Actin in Dendritic Spines Self-Organizes into a Critical State

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Mayte Bonilla-QuintanaM. Fauth


It is known that dendritic spines change their size and shape spontaneously and sometimes to a large degree, but the function of this remains unclear. Here, we quantify these changes using time-series analysis of confocal data and demonstrate that spine size can follow different autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) models and that shape- and size-changes are not correlated. We capture this behavior with a biophysical model, based on the spines' actin dynamics, and find the presence of 1/f noise. When investigating its origins, the model predicts that actin in the dendritic spines self-organizes into a critical state, which creates a fine balance between static actin filaments and free monomers. We speculate that such a balance might be functionally beneficially to allow a spine to quickly reconfigure itself after LTP induction.

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