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In JoVE (1)
Other Publications (21)
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Biochemical Pharmacology
- Development (Cambridge, England)
- Molecular and Cellular Biology
- The Journal of Biological Chemistry
- Molecular and Cellular Biology
- Current Opinion in Neurobiology
- Developmental Biology
- Journal of Neurogenetics
- PLoS Genetics
- Current Biology : CB
- Science (New York, N.Y.)
- Journal of Neurogenetics
- The Journal of Comparative Neurology
- Journal of Neurogenetics
Articles by Chun-Yuan Ting in JoVE
Analyzing Dendritic Morphology in Columns and Layers
Chun-Yuan Ting1, Philip G. McQueen2, Nishith Pandya3, Evan S. McCreedy3, Matthew McAuliffe3, Chi-Hon Lee1
1Section on Neuronal Connectivity, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health (NIH), 2Mathematical and Statistical Computing Laboratory, Center for Information Technology, National Institutes of Health (NIH), 3Biomedical Imaging Research Services Section, Center for Information Technology, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Other articles by Chun-Yuan Ting on PubMed
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Mar, 2003 | Pubmed ID: 12629207
It has been proposed that the topoisomerase II (TOP2)beta-DNA covalent complex arrests transcription and triggers 26S proteasome-mediated degradation of TOP2beta. It is unclear whether the initial trigger for proteasomal degradation is due to DNA damage or transcriptional arrest. In the current study we show that the TOP2 catalytic inhibitor 4,4-(2,3-butanediyl)-bis(2,6-piperazinedione) (ICRF-193), which traps TOP2 into a circular clamp rather than the TOP2-DNA covalent complex, can also arrest transcription. Arrest of transcription, which is TOP2beta-dependent, is accompanied by proteasomal degradation of TOP2beta. Different from TOP2 poisons and other DNA-damaging agents, ICRF-193 did not induce proteasomal degradation of the large subunit of RNA polymerase II. These results suggest that proteasomal degradation of TOP2beta induced by the TOP2-DNA covalent complex or the TOP2 circular clamp is due to transcriptional arrest but not DNA damage. By contrast, degradation of the large subunit of RNA polymerase II is due to a DNA-damage signal.
Biochemical Pharmacology. Nov, 2003 | Pubmed ID: 14599556
Isodiospyrin is a natural product from the plant Diospyros morrisiana, which consists of an asymmetrical 1,2-binaphthoquinone chromophore. Isodiospyrin exhibits cytotoxic activity to tumor cell lines but very little is known about its cellular target and mechanism of action. Unlike the prototypic human topoisomerase I (htopo I) poison camptothecin, isodiospyrin does not induce htopo I-DNA covalent complexes. However, isodiospyrin antagonizes camptothecin-induced, htopo I-mediated DNA cleavage. Binding analysis indicated that isodiospyrin binds htopo I but not DNA. These results suggest that isodiospyrin inhibits htopo I by direct binding to htopo I, which limits htopo I access to the DNA substrate. Furthermore, isodiospyrin exhibits strong inhibitory effect on the kinase activity of htopo I toward splicing factor 2/alternate splicing factor in the absence of DNA. Thus, these findings have important implications on naphthoquinone and its derivatives' cellular mode of actions, i.e. these novel DNA topoisomerase I inhibitors can prevent both DNA relaxation and kinase activities of htopo I.
Drosophila N-cadherin Functions in the First Stage of the Two-stage Layer-selection Process of R7 Photoreceptor Afferents
Development (Cambridge, England). Mar, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 15673571
Visual information received from the three types of photoreceptor neurons (R1-R6, R7 and R8) in the fly compound eyes converges to the external part of the medulla neuropil (M1-M6 layers) in a layer-specific fashion: R7 and R8 axons terminate at the M6 and M3 layers, respectively, whereas lamina neurons (L1-L5) relay R1-R6 to multiple medulla layers (M1-M5). Here, we show that during development, R7 and R8 neurons establish layer-specific projections in two separate stages: during the first stage, R7 and R8 axons sequentially target to the R7- and R8-temporary layers, respectively; and at the second stage, R7 and R8 growth cones progress synchronously to their destined layers. Using a set of mutations that delete different afferent subsets or alter R7 connectivity, we defined the mechanism of layer selection. We observed that R8, R7 and L1-L5 afferents target to their temporary layers independently, suggesting that afferent-target, but not afferent-afferent, interactions dictate the targeting specificity. N-cadherin is required in the first stage for R7 growth cones to reach and remain in the R7-temporary layer. The Ncad gene contains three pairs of alternatively spliced exons and encodes 12 isoforms. However, expressing a single Ncad isoform in Ncad mutant R7s is sufficient to rescue mistargeting phenotypes. Furthermore, Ncad isoforms mediate promiscuous heterophilic interactions in an in vitro cell-aggregation assay. We propose that Ncad isoforms do not form an adhesion code; rather, they provide permissive adhesion between R7 growth cones and their temporary targets.
