Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

Dendritic Precision Strikes

Science Signaling  14 May 2013:
Vol. 6, Issue 275, pp. ec110
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004318

The effects of excitatory synaptic inputs are considered to be highly compartmentalized because of the biophysical properties of dendritic spines. Individual inhibitory synapses, however, are thought to affect dendritic integration in a more extended spatial region. Combining optogenetic stimulation of dendrite-targeting GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid)–mediated interneurons with two-photon calcium imaging in postsynaptic pyramidal cell dendrites, Chiu et al. challenge this latter view. The findings suggest that the effect of an inhibitory synapse can be as compartmentalized as that of an excitatory synapse, provided that the synapses are localized on spine heads.

C. Q. Chiu, G. Lur, T. M. Morse, N. T. Carnevale, G. C. R. Ellis-Davies, M. J. Higley, Compartmentalization of GABAergic inhibition by dendritic spines. Science 340, 759–762 (2013). [Abstract] [Full Text]

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