Two research groups in Asia have identified an enzyme that governs whether a neural projection becomes an axon or a dendrite and several of its upstream and downstream targets. Their findings on the function glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) were reported in the January 14 issue of
In the first paper, scientists from the Shanghai Institutes of Biological Sciences and the National Institute of Biological Sciences in Beijing, led by Yi Rao, reported that GSK-3β activity is inversely related to axon growth.
Rao, now the associate director of Northwestern University's Institute for Neuroscience, Chicago, told
To test the enzyme's role in establishing neural polarity, the researchers created constitutively active...