Prince of Dendrites?

Science's STKE  27 Aug 2002:
Vol. 2002, Issue 147, pp. tw319-TW319
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2002.147.tw319

Neurons obtain signaling information through their dendrites, which may range in structure from simple thin extensions of the cell body to complex branched outreaches. Studying the ventral pore sensory organs of fruit fly, Moore et al. find that the complexity of the dendritic arbor is regulated by a single gene, hamlet. Genetic manipulations that raised or decreased hamlet protein expression from its normal levels caused the local progenitor cell to produce neurons with single dendrites or with complex dendritic arbors during the early stages of neuronal development. Analyses of the gene sequence and subcellular localization suggest that hamlet might encode a transcription factor.

A. W. Moore, L. Y. Jan, Y. N. Jan, hamlet, a binary genetic switch between single- and multiple-dendrite neuron morphology, Science 297, 1355-1358 (2002). [Abstract] [Full Text]