"Pyramidal neurons integrate synaptic inputs from basal and apical dendrites to generate stimulus-specific responses. It has been proposed that feed-forward inputs to basal dendrites drive a neuron’s stimulus preference, while feedback inputs to apical dendrites sharpen selectivity. However, how a neuron’s dendritic domains relate to its functional selectivity has not been demonstrated experimentally. We performed 2-photon dendritic micro-dissection on layer-2/3 pyramidal neurons in mouse primary visual cortex. We found that removing the apical dendritic tuft did not alter orientation-tuning. Furthermore, orientation-tuning curves were remarkably robust to the removal of basal dendrites: ablation of 2 basal dendrites was needed to cause a small shift in orientation preference, without significantly altering tuning width. Computational modeling corroborated our results and put limits on how orientation preferences among basal dendrites differ in order to reproduce the post-ablation data. In conclusion, neuronal orientation-tuning appears remarkably robust to loss of dendritic input."
Region(s) or Organism(s): Neocortex
Cell Type(s): Neocortex L2/3 pyramidal GLU cell
Model Concept(s): Vision
Simulation Environment: NEURON
Implementer(s): Papoutsi, Athanasia [athpapoutsi at gmail.com]