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Neuron. 2017 Nov 1;96(3):680-696. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.10.006.

Transcellular Nanoalignment of Synaptic Function.

Author information

1
Department of Neuroscience, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02111, USA. Electronic address: thomas.biederer@tufts.edu.
2
Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA. Electronic address: kaeser@hms.harvard.edu.
3
Department of Physiology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA. Electronic address: tblanpied@som.umaryland.edu.

Abstract

At each of the brain's vast number of synapses, the presynaptic nerve terminal, synaptic cleft, and postsynaptic specialization form a transcellular unit to enable efficient transmission of information between neurons. While we know much about the molecular machinery within each compartment, we are only beginning to understand how these compartments are structurally registered and functionally integrated with one another. This review will describe the organization of each compartment and then discuss their alignment across pre- and postsynaptic cells at a nanometer scale. We propose that this architecture may allow for precise synaptic information exchange and may be modulated to contribute to the remarkable plasticity of brain function.

KEYWORDS:

active zone; nanocolumn; postsynaptic density; synapse; synaptic cleft

PMID:
29096080
PMCID:
PMC5777221
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuron.2017.10.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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