Convergence among non-sister dendritic branches: An activity-controlled mean to strengthen network connectivity

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Abstract

The manner by which axons distribute synaptic connections along dendrites remains a fundamental unresolved issue in neuronal development and physiology. We found in vitro and in vivo indications that dendrites determine the density, location and strength of their synaptic inputs by controlling the distance of their branches from those of their neighbors. Such control occurs through collective branch convergence, a behavior promoted by AMPA and NMDA glutamate receptor activity. At hubs of convergence sites, the incidence of axo-dendritic contacts as well as clustering levels, pre- and post-synaptic protein content and secretion capacity of synaptic connections are higher than found elsewhere. This coupling between synaptic distribution and the pattern of dendritic overlapping results in 'Economical Small World Network', a network configuration that enables single axons to innervate multiple and remote dendrites using short wiring lengths. Thus, activity-mediated regulation of the proximity among dendritic branches serves to pattern and strengthen neuronal connectivity.

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Blinder, P., Cove, J., Foox, M., & Baranes, D. (2008). Convergence among non-sister dendritic branches: An activity-controlled mean to strengthen network connectivity. PLoS ONE, 3(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0003782

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