exposed beta-tubulin at the plus end and an exposed alpha-tubulin at the minus end5-7. MT polarity directs: 1. location of MT assembly/disassembly; 2. where MT-associated proteins (MAPs; e.g., +TIPs, motors) bind MTs in the cell; and 3. motor-driven traffic along MTs. Importantly, MTs are integral for nearly all normal neuronal functions and MT disruption underlies several neural pathologies7-10...

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 Also included in this newsletter:

  • Signal-Seeker™ PTM Kits and Antibodies, Tubulin Kits and Reagents, Kinesin Reagents, ATPase/GTPase Kits
  • Related Publications