Neuronal morphology plays a major role in the electrophysiological and connectivity characteristics of neurons, and thus in neuron and network function.
Various morphometrics have been applied in studying neurons; however, the structural patterns of the tree-like dendrites and axons have yet to be fully explored. These patterns may reflect strategies that achieve functional properties such as dendritic compartmentalization, space filling, and targeting of various spatial distributions of synapses.
To address these issues we analyzed thousands of neurons, made available via NeuroMorpho.Org, in terms of structural patterns by representing their arbors (axons, dendrites, apical dendrites) as gene-like sequences. We compared neurons by arborization type within and between cell classes using sequence analysis techniques. Sequence domains can be used in conjunction with functional studies to further elucidate the structure-function relationship.