Firing and Wiring

Science's STKE  08 Jul 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 190, pp. tw264-TW264
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.190.tw264

Molecular cues guide the general direction of axon travel between brain areas, but correlated activity likely refines the final connections. To test whether neurons that "fire together, wire together," Ruthazer et al. redirected axons growing from the frog eye so that both eyes would innervate the same optic tectum. In this competitive situation, eye-specific regions were set up in the tectum. Thus, higher correlation among same-eye axons led to connections being formed in adjacent territory. Axons in regions dominated by opposite-eye innervation showed a higher rate of elimination of new branches. A computer simulation reproduced the generation of eye-specific territories resulting from these differing addition and elimination rates.

E. S. Ruthazer, C. J. Akerman, H. T. Cline, Control of axon branch dynamics by correlated activity in vivo. Science 301, 66-70 (2003). [Abstract] [Full Text]