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Neuron. 2013 Aug 7;79(3):516-29. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.06.005.

Potassium channels control the interaction between active dendritic integration compartments in layer 5 cortical pyramidal neurons.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Janelia Farm Research Campus, Ashburn, VA 20147, USA.


Active dendritic synaptic integration enhances the computational power of neurons. Such nonlinear processing generates an object-localization signal in the apical dendritic tuft of layer 5B cortical pyramidal neurons during sensory-motor behavior. Here, we employ electrophysiological and optical approaches in brain slices and behaving animals to investigate how excitatory synaptic input to this distal dendritic compartment influences neuronal output. We find that active dendritic integration throughout the apical dendritic tuft is highly compartmentalized by voltage-gated potassium (KV) channels. A high density of both transient and sustained KV channels was observed in all apical dendritic compartments. These channels potently regulated the interaction between apical dendritic tuft, trunk, and axosomatic integration zones to control neuronal output in vitro as well as the engagement of dendritic nonlinear processing in vivo during sensory-motor behavior. Thus, KV channels dynamically tune the interaction between active dendritic integration compartments in layer 5B pyramidal neurons to shape behaviorally relevant neuronal computations.

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