The polarity protein PAR-3 and TIAM1 cooperate in dendritic spine morphogenesis

Huaye Zhang, Ian G. Macara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Scopus citations


PAR-3 (partitioning-defective gene 3) is essential for cell polarization in many contexts, including axon specification. However, polarity proteins have not been implicated in later steps of neuronal differentiation, such as dendritic spine morphogenesis. Here, we show that PAR-3 is necessary for normal spine development in primary hippocampal neurons. Depletion of PAR-3 causes the formation of multiple filopodia- and lamellipodia-like dendritic protrusions - A phenotype similar to neurons expressing activated Rac. PAR-3 regulates spine formation by binding the Rac guanine nucleotide-exchange factor (GEF) TIAM1, and spatially restricting it to dendritic spines. Thus, a balance of PAR-3 and TIAM1 is essential to modulate Rac -GTP levels and to allow spine morphogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-237
Number of pages11
JournalNature cell biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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