Sumoylation of P45/NF-E2: Nuclear Positioning and Transcriptional Activation of the Mammalian Beta-like Globin Gene Locus
Molecular and Cellular Biology. Dec, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 16287851
NF-E2 is a transcription activator for the regulation of a number of erythroid- and megakaryocytic lineage-specific genes. Here we present evidence that the large subunit of mammalian NF-E2, p45, is sumoylated in vivo in human erythroid K562 cells and in mouse fetal liver. By in vitro sumoylation reaction and DNA transfection experiments, we show that the sumoylation occurs at lysine 368 (K368) of human p45/NF-E2. Furthermore, p45 sumoylation enhances the transactivation capability of NF-E2, and this is accompanied by an increase of the NF-E2 DNA binding affinity. More interestingly, we have found that in K562 cells, the beta-globin gene loci in the euchromatin regions are predominantly colocalized with the nuclear bodies promyelocytic leukemia protein (PML) oncogenic domains that are enriched with the PML, SUMO-1, RNA polymerase II, and sumoylatable p45/NF-E2. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays further showed that the intact sumoylation site of p45/NF-E2 is required for its binding to the DNase I-hypersensitive sites of the beta-globin locus control region. Finally, we demonstrated by stable transfection assay that only the wild-type p45, but not its mutant form p45 (K368R), could efficiently rescue beta-globin gene expression in the p45-null, erythroid cell line CB3. These data together point to a model of mammalian beta-like globin gene activation by sumoylated p45/NF-E2 in erythroid cells.
The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Mar, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16428803
Human (h) DNA topoisomerase I has been identified as a major SUMO1 target in camptothecin-treated cells. In response to TOP1-mediated DNA damage induced by camptothecin, multiple SUMO1 molecules are conjugated to the N-terminal domain of a single TOP1 molecule. To investigate the molecular mechanism of SUMO1 conjugation to TOP1, an in vitro system using purified SAE1/2, Ubc9, SUMO1, and TOP1 peptides was developed. Consistent with results from in vivo studies, multiple SUMO1 molecules were found to be conjugated to the N-terminal domain of a single TOP1 molecule. Systematic analysis has identified a single major SUMO1 conjugation site located between amino acid residues 110 and 125 that contains a single lysine residue at 117 (Lys-117). Using a short peptide spanning this region, we showed that a poly-SUMO1 chain was assembled in this peptide at Lys-117. Interestingly, a Ubc9-poly-SUMO1 intermediate had accumulated to a high level when the sumoylation assay was performed in the absence of hTOP1 substrate, suggesting a possibility that the poly-SUMO1 chain is formed on Ubc9 first and then transferred en bloc onto hTOP1. This is the first definitive demonstration of the assembly of a poly-SUMO1 chain on protein substrate. These results offer new insight into hTOP1 polysumoylation in response to TOP1-mediated DNA damage and may have general implications in protein polysumoylation.
