Contacts among non-sister dendritic branches at bifurcations shape neighboring dendrites and pattern their synaptic inputs

Joshua Cove, Pablo Blinder, Danny Baranes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The size and shape of neuronal dendritic arbors affect the number and pattern of synaptic inputs, as well as the complexity and function of brain circuits. However, the means by which different dendritic arbors take their final shape and how these shapes are associated with distinct synaptic patterns is still largely unknown. Dendritic ramification is influenced by dendrite-dendrite interactions that stabilize specific branching directions and ensure appropriate synaptic contacts. Yet, it is not clear by which mechanism these contacts are allocated. We found that stable dendro-dendritic contacts occur preferentially between non-sister dendritic branches at sites of bifurcations, and that this process is promoted by synaptic activity. Moreover, these contacts are associated with synaptic connections of higher density, higher level of synaptophysin, NR1, GluR2 subunits of glutamate receptors and elevated secretion capability than synaptic connections found on contacts made by non-bifurcating branches or along non-contacting parts of the dendrites. Thus, in cultured neurons, stabilization of hetero-neuronal dendro-dendritic contacts at bifurcations is a new mean to pattern and associate morphogenesis and synaptic input distribution in neighboring dendritic trees.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-41
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Research
Volume1251
DOIs
StatePublished - 28 Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Dendrite morphology
  • Dendro-dendritic contact
  • Synaptic connection
  • Synaptic distribution
  • Synaptic strength

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