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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2017 Aug;45:39-44. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2017.03.006. Epub 2017 Apr 5.

Mechanisms of input and output synaptic specificity: finding partners, building synapses, and fine-tuning communication.

Author information

1
Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Utah School of Medicine, 20 South 2030 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, United States.
2
Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Utah School of Medicine, 20 South 2030 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, United States. Electronic address: megan.williams@neuro.utah.edu.

Abstract

For most neurons to function properly, they need to develop synaptic specificity. This requires finding specific partner neurons, building the correct types of synapses, and fine-tuning these synapses in response to neural activity. Synaptic specificity is common at both a neuron's input and output synapses, whereby unique synapses are built depending on the partnering neuron. Neuroscientists have long appreciated the remarkable specificity of neural circuits but identifying molecular mechanisms mediating synaptic specificity has only recently accelerated. Here, we focus on recent progress in understanding input and output synaptic specificity in the mammalian brain. We review newly identified circuit examples for both and the latest research identifying molecular mediators including Kirrel3, FGFs, and DGLα. Lastly, we expect the pace of research on input and output specificity to continue to accelerate with the advent of new technologies in genomics, microscopy, and proteomics.

PMID:
28388510
PMCID:
PMC5554725
DOI:
10.1016/j.conb.2017.03.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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