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Science 338 (6106): 536-540

Copyright © 2012 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Elfn1 Regulates Target-Specific Release Probability at CA1-Interneuron Synapses

Emily L. Sylwestrak1,2,3, and Anirvan Ghosh1,2,*

Abstract: Although synaptic transmission may be unidirectional, the establishment of synaptic connections with specific properties can involve bidirectional signaling. Pyramidal neurons in the hippocampus form functionally distinct synapses onto two types of interneurons. Excitatory synapses onto oriens–lacunosum moleculare (O-LM) interneurons are facilitating and have a low release probability, whereas synapses onto parvalbumin interneurons are depressing and have a high release probability. Here, we show that the extracellular leucine-rich repeat fibronectin containing 1 (Elfn1) protein is selectively expressed by O-LM interneurons and regulates presynaptic release probability to direct the formation of highly facilitating pyramidal-O-LM synapses. Thus, postsynaptic expression of Elfn1 in O-LM interneurons regulates presynaptic release probability, which confers target-specific synaptic properties to pyramidal cell axons.

1 Neurobiology Section, Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093–0366, USA.
2 CNS Discovery, F. Hoffmann La Roche, 4070 Basel, Switzerland.
3 Biozentrum of the University of Basel, 4056 Basel, Switzerland.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: anirvan.ghosh{at}

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