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Dev Neurobiol. 2017 May;77(5):575-586. doi: 10.1002/dneu.22429. Epub 2017 Feb 12.

Gap junction proteins and the wiring (Rewiring) of neuronal circuits.

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Section of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, 92093.


The unique morphology and pattern of synaptic connections made by a neuron during development arise in part by an extended period of growth in which cell-cell interactions help to sculpt the arbor into its final shape, size, and participation in different synaptic networks. Recent experiments highlight a guiding role played by gap junction proteins in controlling this process. Ectopic and overexpression studies in invertebrates have revealed that the selective expression of distinct gap junction genes in neurons and glial cells is sufficient to establish selective new connections in the central nervous systems of the leech (Firme et al. [2012]: J Neurosci 32:14265-14270), the nematode (Rabinowitch et al. [2014]: Nat Commun 5:4442), and the fruit fly (Pézier et al., 2016: PLoS One 11:e0152211). We present here an overview of this work and suggest that gap junction proteins, in addition to their synaptic/communicative functions, have an instructive role as recognition and adhesion factors.


connectome; connexin; connexon; electrical synapse; hemichannel; innexin; innexon

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