An illustration to be submitted for consideration for the cover the prestigious scientific journal, Neuron. The illustration needs to depict the main findings of an important publication from our scientists that will be included in the issue of the journal. We'll describe what the scientists are requesting, along with some attachments to help describe the request. We also have an idea or two, but appreciate creativity :) If there are any questions about the scientific explanation below that may help you generate an idea for the illustration, please feel free to get in touch with us.
- The illustration will describe one process going on in the dendritic spines of neurons in the visual cortex. The main discovery that the authors would like to illustrate is the fact that some neighboring dendritic spines share the same characteristics. The authors believe that these local groups of dendritic spines might be working together (what they call synaptic cooperativity). In a big population, lots of small groups of spines can independently work together by relying on each other.
- This result happens for some special spines that are very close to each other (or clustered together) and usually not more than five neighbor spines at a time. Note that some dendritic spines don't share any characteristics with their neighbors.
o Attachment 1 shows a zoomed-out view of how dendritic spines are localized on the neuron to provide a better idea of the localization of the structure and what part of the neuron we're talking about.
o Attachment 2 shows a schematic representation of the results described above, where some dendritic spines of a neuron share the same characteristics (e.g., are the same color: blue, orange, purple, etc.).
o Attachment 3 shows the high magnification of the dendritic spines, where some dendritic spines of a neuron share the same characteristics (e.g., are the same color: blue, orange, purple, etc.), and as important, some neurons are not inactive (white ones).
- The authors are looking for a creative way of illustrating this effect. A nice illustration of a neuron and its especial dendritic spines would be great (the neuron could be a different shape/angle, just keeping in mind the authors are working with neurons of the visual cortex). The important point is that some groups of spines (from 2-5 spines) would be the same color together, and some groups of spines would have a neutral color because they are not active (what brings the attention even more to the active spines).
- Another possibility is a metaphor for this effect. One possible metaphor could be to compare the neuron/dendrite/dendritic spines with the airport/terminals/gates, illustrating a map of an airport, with many different terminals (that would represent the dendrites). And some gates (that would represent the dendritic spines) would be specific for one airline (so they would have the same color/design), other gates would be specific for another airline (a different color/design), and some gates wouldn’t be specific at all (no special color).
These are just idea, but we appreciate your creativity!