Dissecting Dendrite Dynamics

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Science  19 Mar 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5409, pp. 1860-1861
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5409.1860

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In his Perspective, Stephen Smith discusses findings by Maletic-Savatic and colleagues that may yield fresh clues to understanding how electrical activity results in the formation of new synaptic connections between neurons. These authors report on p. 1923 of this issue that neuronal electrical activity promotes NMDA receptor activation, which in turn (perhaps through alterations in calcium ion fluxes) stimulates the formation of slender extensions of dendrites called filopodia (the first step in the formation of new synapses).