Plasticity of the Developing Synapse
“Plasticity” is a term that describes the anatomical, cellular, and molecular reorganizations of the nervous system that occur in response to experience. It serves as a useful rubric to distinguish processes that are environmentally regulated from those that unfold from a rigidly programmed read-out of the genome. Thus, some connections might be termed “plastic” and others “hard-wired”. The experience that modifies connections is, of course, ultimately enforced at the molecular level, often through modification of neuronal activity. However, the experimental paradigm may utilize manipulations at a site distant from the actual neurons of interest. Analysis of changes in connections to the cortex during visual deprivation provide one elegant example of the power of this approach1. Plasticity of the nervous system is prominent in developing animals, where even transient deprivation may have permanent sequelae.
KeywordsNerve Growth Factor Postsynaptic Cell Presynaptic Cell Permanent Sequela Cell BioI
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 1.Wiesel, T.J. and Hubel, D. (1965). Comparison of the effects of unilateral and bilateral eye closure on cortical unit responses in kittens. J. Neurophysiology. 28: 1029–1040.Google Scholar
- 2.Brown, M., Jansen, J. and Van Essen, D. (1976). Polyneuronal innervation of skeletal muscle in newborn rats and its elimination during maturation. J. Physiol. (Lond). 26: 387–422.Google Scholar
- 10.DeCamilli, P., Harris, S., Huttner, W. and Greengard, P. (1983). Synapsin 1 (Protein 1), a nerve-terminal-specific phosphoprotein II: its specific association with synaptic vesicles demonstrated by immunocytochemistry in agarose-embedded synaptosomes. J. Cell Biol. 96: 1355–1373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 14.Burden, S. (1981). Monoclonal antibodies to the frog nerve-muscle synapse. In — Monoclonal Antibodies to Neural Antigens (eds — McKay, R., Raff, M., Reichardt, L.F.) p. 247–257. Cold Spring Harbor.Google Scholar
- 23.Miyata, Y. and Yoskioka. (1980). Selective elimination of motor nerve terminals in the rat soleus muscle during development. J. Physiol. (Lond). 309: 631–646.Google Scholar