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Science 307 (5713): 1324-1328

Copyright © 2005 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Control of Excitatory and Inhibitory Synapse Formation by Neuroligins

Ben Chih, Holly Engelman, Peter Scheiffele*

Abstract: The normal function of neural networks depends on a delicate balance between excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs. Synapse formation is thought to be regulated by bidirectional signaling between pre- and postsynaptic cells. We demonstrate that members of the Neuroligin family promote postsynaptic differentiation in cultured rat hippocampal neurons. Down-regulation of neuroligin isoform expression by RNA interference results in a loss of excitatory and inhibitory synapses. Electrophysiological analysis revealed a predominant reduction of inhibitory synaptic function. Thus, neuroligins control the formation and functional balance of excitatory and inhibitory synapses in hippocampal neurons.

Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: ps2018{at}columbia.edu


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NEUROSCIENCE: Making Synapses: A Balancing Act.
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