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A biophysical model is a simulation of a biological system using mathematical formalizations of the physical properties of that system. Such models can be used to predict the influence of biological and physical factors on complex systems.
Long term depression (LTD) of the cerebellum is known to be mediated by postsynaptic trafficking of glutamate receptor AMPAR. Here, Kim and colleagues show that early- to late-endosomal sorting of AMPAR represents the switch from expression to maintenance phase of cerebellar LTD.
Combining electrophysiology and computational modeling, the authors show that the dendrites of entorhinal cortex stellate and pyramidal cells are electrically excitable and that this improves the robustness of grid cell firing. The results suggest that active dendrites are critical for spatial navigation, a fundamental computation in the brain.
The folded surface of the human brain, although striking, continues to evade understanding. Experiments with swelling gels now fuel the notion that brain folding is modulated by physical forces, and not by genetic, biological or chemical events alone.
Classical theories, such as cable theory, can only successfully model signal propagation in neurons on a macroscopic scale. Holcman and Yuste argue that, as the functional importance of neuronal compartments such as dendritic spines becomes apparent, it is important to develop models that can account for the effects of their size and geometry on electrical current flow.