Structural LTP: from synaptogenesis to regulated synapse enlargement and clustering

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2020 Aug;63:189-197. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2020.04.009. Epub 2020 Jul 10.


Nature teaches us that form precedes function, yet structure and function are intertwined. Such is the case with synapse structure, function, and plasticity underlying learning, especially in the hippocampus, a crucial brain region for memory formation. As the hippocampus matures, enduring changes in synapse structure produced by long-term potentiation (LTP) shift from synaptogenesis to synapse enlargement that is homeostatically balanced by stalled spine outgrowth and local spine clustering. Production of LTP leads to silent spine outgrowth at P15, and silent synapse enlargement in adult hippocampus at 2hours, but not at 5 or 30min following induction. Here we consider structural LTP in the context of developmental stage and variation in the availability of local resources of endosomes, smooth endoplasmic reticulum and polyribosomes. The emerging evidence supports a need for more nuanced analysis of synaptic plasticity in the context of subcellular resource availability and developmental stage.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cluster Analysis
  • Dendritic Spines*
  • Hippocampus
  • Long-Term Potentiation*
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Synapses