The nervous system is populated by numerous types of neurons, each bearing a dendritic arbor with a characteristic morphology. These type-specific features influence many aspects of a neuron's function, including the number and identity of presynaptic inputs and how inputs are integrated to determine firing properties. Here, we review the mechanisms that regulate the construction of cell type-specific dendrite patterns during development. We focus on four aspects of dendrite patterning that are particularly important in determining the function of the mature neuron: (a) dendrite shape, including branching pattern and geometry of the arbor; (b) dendritic arbor size;
Keywords: dendrite; neural development; self-avoidance; synapse formation; tiling.
(c) targeting of dendrites to particular locations; and (d) subdivision of dendrites into compartments with unique electrical properties or synaptic inputs.