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J Neurobiol. 2005 Jul;64(1):4-10.

Regulation of dendritic development by neuronal activity.

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Department of Physiology and Neuroscience, Molecular Neurobiology Program, Skirball Institute, New York University, New York 10016, USA.


Proper development of dendrites is essential for the establishment of neuronal circuitry. The elaboration of the dendritic tree is a highly dynamic and regulated process, which involves the formation of new branches as well as the maintenance or elimination of pre-existing branches. This review describes recent advances in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of activity-dependent dendritic development. Neuronal activity triggers calcium-mediated signaling events that affect the structural components of dendrites and adhesion molecules. These calcium-induced signaling pathways also target nuclear transcription factors thereby controlling expression of genes required for dendritic development. Thus, a coordinated response to calcium-regulated signaling pathways mediates activity-dependent dendritic development.

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