Neurons are highly polarized cells that have structurally and functionally distinct processes called axons and dendrites. How neurons establish polarity is one of the fundamental questions of neuroscience. In the last decade, significant progress has been made in identifying and understanding the molecular mechanisms responsible for neuronal polarization, primarily through researches conducted on cultured neurons. Advances in phosphoproteomics technologies and molecular tools have enabled comprehensive signal analysis and visualization and manipulation of signaling molecules for analyzing neuronal polarity. Furthermore, advances in gene transfer techniques have revealed the role of extracellular and intracellular signaling molecules in neuronal polarization in vivo. This review discusses the latest insights and techniques for the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms that control neuronal polarity.
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