Drosophila sensory neurons require Dscam for dendritic self-avoidance and proper dendritic field organization
Document Type Article
A neuron's dendrites typically do not cross one another. This intrinsic self-avoidance mechanism ensures unambiguous processing of sensory or synaptic inputs. Moreover, some neurons respect the territory of others of the same type, a phenomenon known as tiling. Different types of neurons, however, often have overlapping dendritic fields. We found that Down's syndrome Cell Adhesion Molecule (Dscam) is required for dendritic self-avoidance of all four classes of Drosophila dendritic arborization (da) neurons. However, neighboring mutant class IV da neurons still exhibited tiling, suggesting that self-avoidance and tiling differ in their recognition and repulsion mechanisms. Introducing 1 of the 38,016 Dscam isoforms to da neurons in Dscam mutants was sufficient to significantly restore self-avoidance. Remarkably, expression of a common Dscam isoform in da neurons of different classes prevented their dendrites from sharing the same territory, suggesting that coexistence of dendritic fields of different neuronal classes requires divergent expression of Dscam isoforms.