Actin in action: the interplay between the actin cytoskeleton and synaptic efficacy

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2008 May;9(5):344-56. doi: 10.1038/nrn2373.


Synapse regulation exploits the capacity of actin to function as a stable structural component or as a dynamic filament. Beyond its well-appreciated role in eliciting visible morphological changes at the synapse, the emerging picture points to an active contribution of actin to the modulation of the efficacy of pre- and postsynaptic terminals. Moreover, by engaging distinct pools of actin and divergent signalling pathways, actin-dependent morphological plasticity could be uncoupled from modulation of synaptic strength. The aim of this Review is to highlight some of the recent progress in elucidating the role of the actin cytoskeleton in synaptic function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actins / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Dendritic Spines / physiology
  • Dendritic Spines / ultrastructure
  • Models, Biological
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Protein Transport / physiology
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synapses / ultrastructure
  • Synaptic Vesicles / metabolism


  • Actins