Sensory dendrites fall into many different morphological and functional classes. Polymodal nociceptors are one subclass of sensory neurons, which are of particular note owing to their elaborate dendritic arbors. Complex developmental programs are required to form these arbors and there is striking conservation of morphology, function and molecular determinants between vertebrate and invertebrate polymodal nociceptors. Based on these studies, we argue that arbor morphology plays an important role in the function of polymodal nociceptors. Similar associations between form and function might explain the plethora of dendrite morphologies seen among all sensory neurons.
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