Caenorhabditis elegans has bona fide dendritic spines, suggesting that the advantages of small model organisms, such as genetic manipulations and live-cell imaging, can be exploited to study dendritic spines.
In mouse models of Huntington's disease, striatal spiny projection neurons up-regulate dendritic potassium channels, which impairs their normal function, but a zinc finger gene therapy can reverse this deficit.
A protein called RNF10 relays messages from synapses to neuron cell nuclei, and is responsible for long-lasting modifications of dendritic spines as observed after activation of synaptic glutamate receptors.
Three-dimensional electron microscopy (3DEM) demonstrates the dependence on presynaptic mitochondria for vesicle mobilization as dendritic spines are silently added at P15 or synapses are silently enlarged in adults after long-term potentiation.
Super-resolution imaging reveals that the microtubule-associated protein Tau regulates the Fyn kinase organisation in dendrites, and that the frontotemporal dementia mutant Tau promotes aberrant Fyn clustering, potentially leading to synaptic dysfunction.