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Sci. STKE, 6 February 2007
Vol. 2007, Issue 372, p. pe6
[DOI: 10.1126/stke.3722007pe6]


Neuronal Polarity and the Kinesin Superfamily Proteins

Takao Nakata and Nobutaka Hirokawa*

Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Tokyo, Japan, 113-0033.

Abstract: Neurons are highly polarized cells, typically with a long axon and relatively short dendrites. A wealth of recent data has identified a number of signaling molecules that are involved in neuronal polarization. Kinesin superfamily proteins (KIFs) contribute to the establishment and maintenance of neuronal polarity by selectively transporting various proteins and vesicles to either the axon or dendrites. Now evidence is emerging that KIFs also play an important role in axonal formation, the initial event of neuronal polarization. In particular, KIF13B transports phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5)-trisphosphate, which, based on current hypotheses, is one of the most upstream molecules in the intracellular signaling cascades involved in axonal formation.

*Corresponding author. E-mail, hirokawa{at}

Citation: T. Nakata, N. Hirokawa, Neuronal Polarity and the Kinesin Superfamily Proteins. Sci. STKE 2007, pe6 (2007).

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