Dendrites host a number of biophysical mechanisms for the complex interaction of input synapses. Some of these interactions are enhanced by the spatial patterning of active synapses on the target dendrite. To understand the nature of dendritic signal transformations, it would be ideal to map out all incoming synapses and determine the location and functional properties of their source neurons. Only in the last decade have methods based on three-dimensional electron microscopy become available to make such a microscopically precise large-scale structural synaptic mapping realistic. This chapter summarizes these methodological advances, reviews recent discoveries of precise dendritic input mapping in the mouse retina, and outlines the steps needed to search for synaptic patterning in the cerebral cortex. Obtaining a neuron’s complete synaptic input map-its dendritic connectome-will provide the link between the biophysics of complex signal transformations in dendrites and their algorithmic meaning in the context of the brain’s neuronal circuits.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.