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The Morphological Identity of Insect Dendrites

MPS-Authors
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Cuntz,  H.
Department: Systems and Computational Neurobiology / Borst, MPI of Neurobiology, Max Planck Society;

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Forstner,  F.
Department: Systems and Computational Neurobiology / Borst, MPI of Neurobiology, Max Planck Society;

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Haag,  J.
Department: Systems and Computational Neurobiology / Borst, MPI of Neurobiology, Max Planck Society;

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Borst,  A.
Department: Systems and Computational Neurobiology / Borst, MPI of Neurobiology, Max Planck Society;

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journal.pcbi.1000251.pdf
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Citation

Cuntz, H., Forstner, F., Haag, J., & Borst, A. (2008). The Morphological Identity of Insect Dendrites. PLoS Computational Biology, 4(12): e1000251, pp. [1]-[7].


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-20F9-C
Abstract
Dendrite morphology, a neuron's anatomical fingerprint, is a neuroscientist's asset in unveiling organizational principles in the brain. However, the genetic program encoding the morphological identity of a single dendrite remains a mystery. In order to obtain a formal understanding of dendritic branching, we studied distributions of morphological parameters in a group of four individually identifiable neurons of the fly visual system. We found that parameters relating to the branching topology were similar throughout all cells. Only parameters relating to the area covered by the dendrite were cell type specific. With these areas, artificial dendrites were grown based on optimization principles minimizing the amount of wiring and maximizing synaptic democracy. Although the same branching rule was used for all cells, this yielded dendritic structures virtually indistinguishable from their real counterparts. From these principles we derived a fully-automated model-based neuron reconstruction procedure validating the artificial branching rule. In conclusion, we suggest that the genetic program implementing neuronal branching could be constant in all cells whereas the one responsible for the dendrite spanning field should be cell specific.