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Science 335 (6066): 353-356

Copyright © 2012 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Locally Synchronized Synaptic Inputs

Naoya Takahashi,1 Kazuo Kitamura,2,3 Naoki Matsuo,3,4 Mark Mayford,5 Masanobu Kano,2 Norio Matsuki,1 Yuji Ikegaya1,3,*

Abstract: Synaptic inputs on dendrites are nonlinearly converted to action potential outputs, yet the spatiotemporal patterns of dendritic activation remain to be elucidated at single-synapse resolution. In rodents, we optically imaged synaptic activities from hundreds of dendritic spines in hippocampal and neocortical pyramidal neurons ex vivo and in vivo. Adjacent spines were frequently synchronized in spontaneously active networks, thereby forming dendritic foci that received locally convergent inputs from presynaptic cell assemblies. This precise subcellular geometry manifested itself during N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor–dependent circuit remodeling. Thus, clustered synaptic plasticity is innately programmed to compartmentalize correlated inputs along dendrites and may reify nonlinear synaptic integration.

1 Laboratory of Chemical Pharmacology, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan.
2 Department of Neurophysiology, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan.
3 Precursory Research for Embryonic Science and Technology, Japan Science and Technology Agency, Kawaguchi, Saitama, Japan.
4 The HAKUBI Center, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan.
5 Department of Cell Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA.

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

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