Molecular and Cellular Biology. Sep, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16914742
Drosophila N-cadherin (CadN) is an evolutionarily conserved classic cadherin which has a large, complex extracellular domain and a catenin-binding cytoplasmic domain. The CadN locus contains three modules of alternative exons (7a/b, 13a/b, and 18a/b) and undergoes alternative splicing to generate multiple isoforms. Using quantitative transcript analyses and green fluorescent protein-based cell sorting, we found that during development CadN alternative splicing is regulated in a temporal but not cell-type-specific fashion. In particular, exon 18b is predominantly expressed during early developmental stages, while exon 18a is prevalent at the late developmental and adult stages. All CadN isoforms share the same molecular architecture but have different sequences in their extracellular and transmembrane domains, suggesting functional diversity. In vitro quantitative cell aggregation assays revealed that all CadN isoforms mediate homophilic interactions, but the isoforms encoded by exon 18b have a higher adhesive activity than those by its alternative, 18a. Domain-swapping experiments further revealed that the different sequences in the transmembrane domains of isoforms are responsible for their differential adhesive activities. CadN alternative splicing might provide a novel mechanism to fine-tune its adhesive activity at different developmental stages or to restrict the use of high-affinity 18b-type isoforms at the adult stage.
Current Opinion in Neurobiology. Feb, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17204415
Fly visual circuits are organized into lattice-like arrays and layers. Recent genetic studies have provided insights into how these reiterated structures are assembled through stepwise processes and how precise connections are established during development. Afferent-derived morphogens, such as Hedgehog, play a key role in organizing the overall structure by inducing and recruiting target neurons and glia. In turn, the target-derived ligand DWnt4 guides Frizzled2-expressing photoreceptor afferents to their proper destination. Photoreceptor afferents select specific synaptic targets by forming adhesive interactions and regulating actin cytoskeleton in growth cones. Target specificity is probably achieved by restricting the expression of adhesive molecules, such as Capricious, to appropriate presynaptic and postsynaptic partners, and by differentially regulating the function of broadly expressed adhesive molecules such as N-cadherin.
Adhesive but Not Signaling Activity of Drosophila N-cadherin is Essential for Target Selection of Photoreceptor Afferents
Developmental Biology. Apr, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17320070
Drosophila N-cadherin (CadN) is an evolutionarily conserved, atypical classical cadherin, which has a large complex extracellular domain and a catenin-binding cytoplasmic domain. We have previously shown that CadN regulates target selection of R7 photoreceptor axons. To determine the functional domains of CadN, we conducted a structure-function analysis focusing on its in vitro adhesive activity and in vivo function in R7 growth cones. We found that the cytoplasmic domain of CadN is largely dispensable for the targeting of R7 growth cones, and it is not essential for mediating homophilic interaction in cultured cells. Instead, the cytoplasmic domain of CadN is required for maintaining proper growth cone morphology. Domain swapping with the extracellular domain of CadN2, a related but non-adhesive cadherin, revealed that the CadN extracellular domain is required for both adhesive activity and R7 targeting. Using a target-mosaic system, we generated CadN mutant clones in the optic lobe and examined the target-selection of genetically wild-type R7 growth cones to CadN mutant target neurons. We found that CadN, but neither LAR nor Liprin-alpha, is required in the medulla neurons for R7 growth cones to select the correct medulla layer. Together, these data suggest that CadN mediates homophilic adhesive interactions between R7 growth cones and medulla neurons to regulate layer-specific target selection.
Neuron. Oct, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17920022
In the eye, visual information is segregated into modalities such as color and motion, these being transferred to the central brain through separate channels. Here, we genetically dissect the achromatic motion channel in the fly Drosophila melanogaster at the level of the first relay station in the brain, the lamina, where it is split into four parallel pathways (L1-L3, amc/T1). The functional relevance of this divergence is little understood. We now show that the two most prominent pathways, L1 and L2, together are necessary and largely sufficient for motion-dependent behavior. At high pattern contrast, the two pathways are redundant. At intermediate contrast, they mediate motion stimuli of opposite polarity, L2 front-to-back, L1 back-to-front motion. At low contrast, L1 and L2 depend upon each other for motion processing. Of the two minor pathways, amc/T1 specifically enhances the L1 pathway at intermediate contrast. L3 appears not to contribute to motion but to orientation behavior.
