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Prog Brain Res. 2014;214:101-31. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-63486-3.00005-0.

ECM receptors in neuronal structure, synaptic plasticity, and behavior.

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Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
Department of Neuroscience and Brain Technologies, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Genoa, Italy.
Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA; Department of Neurobiology, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA; Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA; Program in Cellular Neuroscience, Neurodegeneration, and Repair, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA. Electronic address:


During central nervous system development, extracellular matrix (ECM) receptors and their ligands play key roles as guidance molecules, informing neurons where and when to send axonal and dendritic projections, establish connections, and form synapses between pre- and postsynaptic cells. Once stable synapses are formed, many ECM receptors transition in function to control the maintenance of stable connections between neurons and regulate synaptic plasticity. These receptors bind to and are activated by ECM ligands. In turn, ECM receptor activation modulates downstream signaling cascades that control cytoskeletal dynamics and synaptic activity to regulate neuronal structure and function and thereby impact animal behavior. The activities of cell adhesion receptors that mediate interactions between pre- and postsynaptic partners are also strongly influenced by ECM composition. This chapter highlights a number of ECM receptors, their roles in the control of synapse structure and function, and the impact of these receptors on synaptic plasticity and animal behavior.


L-type voltage-dependent calcium channel; cell adhesion receptor; heparan sulfate proteoglycan; integrin receptor; lipoprotein receptor; tetraspanin

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