Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

Neuronal Activity and Dendrite Development

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Science Signaling  03 Dec 2013:
Vol. 6, Issue 304, pp. ec295
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004960

How does the developing brain establish the correct connections? Matsui et al. discovered an activity-dependent transcription mechanism during mouse and ferret visual cortex development that controls the direction of dendrite orientation, allowing dendrites to steer toward active axons and away from inactive axons. This mechanism enables the construction of polarized neuronal shapes for integration into neural circuits with the required fine-scale architecture to process subtle activity patterns, a property underlying complex behavior.

A. Matsui, M. Tran, A. C. Yoshida, S. S. Kikuchi, M. U, M. Ogawa, T. Shimogori, BTBD3 controls dendrite orientation toward active axons in mammalian neocortex. Science 342, 1114–1118 (2013). [Abstract][Full Text]