Tiling of R7 Axons in the Drosophila Visual System is Mediated Both by Transduction of an Activin Signal to the Nucleus and by Mutual Repulsion
Neuron. Dec, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 18054857
The organization of neuronal wiring into layers and columns is a common feature of both vertebrate and invertebrate brains. In the Drosophila visual system, each R7 photoreceptor axon projects within a single column to a specific layer of the optic lobe. We refer to the restriction of terminals to single columns as tiling. In a genetic screen based on an R7-dependent behavior, we identified the Activin receptor Baboon and the nuclear import adaptor Importin-alpha3 as being required to prevent R7 axon terminals from overlapping with the terminals of R7s in neighboring columns. This tiling function requires the Baboon ligand, dActivin, the transcription factor, dSmad2, and retrograde transport from the growth cone to the R7 nucleus. We propose that dActivin is an autocrine signal that restricts R7 growth cone motility, and we demonstrate that it acts in parallel with a paracrine signal that mediates repulsion between R7 terminals.
Neuron. Oct, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18957224
Drosophila vision is mediated by inputs from three types of photoreceptor neurons; R1-R6 mediate achromatic motion detection, while R7 and R8 constitute two chromatic channels. Neural circuits for processing chromatic information are not known. Here, we identified the first-order interneurons downstream of the chromatic channels. Serial EM revealed that small-field projection neurons Tm5 and Tm9 receive direct synaptic input from R7 and R8, respectively, and indirect input from R1-R6, qualifying them to function as color-opponent neurons. Wide-field Dm8 amacrine neurons receive input from 13-16 UV-sensing R7s and provide output to projection neurons. Using a combinatorial expression system to manipulate activity in different neuron subtypes, we determined that Dm8 neurons are necessary and sufficient for flies to exhibit phototaxis toward ultraviolet instead of green light. We propose that Dm8 sacrifices spatial resolution for sensitivity by relaying signals from multiple R7s to projection neurons, which then provide output to higher visual centers.
Journal of Neurogenetics. 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19132600
The shape of a neuron, its morphological signature, dictates the neuron's function by establishing its synaptic partnerships. Here, we review various anatomical methods used to reveal neuron shape and the contributions these have made to our current understanding of neural function in the Drosophila brain, especially the optic lobe. These methods, including Golgi impregnation, genetic reporters, and electron microscopy (EM), necessarily incorporate biases of various sorts that are easy to overlook, but that filter the morphological signatures we see. Nonetheless, the application of these methods to the optic lobe has led to reassuringly congruent findings on the number and shapes of neurons and their connection patterns, indicating that morphological classes are actually genetic classes. Genetic methods using, especially, GAL4 drivers and associated reporters have largely superceded classical Golgi methods for cellular analyses and, moreover, allow the manipulation of neuronal activity, thus enabling us to establish a bridge between morphological studies and functional ones. While serial-EM reconstruction remains the only reliable, albeit labor-intensive, method to determine actual synaptic connections, genetic approaches in combination with EM or high-resolution light microscopic techniques are promising methods for the rapid determination of synaptic circuit function.
PLoS Genetics. Apr, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19343204
Metazoan development requires complex mechanisms to generate cells with diverse function. Alternative splicing of pre-mRNA not only expands proteomic diversity but also provides a means to regulate tissue-specific molecular expression. The N-Cadherin gene in Drosophila contains three pairs of mutually-exclusive alternatively-spliced exons (MEs). However, no significant differences among the resulting protein isoforms have been successfully demonstrated in vivo. Furthermore, while the N-Cadherin gene products exhibit a complex spatiotemporal expression pattern within embryos, its underlying mechanisms and significance remain unknown. Here, we present results that suggest a critical role for alternative splicing in producing a crucial and reproducible complexity in the expression pattern of arthropod N-Cadherin. We demonstrate that the arthropod N-Cadherin gene has maintained the three sets of MEs for over 400 million years using in silico and in vivo approaches. Expression of isoforms derived from these MEs receives precise spatiotemporal control critical during development. Both Drosophila and Tribolium use ME-13a and ME-13b in "neural" and "mesodermal" splice variants, respectively. As proteins, either ME-13a- or ME-13b-containing isoform can cell-autonomously rescue the embryonic lethality caused by genetic loss of N-Cadherin. Ectopic muscle expression of either isoform beyond the time it normally ceases leads to paralysis and lethality. Together, our results offer an example of well-conserved alternative splicing increasing cellular diversity in metazoans.
