The majority of the postsynaptic terminals of excitatory synapses in the central nervous system exist on small bulbous structures on dendrites known as dendritic spines. The actin cytoskeleton is a structural element underlying the proper development and morphology of dendritic spines. Synaptic activity patterns rapidly change actin dynamics, leading to morphological changes in dendritic spines. In this mini-review, we will discuss recent findings on neuronal maturation and synaptic plasticity-induced changes in the dendritic spine actin cytoskeleton. We propose that actin dynamics in dendritic spines decrease through actin filament crosslinking during neuronal maturation. In long-term potentiation, we evaluate the model of fast breakdown of actin filaments through severing and rebuilding through polymerization and later stabilization through crosslinking. We will discuss the role of Ca(2+) in long-term depression, and suggest that actin filaments are dissolved through actin filament severing. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Keywords: actin cytoskeleton; dendritic spines; neuronal maturation; synaptic plasticity.
© 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.