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Dev Neurobiol. 2017 May;77(5):562-574. doi: 10.1002/dneu.22484. Epub 2017 Mar 8.

The electrical synapse: Molecular complexities at the gap and beyond.

Author information

1
Institute of Neuroscience, Department of Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon.
2
Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York.

Abstract

Gap junctions underlie electrical synaptic transmission between neurons. Generally perceived as simple intercellular channels, "electrical synapses" have demonstrated to be more functionally sophisticated and structurally complex than initially anticipated. Electrical synapses represent an assembly of multiple molecules, consisting of channels, adhesion complexes, scaffolds, regulatory machinery, and trafficking proteins, all required for their proper function and plasticity. Additionally, while electrical synapses are often viewed as strictly symmetric structures, emerging evidence has shown that some components forming electrical synapses can be differentially distributed at each side of the junction. We propose that the molecular complexity and asymmetric distribution of proteins at the electrical synapse provides rich potential for functional diversity.

KEYWORDS:

connexin; electrical synapse; gap junction; innexin; synapse formation and plasticity

PMID:
28170151
PMCID:
PMC5395309
DOI:
10.1002/dneu.22484
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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