Making Synapses: A Balancing Act

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Science  25 Feb 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5713, pp. 1207-1208
DOI: 10.1126/science.1110011

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How do excitatory and inhibitory synapses form between billions of neurons in the brain during development. As Hussain and Sheng discuss in their Perspective, one clue comes from recent work published here ( Chih et al.) and elsewhere. Apparently, interactions between proteins called neuroligins and the protein-neurexin help to bring presynaptic and postsynaptic membranes together in the correct alignment, thus enabling formation of synapses.