The axon initial segment (AIS) is a unique domain of the proximal axon serving critical electrical and structural roles including the initiation of action potentials and maintenance of cellular polarity. Recent experimental and theoretical advances demonstrate that the anatomical site for initiation is remarkably diverse. The AIS location varies not only axially, along the axon, but axons also emerge variably from either the soma or proximal dendrites. Here, we review the evidence that the diversity of AIS and axon location has a substantial impact on the electrical properties and speculate that the anatomical heterogeneity of axon locations expands synaptic integration within cell types and improves information processing in neural circuits.
- Journal Article