, Volume 326, Issue 2, pp 647-654
Date: 10 Jun 2006

The extracellular matrix and synapses

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Extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules, derived from both neurons and glial cells, are secreted and accumulate in the extracellular space to regulate various aspects of pre- and postsynaptic differentiation, the maturation of synapses, and their plasticity. The emerging mechanisms comprise interactions of agrin, integrin ligands, and reelin, with their cognate cell-surface receptors being coupled to tyrosine kinase activities. These may induce the clustering of postsynaptic receptors and changes in their composition and function. Furthermore, direct interactions of laminins, neuronal pentraxins, and tenascin-R with voltage-gated Ca2+ channels, α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-proprionic acid (AMPA), and γ-aminobutyric acidB (GABAB) receptors, respectively, shape the organization and function of different subsets of synapses. Some of these mechanisms significantly contribute to the induction of long-term potentiation in excitatory synapses, either by the regulation of Ca2+ entry via N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors or L-type Ca2+ channels, or by the control of GABAergic inhibition.

A.D. was supported by DFG grants Di 702/4-1,-2 and -3.