The spread of Ras activity triggered by activation of a single dendritic spine

Christopher D. Harvey, Ryohei Yasuda, Haining Zhong, Karel Svoboda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

319 Scopus citations


In neurons, individual dendritic spines isolate N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor-mediated calcium ion (Ca2+) accumulations from the dendrite and other spines. However, the extent to which spines compartmentalize signaling events downstream of Ca2+ influx is not known. We combined two-photon fluorescence lifetime imaging with two-photon glutamate uncaging to image the activity of the small guanosine triphosphatase Ras after NMDA receptor activation at individual spines. Induction of long-term potentiation (LTP) triggered robust Ca2+-dependent Ras activation in single spines that decayed in ∼5 minutes. Ras activity spread over ∼10 micrometers of dendrite and invaded neighboring spines by diffusion. The spread of Ras-dependent signaling was necessary for the local regulation of the threshold for LTP induction. Thus, Ca2+-dependent synaptic signals can spread to couple multiple synapses on short stretches of dendrite.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-140
Number of pages5
Issue number5885
StatePublished - Jul 4 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'The spread of Ras activity triggered by activation of a single dendritic spine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this