NEURODEVELOPMENT

Synapse formation in the visual cortex

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  18 Dec 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6523, pp. 1429-1430
DOI: 10.1126/science.370.6523.1429-c

Neonatal mouse pups require just the right amount of nectin-3, an immunoglobulin superfamily cell-adhesion molecule, to ensure normal eye development.

PHOTO: TOM MCHUGH/SCIENCE SOURCE

Synapses between neurons depend on cell-adhesion molecules for their formation. In the visual cortex, synapses are built and refined in response to visual experience. Nectin-3, one of a group of immunoglobulin superfamily cell-adhesion molecules, can shake hands with its binding partner nectin-1 across the synaptic cleft to stabilize a developing synapse. Inferring synapse numbers from dendritic spine density, Tomorsky et al. studied the function of nectin-3 in the development of the mouse visual cortex. In normal development, the number of dendritic spines increases once neonatal mice open their eyes. The authors found that overexpression of nectin-3 locked in too much stability and that not enough new dendritic spines formed for normal neural migration. Underexpression of nectin-3 allowed too many new dendritic spines to form, which was also harmful to ocular development. As in much of life, somewhere precisely in between seems to work best.

Neural Dev. 15, 13 (2020).

Stay Connected to Science

Navigate This Article