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J Neurosci. 2005 Oct 5;25(40):9124-34.

Stereotyped axon pruning via plexin signaling is associated with synaptic complex elimination in the hippocampus.

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Center for Neuroscience, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA.


Plexin signaling is required for stereotyped pruning of long axon collaterals in the vertebrate CNS; however, a cellular basis for plexins on stereotyped pruning has not been determined. Using quantitative electron microscopy and immunocytochemistry, we found that infrapyramidal mossy fiber axon collaterals form transient synaptic complexes with basal dendrites of CA3 pyramidal cells in the early postnatal mouse hippocampus. At later postnatal ages, these synaptic complexes stop maturing and are removed before stereotyped pruning by a mechanism that does not involve axon degeneration and glial cell engulfment. In knock-out mice that lack plexin-A3 signaling, the synaptic complexes continue to mature, and, as a result, the collaterals are not pruned. Thus, our results suggest that intact plexin-A3 signaling contributes to synaptic complex elimination, which is associated with stereotyped axon pruning.

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