• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of pnasPNASInfo for AuthorsSubscriptionsAboutThis Article
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Nov 1977; 74(11): 4977–4981.
PMCID: PMC432081

Synapse turnover: the formation and termination of transient synapses.


Neurons dissociated from chick embryo retina form synapses with cultured rat striated muscle cells in 35-90 min when neurite extension is uncoupled from later steps in synapse formation. The results suggest that a reaction is required for synapse formation after neurons adhere to muscle cells. All synapses between retina neurons and muscle cells are terminated in 3-10 days depending on the developmental age of the neurons. The half-lives of synapses between muscle cells and retina neurons from 8-, 12-, or 13-day embryos are 36, 26, and 5 hr and mean synapse life-times are 53, 37, and 7.1 hr, respectively. The results show that synapses turn over and that the rate of turnover increases during development. The results suggest that both synapse formation and termination rates are regulated and that the specificity of synaptic connections can be increased by selective termination of synapses.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (1.2M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Images in this article

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Sheffield JB, Moscona AA. Electron microscopic analysis of aggregation of embryonic cells: the structure and differentiation of aggregates of neural retina cells. Dev Biol. 1970 Sep;23(1):36–61. [PubMed]
  • Vogel Z, Daniels MP, Nirenberg M. Synapse and acetylcholine receptor synthesis by neurons dissociated from retina. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1976 Jul;73(7):2370–2374. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Masland RH, Ames A., 3rd Responses to acetylcholine of ganglion cells in an isolated mammalian retina. J Neurophysiol. 1976 Nov;39(6):1220–1235. [PubMed]
  • Masland RH, Livingstone CJ. Effect of stimulation with light on synthesis and release of acetylcholine by an isolated mammalian retina. J Neurophysiol. 1976 Nov;39(6):1210–1219. [PubMed]
  • Vogel Z, Nirenberg M. Localization of acetylcholine receptors during synaptogenesis in retina. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1976 Jun;73(6):1806–1810. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Wang GK, Schmidt J. Receptors for alpha-bungarotoxin in the developing visual system of the chick. Brain Res. 1976 Sep 24;114(3):524–529. [PubMed]
  • Ross CD, McDougal DB., Jr The distribution of choline acetyltransferase activity in vertebrate retina. J Neurochem. 1976 Mar;26(3):521–526. [PubMed]
  • Vogel Z, Maloney GJ, Ling A, Daniels MP. Identification of synaptic acetylcholine receptor sites in retina with peroxidase-labeled alpha-bungarotoxin. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1977 Aug;74(8):3268–3272. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Frank E, Jansen JK, Lomo T, Westgaard RH. The interaction between foreign and original motor nerves innervating the soleus muscle of rats. J Physiol. 1975 Jun;247(3):725–743. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Landmesser L. Contractile and electrical responses of vagus-innervated frog sartorius muscles. J Physiol. 1971 Mar;213(3):707–725. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Nurse CA, O'Lague PH. Formation of cholinergic synapses between dissociated sympathetic neurons and skeletal myotubes of the rat in cell culture. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1975 May;72(5):1955–1959. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Kidokoro Y, Heinemann S, Schubert D, Brandt BL, Klier FG. Synapse formation and neurotrophic effects on muscle cell lines. Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 1976;40:373–388. [PubMed]
  • Nelson P, Christian C, Nirenberg M. Synapse formation between clonal neuroblastoma X glioma hybrid cells and striated muscle cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1976 Jan;73(1):123–127. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Christian CN, Nelson PG, Peacock J, Nirenberg M. Synapse formation between two clonal cell lines. Science. 1977 May 27;196(4293):995–998. [PubMed]
  • Puro DG, Nirenberg M. On the specificity of synapse formation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1976 Oct;73(10):3544–3548. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Changeux JP, Courrège P, Danchin A. A theory of the epigenesis of neuronal networks by selective stabilization of synapses. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1973 Oct;70(10):2974–2978. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Changeux JP, Danchin A. Selective stabilisation of developing synapses as a mechanism for the specification of neuronal networks. Nature. 1976 Dec 23;264(5588):705–712. [PubMed]
  • Brown MC, Jansen JK, Van Essen D. Polyneuronal innervation of skeletal muscle in new-born rats and its elimination during maturation. J Physiol. 1976 Oct;261(2):387–422. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Bennett MR, Pettigrew AG. The formation of synapses in striated muscle during development. J Physiol. 1974 Sep;241(2):515–545. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • LOWRY OH, ROSEBROUGH NJ, FARR AL, RANDALL RJ. Protein measurement with the Folin phenol reagent. J Biol Chem. 1951 Nov;193(1):265–275. [PubMed]
  • Hausman RE, Moscona AA. Isolation of retina-specific cell-aggregating factor from membranes of embryonic neural retina tissue. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1976 Oct;73(10):3594–3598. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Rutishauser U, Thiery JP, Brackenbury R, Sela BA, Edelman GM. Mechanisms of adhesion among cells from neural tissues of the chick embryo. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1976 Feb;73(2):577–581. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Merrell R, Gottlieb DI, Glaser L. Embryonal cell surface recognition. Extraction of an active plasma membrane component. J Biol Chem. 1975 Jul 25;250(14):5655–5659. [PubMed]
  • Balsamo J, Lilien J. The binding of tissue-specific adhesive molecules to the cell surface. A molecular basis for specificity. Biochemistry. 1975 Jan 14;14(1):167–171. [PubMed]
  • Ben-Shaul Y, Moscona AA. Scanning electron microscopy of embryonic neural retina cell surfaces. Dev Biol. 1975 Jun;44(2):386–393. [PubMed]

Articles from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America are provided here courtesy of National Academy of Sciences


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles
  • Substance
    PubChem Substance links

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...