Ultrastructural, Molecular and Functional Mapping of GABAergic Synapses on Dendritic Spines and Shafts of Neocortical Pyramidal Neurons. Academic Article uri icon


  • The location of GABAergic synapses on dendrites is likely key for neuronal integration. In particular, inhibitory inputs on dendritic spines could serve to selectively veto or modulate individual excitatory inputs, greatly expanding the computational power of individual neurons. To investigate this, we have undertaken a combined functional, molecular, and ultrastructural mapping of the location of GABAergic inputs onto dendrites of pyramidal neurons from upper layers of juvenile mouse somatosensory cortex. Using two-photon uncaging of GABA, intracellular labeling with gerphyrin intrabodies, and focused ion beam milling with scanning electron microscopy, we find that most (96-98%) spines lack GABAergic synapses, although they still display GABAergic responses, potentially due to extrasynaptic GABA receptors. We conclude that GABAergic inputs, in practice, contact dendritic shafts and likely control clusters of excitatory inputs, defining functional zones on dendrites.

publication date

  • July 5, 2019