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Science 333 (6048): 1458-1462

Copyright © 2011 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Light-Induced Structural and Functional Plasticity in Drosophila Larval Visual System

Quan Yuan, Yang Xiang, Zhiqiang Yan, Chun Han, Lily Yeh Jan, Yuh Nung Jan*

Abstract: How to build and maintain a reliable yet flexible circuit is a fundamental question in neurobiology. The nervous system has the capacity for undergoing modifications to adapt to the changing environment while maintaining its stability through compensatory mechanisms, such as synaptic homeostasis. Here, we describe our findings in the Drosophila larval visual system, where the variation of sensory inputs induced substantial structural plasticity in dendritic arbors of the postsynaptic neuron and concomitant changes to its physiological output. Furthermore, our genetic analyses have identified the cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) pathway and a previously uncharacterized cell surface molecule as critical components in regulating experience-dependent modification of the postsynaptic dendrite morphology in Drosophila.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Physiology and Biochemistry, University of California, San Francisco, 1550 4th Street, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA.

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

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