Notch1 signaling in pyramidal neurons regulates synaptic connectivity and experience-dependent modifications of acuity in the visual cortex

Academic Article


  • How the visual cortex responds to specific stimuli is strongly influenced by visual experience during development. Monocular deprivation, for example, changes the likelihood of neurons in the visual cortex to respond to input from the deprived eye and reduces its visual acuity. Because these functional changes are accompanied by extensive reorganization of neurite morphology and dendritic spine turnover, genes regulating neuronal morphology are likely to be involved in visual plasticity. In recent years, Notch1 has been shown to mediate contact inhibition of neurite outgrowth in postmitotic neurons and implicated in the pathogenesis of various degenerative diseases of the CNS. Here, we provide the first evidence for the involvement of neuronal Notch1 signaling in synaptic morphology and plasticity in the visual cortex. By making use of the Cre/Lox system, we expressed an active form of Notch1 in cortical pyramidal neurons several weeks after birth. We show that neuronal Notch1 signals reduce dendritic spine and filopodia densities in a cell-autonomous manner and limit long-term potentiation in the visual cortex. After monocular deprivation, these effects of Notch1 activity predominantly affect responses to visual stimuli with higher spatial frequencies. This results in an enhanced effect of monocular deprivation on visual acuity. Copyright © 2008 Society for Neuroscience.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Dahlhaus M; Hermans JM; Van Woerden LH; Saiepour MH; Nakazawa K; Mansvelder HD; Heimel JA; Levelt CN
  • Start Page

  • 10794
  • End Page

  • 10802
  • Volume

  • 28
  • Issue

  • 43