Research Topic

Neurobiology of the Axon in Health and Disease

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Ever since Santiago Ramón y Cajal drew his captivating panels of the microscopic structure of the brain with its vast diversity of neuronal morphology over a century ago, scientists have been drawn to this seemingly chaotic network of neurites and processes to uncover how structure relates to function. During ...

Ever since Santiago Ramón y Cajal drew his captivating panels of the microscopic structure of the brain with its vast diversity of neuronal morphology over a century ago, scientists have been drawn to this seemingly chaotic network of neurites and processes to uncover how structure relates to function. During the course of a century, we have moved from merely describing neuronal and glial morphology to furthering our understanding of such intricate processes as organelle and factor transport, cellular compartmentalization, neuronal polarity, cytoskeleton dynamics, neurite pathfinding, and the impact of pathophysiological insults to these structures and events. Yet, much work remains to be done to fully grasp the exceptional role of neurites for the function of larger neuronal ensembles and networks. While the somatodendritic domain of neurons has been in the focus of attention for many years, mostly because of its great dynamic remodeling capacity during events of plasticity (e.g. learning), the axonal domain has somehow remained in the background despite the fact that especially recent comprehensive studies from various fields of research underline the axon’s contribution to dynamic plasticity processes. Consequently, this Research Topic will focus on the many exciting aspects of axonal neurobiology – ranging from membrane composition, pathfinding and molecular determination during development to axonal transport, polarity and domain specialization in health and disease. Our aim is to bring together both leaders in the field as well as younger scientists interested in axonal biology and ask you to contribute to this exciting Research Topic.

To cover the variety of themes outlined above, articles focusing on the following topics are welcome in this Frontiers Research Topic:

I. Axonal development: molecular determination and pathfinding.
II. Axonal function: anterograde and retrograde transport mechanisms in health and disease.
III. Axonal membranes and their domains: assembly, maintenance and function of the axonal membrane, the axon initial segment and node of Ranvier.
IV. Axonal physiology: initiation, propagation and dynamics of action potentials and information processing.
V. Axons and networks: axo-axonic neuromodulation and synaptic integration.
VI. The axon in disease: from developmental phenotypes and neuroinflammation to neurodegeneration and trauma.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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