Dendrite morphogenesis from birth to adulthood.
Dendrites are the conduits for receiving (and in some cases transmitting) neural signals; their ability to do these jobs is a direct result of their morphology. Developmental patterning mechanisms are critical to ensuring concordance between dendritic form and function. This article reviews recent studies in vertebrate retina and brain that elucidate key strategies for dendrite functional maturation. Specific cellular and molecular signals control the initiation and elaboration of dendritic arbors, and facilitate integration of young neurons into particular circuits. In some cells, dendrite growth and remodeling continues into adulthood. Once formed, dendrites subdivide into compartments with distinct physiological properties that enable dendritic computations. Understanding these key stages of dendrite patterning will help reveal how circuit functional properties arise during development.
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