Maturation of dendritic architecture: Lessons from insect identified neurons

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9 Scopus citations


The highly complex geometry of dendritic trees is crucial for neural signal integration and the proper wiring of neuronal circuits. The morphogenesis of dendritic trees is regulated by innate genetic factors, neuronal activity, and external molecular cues. How each of these factors contributes to dendritic maturation has been addressed in studies of the developing nervous systems of animals ranging from insects to mammals. This article reviews our current knowledge and understanding of the role of afferent input in the establishment of the architecture of mature dendritic trees, using insect neurons as models. With these model systems and using quantitative morphometry, it is possible to define the contributions of intrinsic and extrinsic factors in dendritic morphogenesis of identified neurons and to evaluate the impact of dendritic maturation on the integration of identified neurons into functional circuits subserving identified behaviors. The commonly held view of dendritic morphogenesis is that general structural features result from genetic instructions, whereas fine connectivity details rely mostly on substrate interactions and functional activity. During early dendritic maturation, dendritic growth cone formation produces new branches at all dendritic roots. The second phase is growth cone independent and afferent input dependent, during which branching is limited to high order distal dendrites. During the third phase, activity-dependent synaptic maturation occurs with limited or subtle remodeling of branching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-23
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neurobiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2005


  • Afferent
  • Dendrite
  • Insects
  • Neuronal development
  • Synaptic activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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