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Calcium signaling in neuronal motility.

ABSTRACT

Neuronal motility is a fundamental feature that underlies the development, regeneration, and plasticity of the nervous system. Two major developmental events--directed migration of neuronal precursor cells to the proper positions and guided elongation of axons to their target cells--depend on large-scale neuronal motility. At a finer scale, motility is also manifested in many aspects of neuronal structures and functions, ranging from differentiation and refinement of axonal and dendritic morphology during development to synapse remodeling associated with learning and memory in the adult brain. As a primary second messenger that conveys the cytoplasmic actions of electrical activity and many neuroactive ligands, Ca(2+) plays a central role in the regulation of neuronal motility. Recent studies have revealed common Ca(2+)-dependent signaling pathways that are deployed for regulating cytoskeletal dynamics associated with neuronal migration, axon and dendrite development and regeneration, and synaptic plasticity.