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Mind the gap: molecular architecture of the axon initial segment – from fold prediction to a mechanistic model of function?

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The axon initial segment (AIS) is a distinct neuronal domain, which is responsible for initiating action potentials, and therefore of key importance to neuronal signaling. To determine how it functions, it is necessary to establish which proteins reside there, how they are organized, and what the dynamic features are. Great strides have been made in recent years, and it is now clear that several AIS cytoskeletal and membrane proteins interact to form a higher-order periodic structure. Here we briefly describe AIS function, protein composition and molecular architecture, and discuss perspectives for future structural characterization, and if structure predictions will be able to model complex higher-order assemblies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number167176
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

    Research areas

  • action potentials, ankyrin-spectrin, axon initial segment (AIS), membrane ultrastructure, voltage-gated ion channels

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