, Volume 326, Issue 2, pp 249-262
Date: 15 Aug 2006

Synapse development: still looking for the forest, still lost in the trees

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Synapse development in the vertebrate central nervous system is a highly orchestrated process occurring not only during early stages of brain development, but also (to a lesser extent) in the mature nervous system. During development, the formation of synapses is intimately linked to the differentiation of neuronal cells, the extension of their axons and dendrites, and the course wiring of the nervous system. Subsequently, the stabilization, elimination, and strengthening of synaptic contacts is coupled to the refinement of axonal and dendritic arbors, to the establishment of functionally meaningful connections, and probably also to the day-to-day acquisition, storage, and retrieval of memories, higher order thought processes, and behavioral patterns.

The authors acknowledge the support of the NIH (grant no. HD38760 DA016758) to C.C.G., the Ruth L. Kirchstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) to C.L.W., and the United States Israel Binational Science Foundation (grant no. 2003176) to C.C.G. and N.E.Z.