The Differentiation of Membrane Properties of Spinal Neurons

  • Nicholas C. Spitzer


Studies of neural induction involve assessments of neuronal differentiation following experimental manipulations. These studies have in the past relied principally on neuroanatomical descriptions of neurite outgrowth, which assess an important neuronal phenotype. In recent years, it has become possible to analyze the differentiation of key cytoplasmic specializations of neurons, such as their neurotransmitter synthetic capacity, as well as the differentiation of their characteristic membrane properties. Some of the recent progress in understanding the development of neuronal-membrane properties will be reviewed. These assays are likely to be useful in studies of neural induction for several reasons: (1) The increasing ease of application of the techniques involved invites their general use. (2) Acquisition of neuronal membrane properties occurs very early in normal embryonic development, recommending them for rapid evaluation of neuronal induction. (3) As Fig. 1 illustrates, different neurons exhibit different constellations of properties that appear in particular sequences (Spitzer and Lamborghini, 1981). A broader characterization of neuronal development affords the opportunity to distinguish the induction of different neuronal types.


Xenopus Laevis Membrane Property Spinal Neuron Neural Induction Electrical Excitability 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas C. Spitzer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaSan Diego, La JollaUSA

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