Frangeul L, Kehayas V, Sanchez-Mut JV, Fièvre S, Krishna-K K, Pouchelon G, Telley L, Bellone C, Holtmaat A, Gräff J, Macklis JD, Jabaudon D. 2017. Input-dependent regulation of excitability controls dendritic maturation in somatosensory thalamocortical neurons. Nature communications. 8(1):2015. Pubmed: 29222517 DOI:10.1038/s41467-017-02172-1


Input from the sensory organs is required to pattern neurons into topographical maps during development. Dendritic complexity critically determines this patterning process; yet, how signals from the periphery act to control dendritic maturation is unclear. Here, using genetic and surgical manipulations of sensory input in mouse somatosensory thalamocortical neurons, we show that membrane excitability is a critical component of dendritic development. Using a combination of genetic approaches, we find that ablation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors during postnatal development leads to epigenetic repression of Kv1.1-type potassium channels, increased excitability, and impaired dendritic maturation. Lesions to whisker input pathways had similar effects. Overexpression of Kv1.1 was sufficient to enable dendritic maturation in the absence of sensory input. Thus, Kv1.1 acts to tune neuronal excitability and maintain it within a physiological range, allowing dendritic maturation to proceed. Together, these results reveal an input-dependent control over neuronal excitability and dendritic complexity in the development and plasticity of sensory pathways.

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Photo of Jeffrey D. Macklis

Jeffrey Macklis investigates molecular controls and mechanisms over neuron subtype specification, development, diversity, axon guidance-circuit formation, and pathology in the cerebral cortex. His lab seeks to apply developmental controls toward brain and spinal cord regeneration and directed differentiation for in vitro mechanistic modeling using human assembloids.

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