Focusing Transgene Expression in Drosophila by Coupling Gal4 with a Novel Split-LexA Expression System
Genetics. May, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21368278
Here we report the development of a ternary version of the LexA::VP16/LexAop system in which the DNA-binding and trans-activating moieties are independently targeted using distinct promoters to achieve highly restricted, intersectional expression patterns. This Split LexA system can be concatenated with the Gal4/upstream activating sequence system to refine the expression patterns of existing Gal4 lines with minimal genetic manipulations.
Current Biology : CB. Dec, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 22137471
Detecting motion is a feature of all advanced visual systems , nowhere more so than in flying animals, like insects [2, 3]. In flies, an influential autocorrelation model for motion detection, the elementary motion detector circuit (EMD; [4, 5]), compares visual signals from neighboring photoreceptors to derive information on motion direction and velocity. This information is fed by two types of interneuron, L1 and L2, in the first optic neuropile, or lamina, to downstream local motion detectors in columns of the second neuropile, the medulla. Despite receiving carefully matched photoreceptor inputs, L1 and L2 drive distinct, separable pathways responding preferentially to moving "on" and "off" edges, respectively [6, 7]. Our serial electron microscopy (EM) identifies two types of transmedulla (Tm) target neurons, Tm1 and Tm2, that receive apparently matched synaptic inputs from L2. Tm2 neurons also receive inputs from two retinotopically posterior neighboring columns via L4, a third type of lamina neuron. Light microscopy reveals that the connections in these L2/L4/Tm2 circuits are highly determinate. Single-cell transcript profiling suggests that nicotinic acetylcholine receptors mediate transmission within the L2/L4/Tm2 circuits, whereas L1 is apparently glutamatergic. We propose that Tm2 integrates sign-conserving inputs from neighboring columns to mediate the detection of front-to-back motion generated during forward motion.
Science (New York, N.Y.). May, 2012 | Pubmed ID: 22605779
Color and motion information are thought to be channeled through separate neural pathways, but it remains unclear whether and how these pathways interact to improve motion perception. In insects, such as Drosophila, it has long been believed that motion information is fed exclusively by one spectral class of photoreceptor, so-called R1 to R6 cells; whereas R7 and R8 photoreceptors, which exist in multiple spectral classes, subserve color vision. Here, we report that R7 and R8 also contribute to the motion pathway. By using electrophysiological, optical, and behavioral assays, we found that R7/R8 information converge with and shape the motion pathway output, explaining flies' broadly tuned optomotor behavior by its composite responses. Our results demonstrate that inputs from photoreceptors of different spectral sensitivities improve motion discrimination, increasing robustness of perception.
Photoreceptor-derived Activin Promotes Dendritic Termination and Restricts the Receptive Fields of First-order Interneurons in Drosophila
Neuron. Feb, 2014 | Pubmed ID: 24462039
How neurons form appropriately sized dendritic fields to encounter their presynaptic partners is poorly understood. The Drosophila medulla is organized in layers and columns and innervated by medulla neuron dendrites and photoreceptor axons. Here, we show that three types of medulla projection (Tm) neurons extend their dendrites in stereotyped directions and to distinct layers within a single column for processing retinotopic information. In contrast, the Dm8 amacrine neurons form a wide dendritic field to receive ∼16 R7 photoreceptor inputs. R7- and R8-derived Activin selectively restricts the dendritic fields of their respective postsynaptic partners, Dm8 and Tm20, to the size appropriate for their functions. Canonical Activin signaling promotes dendritic termination without affecting dendritic routing direction or layer. Tm20 neurons lacking Activin signaling expanded their dendritic fields and aberrantly synapsed with neighboring photoreceptors. We suggest that afferent-derived Activin regulates the dendritic field size of their postsynaptic partners to ensure appropriate synaptic partnership.
A Hard-wired Glutamatergic Circuit Pools and Relays UV Signals to Mediate Spectral Preference in Drosophila
Neuron. Feb, 2014 | Pubmed ID: 24507194
Many visual animals have innate preferences for particular wavelengths of light, which can be modified by learning. Drosophila's preference for UV over visible light requires UV-sensing R7 photoreceptors and specific wide-field amacrine neurons called Dm8. Here we identify three types of medulla projection neurons downstream of R7 and Dm8 and show that selectively inactivating one of them (Tm5c) abolishes UV preference. Using a modified GRASP method to probe synaptic connections at the single-cell level, we reveal that each Dm8 neuron forms multiple synaptic contacts with Tm5c in the center of Dm8's dendritic field but sparse connections in the periphery. By single-cell transcript profiling and RNAi-mediated knockdown, we determine that Tm5c uses the kainate receptor Clumsy to receive excitatory glutamate input from Dm8. We conclude that R7s→Dm8→Tm5c form a hard-wired glutamatergic circuit that mediates UV preference by pooling ∼16 R7 signals for transfer to the lobula, a higher visual center.
