Functional mapping of single spines in cortical neurons in vivo

Xiaowei Chen, Ulrich Leischner, Nathalie L. Rochefort, Israel Nelken, Arthur Konnerth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The individual functional properties and spatial arrangement of afferent synaptic inputs on dendrites have a critical role in the processing of information by neurons in the mammalian brain(1-4). Although recent work has identified visually-evoked local dendritic calcium signals in the rodent visual cortex(5), sensory-evoked signalling on the level of dendritic spines, corresponding to individual afferent excitatory synapses, remains unexplored(6). Here we used a new variant of high-resolution two-photon imaging(7) to detect sensory-evoked calcium transients in single dendritic spines of mouse cortical neurons in vivo. Calcium signals evoked by sound stimulation required the activation of NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptors. Active spines are widely distributed on basal and apical dendrites and pure-tone stimulation at different frequencies revealed both narrowly and widely tuned spines. Notably, spines tuned for different frequencies were highly interspersed on the same dendrites: even neighbouring spines were mostly tuned to different frequencies. Thus, our results demonstrate that NMDA-receptor-dependent single-spine synaptic inputs to the same dendrite are highly heterogeneous. Furthermore, our study opens the way for in vivo mapping of functionally defined afferent sensory inputs with single-synapse resolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-U97
Number of pages7
JournalNature
Volume475
Issue number7357
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2011

Keywords

  • MOUSE AUDITORY-CORTEX
  • PYRAMIDAL NEURONS
  • DENDRITIC SPINES
  • FLUORESCENCE MICROSCOPY
  • VISUAL-CORTEX
  • ORGANIZATION
  • EXCITATION
  • DYNAMICS
  • SIGNALS
  • SPIKES

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