In this review article we discuss the common mechanism for cellular process formation. Besides the podocyte, the mechanism of process formation, including cytoskeletal organization and signal transduction, etc., has been studied using neurons and glias as model systems. There has been an accumulation of data showing common cell biological features of the podocyte and the neuron: 1) Both cells possess long and short cell processes equipped with highly organized cytoskeletal systems; 2) Both show cytoskeletal segregation; microtubules (MTs) and intermediate filaments (IFs) in podocyte primary processes and in neurites, while actin filaments (AFs) are abundant in podocyte foot processes in neuronal synaptic regions; 3) In both cells, process formation is mechanically dependent on MTs, whose assembly is regulated by various microtubule- associated proteins (MAPs); 4) In both cells, process formation is positively regulated by PP2A, a Ser/Thr protein phosphatase; 5) In both cells, process formation is accelerated by laminin, an extracellular matrix protein. In addition, recent data from our and other laboratories have shown that podocyte processes share many features with neuronal dendrites: 1) Podocyte processes and neuronal dendrites possess MTs with mixed polarity, namely, plus-end-distal and minus-end-distal MTs coexist in these processes; 2) To establish the mixed polarity of MTs, both express CHO1/MKLP1, a kinesin-related motor protein, and when its expression is inhibited formation of both podocyte processes and neuronal dendrites is abolished; 3) The elongation of both podocyte processes and neuronal dendrites is supported by rab8-regulated basolateral-type membrane transport; 4) Both podocyte processes and neuronal dendrites express synaptopodin, an actin-associated protein, in a development-dependent manner; interestingly, in both cells, synaptopodin is localized not in the main shaft of processes but in thin short projections from the main shaft. We propose that the podocyte process and the neuronal dendrite share many features, while the neuronal axon should be thought of as an exceptionally differentiated cellular process. Microsc. Res. Tech. 57:217–223, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.