A matter of balance: role of neurexin and neuroligin at the synapse

Neurochem Res. 2013 Jun;38(6):1174-89. doi: 10.1007/s11064-013-1029-9. Epub 2013 Apr 5.


Neurexins and neuroligins are synaptic cell adhesion molecules. Neurexins are primary located on the presynaptic membrane, whereas neuroligins are strictly postsynaptic proteins. Since their discovery, the knowledge of neurexins and neuroligins has expanded, implicating them in various neuronal processes, including the differentiation, maturation, stabilization, and plasticity of both inhibitory and excitatory synapses. Here, we review the most recent results regarding the structure and function of these cell adhesion molecules.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing
  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal / chemistry
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal / genetics
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal / metabolism*
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / genetics
  • GABAergic Neurons / physiology
  • Humans
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / chemistry
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Conformation
  • Schizophrenia / genetics
  • Synapses / physiology*


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • neuroligin 1