Review

Neuroscience Bulletin

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 557-568

First online:

Regulatory mechanisms underlying the differential growth of dendrites and axons

  • Xin WangAffiliated withLife Sciences Institute and Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan
  • , Gabriella R. SterneAffiliated withLife Sciences Institute and Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan
  • , Bing YeAffiliated withLife Sciences Institute and Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan Email author 

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Abstract

A typical neuron is comprised of an information input compartment, or the dendrites, and an output compartment, known as the axon. These two compartments are the structural basis for functional neural circuits. However, little is known about how dendritic and axonal growth are differentially regulated. Recent studies have uncovered two distinct types of regulatory mechanisms that differentiate dendritic and axonal growth: dedicated mechanisms and bimodal mechanisms. Dedicated mechanisms regulate either dendritespecific or axon-specific growth; in contrast, bimodal mechanisms direct dendritic and axonal development in opposite manners. Here, we review the dedicated and bimodal regulators identified by recent Drosophila and mammalian studies. The knowledge of these underlying molecular mechanisms not only expands our understanding about how neural circuits are wired, but also provides insights that will aid in the rational design of therapies for neurological diseases.

Keywords

axonal growth dendritic arborizations developmental neurobiology