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Science 301 (5629): 66-70

Copyright © 2003 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Control of Axon Branch Dynamics by Correlated Activity in Vivo

Edward S. Ruthazer, Colin J. Akerman, Hollis T. Cline*

Abstract: To determine how patterned visual activity regulates the development of axonal projections, we collected in vivo time-lapse images of retinal axons from albino Xenopus tadpoles in which binocular innervation of the optic tectum was induced. Axons added branch tips with nearly equal probability in all territories, but eliminated them preferentially from territory dominated by the opposite eye. This selective branch elimination was abolished by blockade of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors. These results describe a correlation-based mechanism by which visual experience directly governs axon branch dynamics that contribute to the development of topographic maps.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, One Bungtown Road, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: cline{at}

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