Dendrites – the brain’s shape-shifters.

In Brain General Structure and Function, Brain Science by Brainy Days Ahead

Researchers at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI) are working to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of learning and memory. The team has been using FRET-FLIM to study the activity of proteins in dendritic spines. FRET-FLIM is the combination of FRET (fluorescence resonance energy transfer) and FLIM (Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy). Dentrites are protrusions that form off of neuronal branches. They make synaptic connections and communicate with other neurons. Dendritic spines are known to emerge, change shape, and even disappear over a lifetime, and these changes are considered the cellular basis for learning and memory. More on their work here.