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Cell Signal. 2012 Mar;24(3):606-11. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2011.11.016. Epub 2011 Nov 18.

Eph receptors at synapses: implications in neurodegenerative diseases.

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Divison of Life Science, State Key Laboratory of Molecular Neuroscience and Molecular Neuroscience Center, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China.


Precise regulation of synapse formation, maintenance and plasticity is crucial for normal cognitive function, and synaptic failure has been suggested as one of the hallmarks of neurodegenerative diseases. In this review, we describe the recent progress in our understanding of how the receptor tyrosine kinase Ephs and their ligands ephrins regulate dendritic spine morphogenesis, synapse formation and maturation, as well as synaptic plasticity. In particular, we discuss the emerging evidence implicating that deregulation of Eph/ephrin signaling contributes to the aberrant synaptic functions associated with cognitive impairment in Alzheimer's disease. Understanding how Eph/ephrin regulates synaptic function may therefore provide new insights into the development of therapeutic agents against neurodegenerative diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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