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N-cadherin specifies first asymmetry in developing neurons

AuthorsGärtner, Annette; Fornasiero, Eugenio F.; Munck, Sebastian; Vennekens Krist; Seuntjens, Eve; Huttner, Wieland B.; Valtorta, Flavia; Dotti, Carlos G.
Cortical development
Neuronal polarity
Cell axis orientation
Issue Date2012
PublisherNature Publishing Group
CitationEMBO Journal 31: 1893- 1903 (2012)
AbstractThe precise polarization and orientation of developing neurons is essential for the correct wiring of the brain. In pyramidal excitatory neurons, polarization begins with the sprouting of opposite neurites, which later define directed migration and axo-dendritic domains. We here show that endogenous N-cadherin concentrates at one pole of the newborn neuron, from where the first neurite subsequently emerges. Ectopic N-cadherin is sufficient to favour the place of appearance of the first neurite. The Golgi and centrosome move towards this newly formed morphological pole in a second step, which is regulated by PI3K and the actin/microtubule cytoskeleton. Moreover, loss of function experiments in vivo showed that developing neurons with a non-functional N-cadherin misorient their cell axis. These results show that polarization of N-cadherin in the immediate post-mitotic stage is an early and crucial mechanism in neuronal polarity. © 2012 European Molecular Biology Organization | All Rights Reserved.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1038/emboj.2012.41
issn: 0261-4189
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