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      Wiring optimization can relate neuronal structure and function

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      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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          Abstract

          We pursue the hypothesis that neuronal placement in animals minimizes wiring costs for given functional constraints, as specified by synaptic connectivity. Using a newly compiled version of the Caenorhabditis elegans wiring diagram, we solve for the optimal layout of 279 nonpharyngeal neurons. In the optimal layout, most neurons are located close to their actual positions, suggesting that wiring minimization is an important factor. Yet some neurons exhibit strong deviations from "optimal" position. We propose that biological factors relating to axonal guidance and command neuron functions contribute to these deviations. We capture these factors by proposing a modified wiring cost function.

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          Most cited references 32

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          A tension-based theory of morphogenesis and compact wiring in the central nervous system.

          Many structural features of the mammalian central nervous system can be explained by a morphogenetic mechanism that involves mechanical tension along axons, dendrites and glial processes. In the cerebral cortex, for example, tension along axons in the white matter can explain how and why the cortex folds in a characteristic species-specific pattern. In the cerebellum, tension along parallel fibres can explain why the cortex is highly elongated but folded like an accordion. By keeping the aggregate length of axonal and dendritic wiring low, tension should contribute to the compactness of neural circuitry throughout the adult brain.
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            Molecular mechanisms of axon guidance.

             Laura Dickson (2002)
            Axons are guided along specific pathways by attractive and repulsive cues in the extracellular environment. Genetic and biochemical studies have led to the identification of highly conserved families of guidance molecules, including netrins, Slits, semaphorins, and ephrins. Guidance cues steer axons by regulating cytoskeletal dynamics in the growth cone through signaling pathways that are still only poorly understood. Elaborate regulatory mechanisms ensure that a given cue elicits the right response from the right axons at the right time but is otherwise ignored. With such regulatory mechanisms in place, a relatively small number of guidance factors can be used to generate intricate patterns of neuronal wiring.
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              Post-embryonic cell lineages of the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                0027-8424
                1091-6490
                March 21 2006
                March 21 2006
                March 14 2006
                March 21 2006
                : 103
                : 12
                : 4723-4728
                Article
                10.1073/pnas.0506806103
                1550972
                16537428
                © 2006
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