In the olfactory system of Drosophila melanogaster, axons of olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) and dendrites of second-order projection neurons typically target 1 of ∼50 glomeruli. Dscam, an immunoglobulin superfamily protein, acts in ORNs to regulate axon targeting. Here we show that Dscam acts in projection neurons and local interneurons to control the elaboration of dendritic fields. The removal of Dscam selectively from projection neurons or local interneurons led to clumped dendrites and marked reduction in their dendritic field size. Overexpression of Dscam in projection neurons caused dendrites to be more diffuse during development and shifted their relative position in adulthood. Notably, the positional shift of projection neuron dendrites caused a corresponding shift of its partner ORN axons, thus maintaining the connection specificity. This observation provides evidence for a pre- and postsynaptic matching mechanism independent of precise glomerular positioning.
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We thank E. Buchner for antibodies; and T. Komiyama, C. Potter, B. Tasic, T. Clandinin and K. Shen for comments on the manuscript. H.Z. is a recipient of an individual Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) postdoctoral fellowship. L.L. and S.L.Z. are investigators of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. This work was supported by the US National Institutes of Health (grants R01-DC005982 to L.L. and R01-DC006485 to S.L.Z.).
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Zhu, H., Hummel, T., Clemens, J. et al. Dendritic patterning by Dscam and synaptic partner matching in the Drosophila antennal lobe. Nat Neurosci 9, 349–355 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/nn1652
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