Wnts and TGF beta in synaptogenesis: old friends signalling at new places

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2003 Feb;4(2):113-20. doi: 10.1038/nrn1036.


The formation of mature synaptic connections involves the targeted transport and aggregation of synaptic vesicles, the gathering of presynaptic release sites and the clustering of postsynaptic neurotransmitter receptors and ion channels. Positional cues are required to orient the cytoskeleton in the direction of neuronal outgrowth, and also to direct the juxtaposition of synaptic protein complexes at the pre- and postsynaptic membranes. Both anterograde and retrograde factors are thought to contribute positional information during synaptic differentiation, and recent studies in vertebrates and invertebrates have begun to uncover a new role in this process for proteins that are essential for pattern formation in the early embryo.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agrin / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Body Patterning / physiology
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Drosophila
  • Mice
  • Nervous System / embryology
  • Nervous System / growth & development
  • Neuromuscular Junction / physiology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Synapses / metabolism*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism*
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Xenopus
  • Zebrafish Proteins*


  • Agrin
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Zebrafish Proteins