Synapses are specialized intercellular junctions whose specificity and plasticity are mediated by synaptic cell adhesion molecules. In hippocampus, the mossy fibers form synapses on the apical dendrites of the CA3 pyramidal cells where synaptic and puncta adherentia junctions (PAJs) are highly developed. Synaptic junctions are the sites of neurotransmission, while PAJs are regarded as mechanical adhesion sites. Cell-cell adhesion molecules nectin-1 and nectin-3 asymmetrically localize at the pre- and post-synaptic sides of PAJs, respectively. To reveal the definitive role of nectins, we analyzed nectin-1-/- and nectin-3-/- mice. In both the mutant mice, the number of PAJs at the synapses between the mossy fiber terminals and the dendrites of the CA3 pyramidal cells was reduced. In addition, the abnormal mossy fiber trajectory was observed. These results indicate that nectins are involved in the formation of PAJs, which maintain the proper mossy fiber trajectory.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology