The formation of synaptic connections requires a dialogue between pre and postsynaptic cells to coordinate the assembly of the presynaptic release machinery and the postsynaptic receptive complexes. Signaling molecules of the Wnt family of proteins are central to this trans-synaptic dialogue. At the neuromuscular junction and central synapses, Wnts promote synaptic assembly by signaling to the developing pre and postsynaptic compartments. In addition, new studies reveal that expression of Wnt proteins and localization of their Fz receptors are regulated by neuronal activity. Importantly, Wnts mediates the synaptic changes induced by patterned neuronal activity or sensory experience in mature neurons. Here we review recent findings into the function of Wnt signaling at the synapse and its link to activity-dependent synaptic growth and function.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.