Architects of neuronal wiring

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Science  03 May 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6439, pp. 437-438
DOI: 10.1126/science.aax3221

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Nervous system function relies on precise connectivity of a multitude of distinct neuronal cell types. Each class of neuron exhibits a characteristic morphology where synaptic connections are patterned across the cell surface. Thus, individual types of neurons establish synapses on specific domains of target neurons, such as the cell body (soma) or a distal branch (dendrite). Moreover, functionally related synapses are often clustered on a dendrite or on one branch of an axon. This compartmentalized organization of synaptic connections affects the integration of synaptic inputs and increases the computational power of neural circuits (1). Studies by Urwyler et al. on page 454 of this issue (2) and by Favuzzi et al. (3) report in a fruit fly and mouse model, respectively, mechanisms of how spatial distribution of synaptic connections is achieved.