Neuronal migration is a pivotal step for architectural and functional brain development. Migrating neurons exhibit various morphological changes, based on cytoskeletal organization. In addition to many genetic studies revealing the involvement of several cytoskeletal and signaling molecules in cortical neuronal migration (e.g. doublecortin, Lis1, Filamin A, cyclin-dependent kinase 5, Reelin and Dab1), cell biological studies and recently developed techniques, including in utero electroporation, have uncovered detailed functions of these molecules as well as novel molecules, such as Rho family GTPases, focal adhesion kinase, c-jun N-terminal kinase and p27kip1. In this review, we introduce the molecular pathways underlying cortical neuronal migration and morphological changes, with particular focus on recent findings for the regulatory mechanisms of actin cytoskeleton and microtubules.
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