Neurons are highly polarized cells, most of which develop a single axon and several dendrites. These two compartments acquire specific characteristics that enable neurons to transmit intercellular signals from several dendrites to an axon. A wealth of recent studies has shown that PI 3-kinase, Rho family GTPases, the Par complex, and cytoskeleton-related proteins participate in the initial events of neuronal polarization. Here, we review the role of polarity-regulating molecules and the potential mechanisms underlying the specification of an axon and dendrites.
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