Pten, a gene associated with autism spectrum disorder, is an upstream regulator of receptor tyrosine kinase intracellular signaling pathways that mediate extracellular cues to inform cellular development and activity-dependent plasticity. We therefore hypothesized that Pten loss would interfere with activity dependent dendritic growth. We investigated the effects of this interaction on the maturation of retrovirally labeled postnatally generated wild-type and Pten knockout granule neurons in male and female mouse dentate gyrus while using chemogenetics to manipulate the activity of the perforant path afferents. We find that enhancing network activity accelerates the dendritic outgrowth of wild-type, but not Pten knockout, neurons. This was specific to immature neurons during an early developmental window. We also examined synaptic connectivity and physiological measures of neuron maturation. The input resistance, membrane capacitance, dendritic spine morphology, and frequency of spontaneous synaptic events were not differentially altered by activity in wild-type versus Pten knockout neurons. Therefore, Pten and its downstream signaling pathways regulate the activity-dependent sculpting of the dendritic arbor during neuronal maturation.
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