Branching out: mechanisms of dendritic arborization

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2010 May;11(5):316-28. doi: 10.1038/nrn2836.


Type-specific dendrite morphology is a hallmark of the neuron and has important functional implications in determining what signals a neuron receives and how these signals are integrated. During the past two decades, studies on dendritic arborization neurons in Drosophila melanogaster have started to identify mechanisms of dendrite morphogenesis that may have broad applicability to vertebrate species. Transcription factors, receptor-ligand interactions, various signalling pathways, local translational machinery, cytoskeletal elements, Golgi outposts and endosomes have been identified as contributors to the organization of dendrites of individual neurons and the placement of these dendrites in the neuronal circuitry. Further insight into these mechanisms will improve our understanding of how the nervous system functions and might help to identify the underlying causes of some neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Dendrites / physiology*
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Morphogenesis
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Signal Transduction