Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

Reaching for Light

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Science Signaling  13 Sep 2011:
Vol. 4, Issue 190, pp. ec256
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.4190ec256

During the development of Drosophila larvae, a set of neurons in the brain depend on environmental signals transmitted through the light-sensing Bolwig's organ. Yuan et al. show how the effects of light signaling translated into alterations in the shape of the neurons. Larvae reared in total darkness have target neurons with longer dendrites than those of larvae reared in the light. The differences in shape were confirmed to be a response to light exposure and not to circadian rhythms. Analysis of mutant flies indicated that the signaling pathways involved in transducing the light signal into cell morphological changes were similar to those acting by learning and memory.

Q. Yuan, Y. Xiang, Z. Yan, C. Han, L. Y. Jan, Y. N. Jan, Light-induced structural and functional plasticity in Drosophila larval visual system. Science 333, 1458–1462 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]

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