Journal of Neurogenetics. Sep-Dec, 2014 | Pubmed ID: 24766346
The receptor mechanism for color vision has been extensively studied. In contrast, the circuit(s) that transform(s) photoreceptor signals into color percepts to guide behavior remain(s) poorly characterized. Using intersectional genetics to inactivate identified subsets of neurons, we have uncovered the first-order interneurons that are functionally required for hue discrimination in Drosophila. We developed a novel aversive operant conditioning assay for intensity-independent color discrimination (true color vision) in Drosophila. Single flying flies are magnetically tethered in an arena surrounded by blue and green LEDs (light-emitting diodes). The flies' optomotor response is used to determine the blue-green isoluminant intensity. Flies are then conditioned to discriminate between equiluminant blue or green stimuli. Wild-type flies are successfully trained in this paradigm when conditioned to avoid either blue or green. Functional color entrainment requires the function of the narrow-spectrum photoreceptors R8 and/or R7, and is within a limited range, intensity independent, suggesting that it is mediated by a color vision system. The medulla projection neurons, Tm5a/b/c and Tm20, receive direct inputs from R7 or R8 photoreceptors and indirect input from the broad-spectrum photoreceptors R1-R6 via the lamina neuron L3. Genetically inactivating these four classes of medulla projection neurons abolished color learning. However, inactivation of subsets of these neurons is insufficient to block color learning, suggesting that true color vision is mediated by multiple redundant pathways. We hypothesize that flies represent color along multiple axes at the first synapse in the fly visual system. The apparent redundancy in learned color discrimination sharply contrasts with innate ultraviolet (UV) spectral preference, which is dominated by a single pathway from the amacrine neuron Dm8 to the Tm5c projection neurons.
The Journal of Comparative Neurology. Feb, 2016 | Pubmed ID: 26179639
In Drosophila, color vision and wavelength-selective behaviors are mediated by the compound eye's narrow-spectrum photoreceptors R7 and R8 and their downstream medulla projection (Tm) neurons Tm5a, Tm5b, Tm5c, and Tm20 in the second optic neuropil or medulla. These chromatic Tm neurons project axons to a deeper optic neuropil, the lobula, which in insects has been implicated in processing and relaying color information to the central brain. The synaptic targets of the chromatic Tm neurons in the lobula are not known, however. Using a modified GFP reconstitution across synaptic partners (GRASP) method to probe connections between the chromatic Tm neurons and 28 known and novel types of lobula neurons, we identify anatomically the visual projection neurons LT11 and LC14 and the lobula intrinsic neurons Li3 and Li4 as synaptic targets of the chromatic Tm neurons. Single-cell GRASP analyses reveal that Li4 receives synaptic contacts from over 90% of all four types of chromatic Tm neurons, whereas LT11 is postsynaptic to the chromatic Tm neurons, with only modest selectivity and at a lower frequency and density. To visualize synaptic contacts at the ultrastructural level, we develop and apply a "two-tag" double-labeling method to label LT11's dendrites and the mitochondria in Tm5c's presynaptic terminals. Serial electron microscopic reconstruction confirms that LT11 receives direct contacts from Tm5c. This method would be generally applicable to map the connections of large complex neurons in Drosophila and other animals.
Journal of Neurogenetics. Jun, 2016 | Pubmed ID: 27315108
The most striking structure in the nervous system is the complex yet stereotyped morphology of the neuronal dendritic tree. Dendritic morphologies and the connections they make govern information flow and integration in the brain. The fundamental mechanisms that regulate dendritic outgrowth and branching are subjects of extensive study. In this review, we summarize recent advances in the molecular and cellular mechanisms for routing dendrites in layers and columns, prevalent organizational structures in the brain. We highlight how dendritic patterning influences the formation of synaptic circuits.