Microtubule minus ends are thought to be stable in cells. Surprisingly, in Drosophila and zebrafish neurons, we observed persistent minus end growth, with runs lasting over 10 min. In Drosophila, extended minus end growth depended on Patronin, and Patronin reduction disrupted dendritic minus-end-out polarity. In fly dendrites, microtubule nucleation sites localize at dendrite branch points. Therefore, we hypothesized minus end growth might be particularly important beyond branch points. Distal dendrites have mixed polarity, and reduction of Patronin lowered the number of minus-end-out microtubules. More strikingly, extra Patronin made terminal dendrites almost completely minus-end-out, indicating low Patronin normally limits minus-end-out microtubules. To determine whether minus end growth populated new dendrites with microtubules, we analyzed dendrite development and regeneration. Minus ends extended into growing dendrites in the presence of Patronin. In sum, our data suggest that Patronin facilitates sustained microtubule minus end growth, which is critical for populating dendrites with minus-end-out microtubules.

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