In response to changes in the environment, dendrites from certain neurons change their shape, yet the mechanism remains largely unknown. Here we show that dendritic arbors of adult Drosophila sensory neurons are rapidly reshaped from a radial shape to a lattice-like shape within 24 hr after eclosion. This radial-to-lattice reshaping arises from rearrangement of the existing radial branches into the lattice-like pattern, rather than extensive dendrite pruning followed by regrowth of the lattice-shaped arbors over the period. We also find that the dendrite reshaping is completely blocked in mutants for the matrix metalloproteinase (Mmp) 2. Further genetic analysis indicates that Mmp2 promotes the dendrite reshaping through local degradation of the basement membrane upon which dendrites of the sensory neurons innervate. These findings suggest that regulated proteolytic alteration of the extracellular matrix microenvironment might be a fundamental mechanism to drive a large-scale change of dendritic structures during reorganization of neuronal circuits.
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