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J Neurosci. 2007 Dec 26;27(52):14317-25.

Conditional knock-out of beta-catenin in postnatal-born dentate gyrus granule neurons results in dendritic malformation.

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  • 1Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40536, USA.


Neurons are continuously added to the brain throughout life, and these neurons must develop dendritic arbors and functional connections with existing neurons to be integrated into neuronal circuitry. The molecular mechanisms that regulate dendritic development of newborn neurons in the hippocampal dentate gyrus are still unclear. Here, we show that beta-catenin is expressed in newborn granule neurons and in neural progenitor cells in the hippocampal dentate gyrus. Specific knock-out of beta-catenin in newborn neurons, without affecting beta-catenin expression in neural progenitor cells, led to defects in dendritic morphology of these newborn neurons in vivo. Majority of newborn neurons that cannot extend dendrites survive <1 month after they were born. Our results indicate that beta-catenin plays an important role in dendritic development of postnatal-born neurons in vivo, and is therefore essential for the neurogenesis in the postnatal brain.

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