SPARring with Spines

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Science  21 Nov 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5649, pp. 1341-1344
DOI: 10.1126/science.1092039

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Synaptic plasticity underlies many essential processes in the brain, including learning and memory. In their Perspective, Meyer and Brose discuss new work (Pak and Sheng) that elucidates one possible mechanism of use-dependent synaptic plasticity in neurons. This mechanism involves the Snk kinase-induced degradation of the SPAR protein leading to alterations in the morphology of postsynaptic dendritic spines.