Neuronal physiology depends on a neuron's ion channel composition and unique morphology. Variable ion channel compositions can produce similar neuronal physiologies across animals. Less is known regarding the morphological precision required to produce reliable neuronal physiology. Theoretical studies suggest that morphology is tightly tuned to minimize wiring and conduction delay of synaptic events. We utilize high-resolution confocal microscopy and custom computational tools to characterize the morphologies of four neuron types in the stomatogastric ganglion (STG) of the crab Cancer borealis. Macroscopic branching patterns and fine cable properties are variable within and across neuron types. We compare these neuronal structures to synthetic minimal spanning neurite trees constrained by a wiring cost equation and find that STG neurons do not adhere to prevailing hypotheses regarding wiring optimization principles. In this highly-modulated and oscillating circuit, neuronal structures appear to be governed by a space-filling mechanism that outweighs the cost of inefficient wiring.
- Eve Marder
- Adriane G Otopalik
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Ronald L Calabrese, Emory University, United States
© 2017, Otopalik et al.
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