Making and Breaking Neuronal Synapses

Sci. Signal.  03 Jun 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 328, pp. ec150
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2005539

As the brain develops, early synapse formation is exuberant and haphazard. But as development progresses, connections are refined into functional networks. In that process, many synapses get eliminated. Uesaka et al. now show that molecules already known for axon guidance are functional later on when they regulate the synaptic pruning needed to refine the circuits connected during axon guidance.

N. Uesaka, M. Uchigashima, T. Mikuni, T. Nakazawa, H. Nakao, H. Hirai, A. Aiba, M. Watanabe, M. Kano, Retrograde semaphorin signaling regulates synapse elimination in the developing mouse brain. Science 344, 1020–1023 (2014). [Abstract] [Full Text]