Dendritic spines are the major transmitter reception compartments of glutamatergic synapses in most principal neurons of the mammalian brain and play a key role in the function of nerve cell circuits. The formation of functional spine synapses is thought to be critically dependent on presynaptic glutamatergic signaling. By analyzing CA1 pyramidal neurons in mutant hippocampal slice cultures that are essentially devoid of presynaptic transmitter release, we demonstrate that the formation and maintenance of dendrites and functional spines are independent of synaptic glutamate release.
Keywords: activity dependence; dendrite formation; glutamate release; glutamate uncaging; spine formation; synaptogenesis.
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