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Control of Excitatory and Inhibitory Synapse Formation by Neuroligins

Science  25 Feb 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5713, pp. 1324-1328
DOI: 10.1126/science.1107470

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Abstract

The normal function of neural networks depends on a delicate balance between excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs. Synapse formation is thought to be regulated by bidirectional signaling between pre- and postsynaptic cells. We demonstrate that members of the Neuroligin family promote postsynaptic differentiation in cultured rat hippocampal neurons. Down-regulation of neuroligin isoform expression by RNA interference results in a loss of excitatory and inhibitory synapses. Electrophysiological analysis revealed a predominant reduction of inhibitory synaptic function. Thus, neuroligins control the formation and functional balance of excitatory and inhibitory synapses in hippocampal neurons.

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