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Genes Cells. 2012 Dec;17(12):939-51. doi: 10.1111/gtc.12008. Epub 2012 Nov 15.

High-resolution in vivo imaging of regenerating dendrites of Drosophila sensory neurons during metamorphosis: local filopodial degeneration and heterotypic dendrite-dendrite contacts.

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Graduate School of Biostudies, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan.


Neuronal circuits that are formed in early development are reorganized at later developmental stages to support a wide range of adult behaviors. At Drosophila pupal stages, one example of this reorganization is dendritic remodeling of multidendritic neurons, which is accomplished by pruning and subsequent regeneration of branches in environments quite distinct from those in larval life. Here, we used long-term in vivo time-lapse recordings at high spatiotemporal resolution and analyzed the dynamics of two adjacent cell types that remodel dendritic arbors, which eventually innervate the lateral plate of the adult abdomen. These neurons initially exhibited dynamic extension, withdrawal and local degeneration of filopodia that sprouted from all along the length of regenerating branches. At a midpupal stage, branches extending from the two cell types started fasciculating with each other, which prompted us to test the hypothesis that this heterotypic contact may serve as a guiding scaffold for shaping dendritic arbors. Unexpectedly, our cell ablation study gave only marginal effects on the branch length and the arbor shape. This result suggests that the arbor morphology of the adult neurons in this study can be specified mostly in the absence of the dendrite-dendrite contact.

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