Histochemistry and Cell Biology

, Volume 127, Issue 4, pp 355–361 | Cite as

Many faces of drebrin: from building dendritic spines and stabilizing gap junctions to shaping neurite-like cell processes



In this review we consider the multiple functions of developmentally regulated brain protein (drebrin), an actin-binding protein, in the formation of cellular polarity in different cell types. Drebrin has a well-established role in the morphogenesis, patterning and maintenance of dendritic spines in neurons. We have recently shown that drebrin also stabilizes Connexin-43 containing gap junctions at the plasma membrane. The latest literature and our own data suggest that drebrin may be broadly involved in shaping cell processes and in the formation of stabilized plasma membrane domains, an effect that is likely to be of crucial significance for formation of cell polarity in both neuronal and non-neuronal types.


Drebrin Actin binding proteins Dendritic spines Gap junctions Cell morphogenesis Neuronal cell polarity 



The authors are grateful to Drs. Eugenia Butkevich and Piotr Bregestovski for critical reading of early versions of this manuscript. We thank Dr. Robin Battye (Quorum Technologies; http://www.quorumtechnologies.com/) for his invaluable help with long-time imaging of cells expressing drebrin, at the “3D Microscopy of Living Cells” course held in 2006 at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada (http://www.3dcourse.ubc.ca/index.htm). This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust (Senior Fellowship to R.D.; grant number 047578).

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesRoyal Holloway, University of LondonEghamUK
  2. 2.Department of Neurobiology and BehaviorGunma University Graduate School of MedicineMaebashiJapan
  3. 3.Division of Neuronal Network, Institute of Medical ScienceUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan

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