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Nature24 July 2003

 nature highlights

Win or lose: How neurons compete in the developing neonate

Nature cover 24 July 2003

A feature of early postnatal development in vertebrates is the process of synapse elimination. Initially a neuromuscular junction is innervated by multiple axons, then all but one are withdrawn. Two papers in this issue address the question of what determines the 'winners' and 'losers' in this battle. Using transgenic mice in which two different axons were labelled in different colours (shown on the cover), Kasthuri and Lichtman show that it is a global property of a neuron that influences its success — though each neuron simultaneously emerges as a winner and loser as it confronts different competitors on different fibres. And using a conditional gene disruption technique to interrupt neurotransmission, Buffelli et al. show that it is relative activity of the competing neurons that determines which survive the cull.

letters to nature
The role of neuronal identity in synaptic competition
NARAYANAN KASTHURI & JEFF W. LICHTMAN
Nature 424, 426–430 (2003); doi:10.1038/nature01836
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letters to nature
Genetic evidence that relative synaptic efficacy biases the outcome of synaptic competition
MARIO BUFFELLI, ROBERT W. BURGESS, GUOPING FENG, CORRINNE G. LOBE, JEFF W. LICHTMAN & JOSHUA R. SANES
Nature 424, 430–434 (2003); doi:10.1038/nature01844
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24 July 2003 table of contents

  
  © 2003 Nature Publishing Group