Public Release: 31-Aug-2015 How neurons get their branching shapes

IMAGE: This image shows dendritic branching in wild type (top), centrosomin mutants (middle), and Abrupt mutants (bottom). Note the increased branching in the mutants. view more Credit: RIKEN For more than a hundred years, people have known that dendritic arbors–the projections that neurons use to receive information from other neurons–differ in size and shape depending on neuron type. Now, researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have discovered a factor helps shape dendritic arbors. Published in Nature Neuroscience, the work reveals how the protein centrosomin prevents dendrites from branching out. Dendrites grow and branch as structural elements called microtubules push the ends out in specific directions. Microtubules are often likened to cellular scaffolding, and are built on site by growing out from one end. To determine how microtubule growth…

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