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Neurones that lose their presynaptic partners because of injury usually retract or die. However, when the auditory interneurones of the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus are denervated, dendrites respond by growing across the midline and forming novel synapses with the opposite auditory afferents. Suppression subtractive hybridization was used to detect transcriptional changes 3 days after denervation. This is a stage at which we demonstrate robust compensatory dendritic sprouting. Whereas 49 unique candidates were down-regulated, no sufficiently up-regulated candidates were identified at this time point. Several candidates identified in this study are known to influence the translation and degradation of proteins in other systems. The potential role of these factors in the compensatory sprouting of cricket auditory interneurones in response to denervation is discussed. © 2009 The Royal Entomological Society.