Synapse Elimination--For Nerves It's All or Nothing

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Science  17 Jan 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5298, pp. 324-325
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5298.324

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At birth, several motoneurons supply neural signals to each muscle fiber, but 2 weeks later all but the input of a single neuron is gone. This process of synapse elimination has now been carefully described in electrophysiological terms in this week's issue in a report by Colman et al. (p. 356). In his Perspective, Frank explains how the new data fit with what we already know about the changes occurring during synapse elimination and predicts that molecular understanding of this key process will come soon.