July 8, 2010

A neuron’s dendrites are responsible for relaying signals from a stimulus or other neuron, and their branched patterns are important for the specific function of each type of neuron. In the worm C. elegans, the PVD neurons are mechanoreceptors that trigger an avoidance response after a touch stimulus. The dendrites of PVDs are repetitive structures that look like candelabras or menorahs. Image above shows a worm with a fluorescent signal in PVD neurons. A recent paper describes the role of a cell fusion protein called EFF-1 in regulating the formation of these menorahs, showing that EFF-1 sculpts the branching of the menorahs.

Reference: Meital Oren-Suissa, David H. Hall, Millet Treinin, Gidi Shemer, and Benjamin Podbilewicz. Similar images can be found in their Science paper, which can be found here.

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