Neurons are continuously added to the brain throughout life, and these neurons must develop dendritic arbors and functional connections with existing neurons to be integrated into neuronal circuitry. The molecular mechanisms that regulate dendritic development of newborn neurons in the hippocampal dentate gyrus are still unclear. Here, we show that β-catenin is expressed in newborn granule neurons and in neural progenitor cells in the hippocampal dentate gyrus. Specific knock-out of β-catenin in newborn neurons, without affecting β-catenin expression in neural progenitor cells, led to defects in dendritic morphology of these newborn neurons in vivo. Majority of newborn neurons that cannot extend dendrites survive <1 month after they were born. Our results indicate that β-catenin plays an important role in dendritic development of postnatal-born neurons in vivo,andis therefore essential for the neurogenesis in the postnatal brain.
- Conditional knock-out
- Dendritic development
- Dentate gyrus granule neurons
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