Structure and function of myelinated axons

S. A. Buffington, M. N. Rasband

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Myelinated axons are divided into distinct membrane domains that underlie the generation and propagation of electrical impulses. Action potentials are first initiated in the axon initial segment and then regenerated at gaps in the myelin sheath, called nodes of Ranvier. Nodes consist of polarized subdomains characterized by clusters of ion channels, cell adhesion molecules, and cytoskeletal and scaffolding proteins. Nodes are assembled through neuron-glia interactions. Here, we discuss the mechanisms of node assembly and maintenance and explore their functional roles. We also highlight the emergence of nodal proteins as disease targets in nervous system disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPatterning and Cell Type Specification in the Developing CNS and PNS
Subtitle of host publicationComprehensive Developmental Neuroscience, Second Edition
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780128144053
ISBN (Print)9780128144060
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Action potential
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Axoglial interactions
  • Axon
  • Axon initial segment
  • Glia
  • Ion channel
  • Juxtaparanode
  • Myelin
  • Myelination
  • Node of ranvier
  • Paranodal junction
  • Saltatory conduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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