Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS

, Volume 59, Issue 4, pp 589–595

The synapsins: beyond the regulation of neurotransmitter release

  • A. Ferreira
  • M. Rapoport

DOI: 10.1007/s00018-002-8451-5

Cite this article as:
Ferreira, A. & Rapoport, M. CMLS, Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2002) 59: 589. doi:10.1007/s00018-002-8451-5


The synapsins are a family of five closely related neuron-specific phosphoproteins associated with the membranes of synaptic vesicles. The synapsins have been implicated in the regulation of neurotransmitter release. They tether synaptic vesicles to actin filaments in a phosphorylation-dependent manner, controlling the number of vesicles available for release at the nerve terminus. A growing body of evidence suggests that the synapsins play a broad role during neuronal development. They participate in the formation and maintenance of synaptic contacts among central neurons. In addition, each synapsin has a specific role during the elongation of undifferentiated processes and their posterior differentiation into axons and dendrites. In this review, we focus on these novel roles of synapsins during the early stages of development.

Key words Synapsins; synaptogenesis; neurite elongation; axonal differentiation; mental diseases. 

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Ferreira
    • 1
  • M. Rapoport
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois 60611 (USA)US
  2. 2.Northwestern Institute for Neuroscience, Searle Building Room 5-474, 320 East Superior Street, Chicago, Illinois 60611 (USA), Fax +1 312 503 7345, e-mail: a-ferreira@northwestern.eduUS