Dynamic aspects of CNS synapse formation

Annu Rev Neurosci. 2007;30:425-50. doi: 10.1146/annurev.neuro.29.051605.112830.


The mammalian central nervous system (CNS) requires the proper formation of exquisitely precise circuits to function correctly. These neuronal circuits are assembled during development by the formation of synaptic connections between thousands of differentiating neurons. Proper synapse formation during childhood provides the substrate for cognition, whereas improper formation or function of these synapses leads to neurodevelopmental disorders, including mental retardation and autism. Recent work has begun to identify some of the early cellular events in synapse formation as well as the molecular signals that initiate this process. However, despite the wealth of information published on this topic in the past few years, some of the most fundamental questions about how, whether, and where glutamatergic synapses form in the mammalian CNS remain unanswered. This review focuses on the dynamic aspects of the early cellular and molecular events in the initial assembly of glutamatergic synapses in the mammalian CNS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Central Nervous System / growth & development*
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism
  • Central Nervous System / ultrastructure
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / ultrastructure
  • Neural Pathways / growth & development*
  • Neural Pathways / metabolism
  • Neural Pathways / ultrastructure
  • Presynaptic Terminals / metabolism
  • Presynaptic Terminals / ultrastructure
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism
  • Synapses / metabolism*
  • Synapses / ultrastructure
  • Synaptic Membranes / metabolism
  • Synaptic Membranes / ultrastructure


  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Glutamic Acid