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J Neurosci. 2000 Jul 15;20(14):5329-38.

Small GTPases Rac and Rho in the maintenance of dendritic spines and branches in hippocampal pyramidal neurons.

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1
Department of Biological Sciences and Neurosciences Program, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305-5020, USA.

Abstract

The shape of dendritic trees and the density of dendritic spines can undergo significant changes during the life of a neuron. We report here the function of the small GTPases Rac and Rho in the maintenance of dendritic structures. Maturing pyramidal neurons in rat hippocampal slice culture were biolistically transfected with dominant GTPase mutants. We found that expression of dominant-negative Rac1 results in a progressive elimination of dendritic spines, whereas hyperactivation of RhoA causes a drastic simplification of dendritic branch patterns that is dependent on the activity of a downstream kinase ROCK. Our results suggest that Rac and Rho play distinct functions in regulating dendritic spines and branches and are vital for the maintenance and reorganization of dendritic structures in maturing neurons.

PMID:
10884317
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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