Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

BPoD is 5

In 2017 we celebrate five years of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science

Growing Branches
16 January 2016

Growing Branches

To receive information from neighbouring cells, neurons connect to each other with dendrites, forming an elaborate branching system known as the dendritic arbor. Developing this extensive network is difficult, as the dendrites must contact specific cells, and avoid interfering with each other. In addition, creating dendrites involves moving vast amounts of protein and membrane components around, a challenge in itself. Recent work on sensory neuron wiring in the nematode worm C. elegans, whose dendritic arbor is shown here, has revealed some of the mechanisms that make it possible. RAB-10, a small signalling molecule, was found to play a key role in determining the branching pattern of dendrites; it also enables their growth by regulating the activity of the proteins kinesin and dynein, 'molecular motors' which can move cargoes around the cell. This makes it a key component in this hugely complex process, crucial to the development of nervous systems.

Written by Emmanuelle Briolat

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More