AbstractThe integration of neurons into networks relies on the formation of dendritic spines. These specialized structures arise from dynamic filopodia-like spiny protrusions. Recently, it was discovered that cortical neurons lacking the channel protein Pannexin 1 (Panx1) exhibited larger and more complicated neuronal networks, as well as, higher dendritic spine densities. Here, we expanded on those findings to investigate whether the increase in dendritic spine density associated with lack of Panx1 was due to differences in the rates of spine dynamics. Using a fluorescent membrane tag (mCherry-CD9-10) to visualize spiny protrusions in developing neurons (at 10 days-in-vitro, DIV10) we confirmed that lack of Panx1 leads to higher spiny protrusion density while transient transfection of Panx1 leads to decreased spiny protrusion density. To quantify the impact of Panx1 expression on spiny protrusion formation, elimination, and motility, we used live cell imaging in DIV10 neurons (1 frame every 5 seconds for 10 minutes). We discovered, that at DIV10, lack of Panx1 KO stabilized spiny protrusions. Notably, re-expression of Panx1 in Panx1 knockout neurons resulted in a significant increase in spiny protrusion motility and turnover. In summary, these new data revealed that Panx1 regulates the development of dendritic spines by controlling protrusion dynamics.Significance statementCells in the brain form intricate and specialized networks - neuronal networks - in charge of processing sensations, executing movement commands, and storing memories. To do this, brain cells extend microscopic protrusions - spiny protrusions - which are highly dynamic and survey the local environment to contact other cells. Those contact sites are known as synapses and undergo further stabilization and maturation establishing the function and efficiency of neuronal networks. Our work shows that removal of Panx1 increases the stability and decreases the turnover of spiny protrusion on young neurons.