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Neuroscientist. 2004 Aug;10(4):304-14.

Eph receptors, ephrins, and synaptic function.

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Centre for Research in Neuroscience, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal General Hospital, Montreal, Canada.


Compelling new findings have revealed that receptor tyrosine kinases of the Eph family, along with their ephrin ligands, play an essential role in regulating the properties of developing mature excitatory synapses in the central nervous system. The cell surface localization of both the Eph receptors and the ephrins enables these proteins to signal bidirectionally at sites of cell-to-cell contact, such as synapses. Eph receptors and ephrins have indeed been implicated in multiple aspects of synaptic function, including clustering and modulating N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors, modifying the geometry of postsynaptic terminals, and influencing long-term synaptic plasticity and memory. In this review, we discuss how Eph receptors and ephrins are integrated into the molecular machinery that supports synaptic function.

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