Elfn1 regulates target-specific release probability at CA1-interneuron synapses

Science. 2012 Oct 26;338(6106):536-40. doi: 10.1126/science.1222482. Epub 2012 Oct 4.


Although synaptic transmission may be unidirectional, the establishment of synaptic connections with specific properties can involve bidirectional signaling. Pyramidal neurons in the hippocampus form functionally distinct synapses onto two types of interneurons. Excitatory synapses onto oriens-lacunosum moleculare (O-LM) interneurons are facilitating and have a low release probability, whereas synapses onto parvalbumin interneurons are depressing and have a high release probability. Here, we show that the extracellular leucine-rich repeat fibronectin containing 1 (Elfn1) protein is selectively expressed by O-LM interneurons and regulates presynaptic release probability to direct the formation of highly facilitating pyramidal-O-LM synapses. Thus, postsynaptic expression of Elfn1 in O-LM interneurons regulates presynaptic release probability, which confers target-specific synaptic properties to pyramidal cell axons.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Interneurons / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred LEC
  • Synapses / genetics
  • Synapses / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Transmission


  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • extracellular leucine-rich repeat fibronectin containing 1 protein, mouse
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins