Synapse formation and maintenance by C1q family proteins: a new class of secreted synapse organizers

Eur J Neurosci. 2010 Jul;32(2):191-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2010.07346.x. Epub 2010 Jul 14.


Several C1q family members, especially the Cbln and C1q-like subfamilies, are highly and predominantly expressed in the central nervous system. Cbln1, a member of the Cbln subfamily, plays two unique roles at parallel fiber (PF)-Purkinje cell synapses in the cerebellum: the formation and stabilization of synaptic contact, and the control of functional synaptic plasticity by regulating the postsynaptic endocytotic pathway. The delta2 glutamate receptor (GluD2), which is predominantly expressed in Purkinje cells, plays similar critical roles in the cerebellum. In addition, viral expression of GluD2 or the application of recombinant Cbln1 induces PF-Purkinje cell synaptogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Antigen-unmasking methods were necessary to reveal the immunoreactivities for endogenous Cbln1 and GluD2 at the synaptic junction of PF synapses. We propose that Cbln1 and GluD2 are located at the synaptic cleft, where various proteins undergo intricate molecular interactions with each other, and serve as a bidirectional synaptic organizer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebellum / physiology
  • Complement C1q / physiology*
  • Glutamate Dehydrogenase / physiology
  • Humans
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology
  • Protein Precursors / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology*


  • CBLN1 protein, human
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Protein Precursors
  • Complement C1q
  • Glutamate Dehydrogenase
  • GLUD2 protein, human