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Neurobiology: A moving experience

Fox, Kevin Dyson ORCID: 2000. Neurobiology: A moving experience. Nature 404 (6780) , pp. 825-827. 10.1038/35009185

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How would you wire up the 1014 connections between neurons in the adult brain? Mistakes would be costly, because the connections determine whether the brain works. You might ask for a detailed wiring diagram, with each individual connection prespecified, and work from that — but current opinion says that this is not how the brain is built. Instead, the main 'cable highways' between groups of neurons are laid out first and all the detailed 'end connections' are chosen by 'smart trial and error'. On page 876of this issue1, Lendvai et al. show that this process involves tiny protrusions on the postsynaptic neurons called dendritic filopodia, which form, extend and retract to sample surrounding input connections at a rate that is controlled by sensory experience (Fig. 1a, overleaf). In the barrel cortex, an area of the rat brain that decodes information from the whiskers, the filopodia show this activity only during a critical period when the whiskers are first used by the young rat for active exploration.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 0028-0836
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2022 08:27

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