Dendrites are the structures of a neuron specialized to receive input signals and to provide the substrate for the formation of synaptic contacts with other cells. The goal of this work is to study the activity-dependent mechanisms underlying dendritic growth in a single-cell model. For this, the individually identifiable adult motoneuron, MN5, in Drosophila melanogaster was used. This dissertation presents the following results. First, the natural variability of morphological parameters of the MN5 dendritic tree in control flies is not larger than 15%, making MN5 a suitable model for quantitative morphological analysis. Second, three-dimensional topological analyses reveals that different parts of the MN5 dendritic tree innervate spatially separated areas (termed "isoneuronal tiling"). Third, genetic manipulation of the MN5 excitability reveals that both increased and decreased activity lead to dendritic overgrowth; whereas decreased excitability promoted branch elongation, increased excitability enhanced dendritic branching. Next, testing the activity-regulated transcription factor AP-1 for its role in MN5 dendritic development reveals that neural activity enhanced AP-1 transcriptional activity, and that AP-1 expression lead to opposite dendrite fates depending on its expression timing during development. Whereas overexpression of AP-1 at early stages results in loss of dendrites, AP-1 overexpression after the expression of acetylcholine receptors and the formation of all primary dendrites in MN5 causes overgrowth. Fourth, MN5 has been used to examine dendritic development resulting from the expression of the human gene MeCP2, a transcriptional regulator involved in the neurodevelopmental disease Rett syndrome. Targeted expression of full-length human MeCP2 in MN5 causes impaired dendritic growth, showing for the first time the cellular consequences of MeCP2 expression in Drosophila neurons. This dendritic phenotype requires the methyl-binding domain of MeCP2 and the chromatin remodeling protein Osa. In summary, this work has fully established MN5 as a single-neuron model to study mechanisms underlying dendrite development, maintenance and degeneration, and to test the behavioral consequences resulting from dendritic growth misregulation. Furthermore, this thesis provides quantitative description of isoneuronal tiling of a central neuron, offers novel insight into activity- and AP-1 dependent developmental plasticity, and finally, it establishes Drosophila MN5 as a model to study some specific aspects of human diseases.